The Phoenix Time #34

Previously……….

She wasn’t tired so she also phoned Gloria, David and Betty. The calls to her children were straightforward chats about work and the children, though they were impressed by what they heard about Carrie. The call to Betty was much more interesting. Betty told her, in confidence, that she’d not been honest with Frank. There were some house on the market that would probably be fine for him, but she’d told him that agents usually prefer to sell to current renters because they can make more money out of them. Not true but it meant that Frank would have to stay with Gloria a while longer if he didn’t want to settle for B&B or a hotel in the meantime. Betty’s plan was to allow them both longer to settle their differences. Betty said that she’d cleared this with Gloria who’d been only too happy to help. Charlotte thanked Betty but wasn’t sure that she wanted Frank back. She’d had a taste of independence and she’d liked it. Who needs men?

Continued………

Dorset Day Four – A visit to Sidmouth and to Ladram Bay

Charlotte rose and breakfasted early. Afterwards she returned to her room only to brush her teeth, put her lunch, and flask into her backpack together with some leaflets from Reception about the places they’d be visiting. She left the cards for posting with reception, then made her way to her car to collect Carrie from her hotel.

While she waited, she used postcode information from the leaflets to program her satnav with details to get them via Sidmouth to Ladram Bay. Carrie didn’t keep her waiting long. She threw her jacket and backpack into the rear seat to join Charlotte’s, shouting her greeting, then entered the car to sit beside Charlotte.

‘Hi, Charlie,’ she called, ‘You all ready for another exciting day?’

‘Mr Satnav is primed to take us to sunny Sidmouth,’ Charlotte answered, ‘Have you got your camera and three-legged  thing?’

‘My tripod?’ she said, ‘Of course. I don’t want fuzzy shots, do I?’

Charlotte drove off and they were soon on the main road to the West.

‘Now,’ Carrie asked, ‘Did you get a chance to read any of ‘Persuasion’?’

‘I made a start,’ she replied, ‘but it’s heavy going.’

‘How do you mean?’ Carrie asked.

‘Okay. The sentences are long and convoluted and, well, that’s just not how people speak these days.’

‘What about the story?’

‘Obviously, I haven’t got far enough into the book to see where it’s going,’ she said, ‘but Anne’s family and friends are weird.’

Carrie laughed.

‘Lots of people love the beauty of the way English was spoken then,’ she said, ‘ but you’re right about Sir Walter, Elizabeth and Lady Russell.’

‘I don’t know, Carrie,’ she said, ‘It’s difficult for me to believe that most people would have spoke that way even then. I think that a lot of the people who say that they love the language in Jane Austen’s books are the type who only buy expensive designer clothes because they’re clothes snobs.’

‘Oooh!’ said Carrie, ‘That’s harsh. Do you mean it?’

‘Yes, I think so,’ she said. There are still people who attend Church of England services who are unhappy because of the move to service books and bibles in more modern language. It’s as though they don’t think God will understand their prayers if they don’t speak Shakespearean English. And don’t get me going on Shakespeare!’

Carrie was in stitches laughing.

Charlotte continued, ‘Talk about the Emperor’s New Clothes. That Persuasion book would attract a lot more readers if someone would translate it into English.’

‘Mmm!’ Carrie said, ‘Maybe, maybe not. I’m not sure that the plot would be as credible. People don’t behave now as they do in the story. Your whole society and its norms have changed.  The plot is credible because the language reflects that moment in time.’

‘There’s still too many things that haven’t changed enough for me,’ Charlotte said. ‘I went to watch a university graduation ceremony with a friend not long since. A normal redbrick university – and the proceedings started off by one of the bigwigs delivering a speech in Latin. Latin!’

That set Carrie off chortling again.

‘I know what you mean Charlie, but even if you got someone to rewrite the plot in modern English and shown on TV, it would only work if the actors wore period clothes and travelled in coaches pulled by horses – like in Poldark.’

‘Not true,’ Charlotte said, ‘Look at the snobbery even in your more modern American dramas with oil tycoons and families from the deep South who still have ‘Gone with the Wind’ attitudes to high society.’

‘You win, Charlie. Put like that it might work – but Persuasion is still a great story. Bear with the language. Don’t let it put you off. Anyway, it isn’t the only well known novel to feature the Cobb. Have you ever heard of John Fowles book, The French Lieutenant’s Woman?’

‘Yes. Wasn’t there a film made of that book?’ she said.

‘There was – sometime in the 1980’s if I remember rightly. So, think about the Cobb’s place in literature when you look back on your photos.’

Featured Photo

I took this photo a couple of days ago (21/02/2021) while I was out for a walk. I’d gone to take my daily exercise a couple of miles further from home than usual. I began near the Ship Inn at Blackbrook, St Helens, Merseyside. I parked near the Ranger’s Hut and walked, initially along the Canal and then beside the stream along the woodland path to its junction with Garswood Old Road at Happy Valley, Carr Mill. I’d taken my camera and took lots of photos to show you over the next several episodes of this story. Most of them will show the path and the water beside it.

This second photograph shows a couple walking towards Carr Mill along the woodland path near the start of the walk.

I used my Pentax KP 24 MP cropped sensor camera with a 35 mm f/2 full-frame prime lens attached. The shutter speed was 1/100 at f/13 and the ISO was 2000 The shot was handheld and I post-processed my shot in Lightroom Classic.

The New Silver Jubilee Toll Bridge

This bridge, between Widnes and Runcorn in Merseyside, was originally opened in 1961, but was closed for refurbishment when the new Mersey Gateway toll bridge was opened a few years ago. The Silver Jubilee bridge was re-opened to traffic on Saturday 27 February, 2021 – this time also as a toll bridge.

The link below is to the Saturday Musings with Six Words challenge.

https://travelwithintent.com/2021/02/27/on-hat-one-glove-two-scarves/

The Phoenix Time #33

Previously……….

That evening, after an early dinner together, they walked to Carrie’s hotel while Carrie collected her camera and tripod. They then walked down to the Cobb and they both took some sunset and blue hour photos. Charlotte saw how the underlit clouds and their vivid  purples, reds, blues and oranges made much more interesting images than those taken in the middle of the day. She’d managed in some of her smartphone shots to capture seabirds swooping across the setting sun and was delighted.

Carrie promised to show Charlotte, the next day, what she does to edit  images she’s taken. Charlotte insisted that it would be her turn to drive.

Continued………

It was dark as they parted for the evening. She walked back up the steep hill, past the lighted-up windows of the shops and premises where people were still eating or drinking or simply working. She felt safe in a way she wouldn’t have at home. She collected her room key and booked another packed lunch for the following day before walking up the stairs to her room. It was becoming more familiar to her now – where things were, how the shower worked,  how the room temperature was controlled, how to use the television. She now had the hotel wi-fi password stored on her phone.

When she got into her room, she parked her jacket and bag on the bed then used the bathroom. Having freshened up she sat, wrote and addressed the postcards, placing a stamp on each for posting the following day. She’d just made herself a cup of the courtesy hot chocolate when her phone summoned her. It was Frank.

‘Oh, you’re in at last,’ he said when she answered.

‘What! Are you my parole officer now?’ she riposted.

‘I’ve rung a couple of times,’ he said.

‘So what?’ she said, ‘I’m free, white and turned twenty-one. I stayed out. You buggered off and left me. What time I come and go has sod all to do with you now.’

‘Let me start again,’ he asked, ‘I’m sorry. You’re right, it’s none of my business. I was just worried. That’s all.’

She accepted his apology and asked him what he wanted. He told her that with her being so far away, he was concerned in case she’d been in an accident or something. She told him she was fine and asked about his day.

He told her that he’d been cutting the grass at her house and doing some weeding.  She thanked him. It had needed doing.

‘You’ll never believe what I’ve been doing,’ she said.

‘Go on,’ he said, ‘You’re dying to tell me aren’t you.’

‘Have you ever come across someone named Carrie Ann Rice who writes books about landscape photography?’ she asked.

‘I can’t say as I have,’ he replied, ‘Why.’

She told him about Carrie, how they’d met, what they’d been doing together the last two days and what she’d learned about Carrie’s little earner.’

‘That’s tremendous,’ he said, ‘And you two get on well together?’ he asked.

‘Really well,’ she said, ‘and let me tell you what we’re going to be doing next Friday or Saturday if the skies are clear.’

‘Sounds like a bit of astrophotography,’ he said.

‘You guessed,’ she said, ‘We’re going back to Durdle Door to photograph it at sunset, then staying until it’s really dark to photograph the Milky Way over its arch. What do you think about that?’

‘I’m gobsmacked, I confess.’ he said, ‘That would be a dream come true as far as I’m concerned.’

‘Well, for cutting my grass, I’ll let you see my photos,’ she said.

 ‘It sounds as if her and me would make a good match. Do you have her address?’

‘She’s got too much style about her for you mate,’ she said.

 She put down the phone, laughing.

She wasn’t tired so she also phoned Gloria, David and Betty. The calls to her children were straightforward chats about work and the children, though they were impressed by what they heard about Carrie. The call to Betty was much more interesting. Betty told her, in confidence, that she’d not been honest with Frank. There were some houses on the market that would probably be fine for him, but she’d told him that agents usually prefer to sell to current renters because they can make more money out of them. Not true but it meant that Frank would have to stay with Gloria a while longer if he didn’t want to settle for B&B or a hotel in the meantime. Betty’s plan was to allow them both longer to settle their differences. Betty said that she’d cleared this with Gloria who’d been only too happy to help. Charlotte thanked Betty but she wasn’t sure that she wanted Frank back. She’d had a taste of independence and she liked it. Who needs men?

Featured Photo

I took this photo a couple of days ago (21/02/2021) while I was out for a walk. I’d gone to take my daily exercise a couple of miles further from home than usual. I began near the Ship Inn at Blackbrook, St Helens, Merseyside. I parked near the Ranger’s Hut and walked, initially along the Canal and then beside the stream along the woodland path to its junction with Garswood Old Road at Happy Valley, Carr Mill. I’d taken my camera and took lots of photos to show you over the next several episodes of this story. Most of them will show the path and the water beside it.

This first photograph shows a basin of the canal near the start of the walk.

I used my Pentax KP 24 MP cropped sensor camera with a 35 mm f/2 full-frame prime lens attached. The shutter speed was 1/100 at f/13 and the ISO was 1000 The shot was handheld and I post-processed my shot in Lightroom Classic.

Which Way Is This?

This is my link to the Which Way Challenge https://aliveandtrekking.com/2021/02/19/which-way-photo-challenge-february-19-2021/

The bridge that I’ve chosen is the 2.2 km single span Humber Bridge in Humberside near Kingston Upon Hull in East Yorkshire UK. I didn’t see any prohibition on using images from my archive.

The Phoenix Time #32

Previously……….

Her account to Charlotte of her work had to pause occasionally, so that she could make herself heard above the hissing and banging of the coffee-making machinery, and the clatter of cutlery and crockery. She told Charlotte about how she sold some of her images online both digitally and as prints. She explained that she produces calendars and greetings cards from her photos and that she writes books illustrated with them. Before he died, her husband had introduced her to a publisher who was a client of the bank he worked for. He had liked the draft of a book she had written and had published it. Since her husband had died, she’d had several more published – many for the lucrative American market.  She didn’t earn megabucks but it enabled her to continue to live in London.

Continued………

Charlotte was stunned.

‘Oh my God,’ she said, ‘I’ve met a real-life author. I must buy one of your books and get you to sign it for me. My husband – my husband for the time being – he’s a keen photographer. I wonder if he’s ever come across your books.’

Carrie made light of her work and dismissed Charlotte’s praise.

She went on to say that, before she moved on to Devon, her next stop, she’d be returning to Durdle Door and staying until late at night to photograph both the time around sunset and, much, much later, to try to capture the Milky Way over the arch.

Charlotte said that she had never seen the Milky Way.

Carrie asked whether Charlotte would like to accompany her if they were to go towards the end of the week when it was New Moon time. The sky would be dark enough then. It would be company for her if they both went. Charlotte was thrilled at the prospect. Carrie warned her that it would be really very cold and that they’d need to prepare accordingly.

‘Wait until I tell Frank about that’. She thought.

They spent the rest of the day around the shops but also walked around the harbour and along the beach. Carrie related the part the Cobb plays in Jane Austen’s novel ‘Persuasion’. Charlotte had never heard of it – though she did see a TV production of ‘Pride and Prejudice’.

Carrie was amazed that her friend had never read any of Jane Austen’s novels. She spoke of the author’s role not merely as a novelist, but also as a female novelist, as a writer who had helped to forge the shape of the modern novel form. She told of Jane Austen’s family life and the social context in which she wrote. They visited a bookshop and Charlotte bought a copy. Carrie wouldn’t reveal the wonderful ending.

As they sat on the beach enjoying their lunch, Carrie explained how the photos that she took had to be edited using computer software to bring out the best of them so that they would look better on the printed page. She gave Charlotte a copy of her business card and promised her a leaflet listing a portfolio of her published work.

Charlotte wondered whether Frank had ever thought of doing anything like that to boost his pension. She resolved to ask him and to tell him about Carrie.

That evening, after an early dinner together, they walked to Carrie’s hotel while Carrie collected her camera and tripod. They then walked down to the Cobb and they both took some sunset and blue hour photos. Charlotte saw how the underlit clouds and their vivid  purples, reds, blues and oranges made much more interesting images than those taken in the middle of the day. She’d managed in some of her smartphone shots to capture seabirds swooping across the setting sun and was delighted.

Carrie promised to show Charlotte, the next day, what she does to edit  images she’s taken. Charlotte insisted that it would be her turn to drive.

Featured Photo

I took this photo today (26/02/2021). This is an image of the Silver Jubilee Bridge between Widnes and Runcorn, Merseyside, UK. The bridge was opened originally in 1961 but was recently closed for refurbishment when a more modern toll bridge, the Mersey Gateway was opened. The bridge in the photo will be opened on the 27th February – and, this time, it too will be a toll bridge. You can see the barrier fence across the carriageway which will be removed on Saturday to allow traffic to use the bridge again for the first time since 2017.

I used my Pentax KP 24 MP cropped sensor camera with a 35 mm f/2 full-frame prime lens attached. The shutter speed was 1/640 at f/8 and the ISO was 200 The shot was handheld and I post-processed my shot in Lightroom Classic.

The Phoenix Time #31

Previously……….

Charlotte expected that she would be dining alone that evening. Carrie needed to spend some time in her room doing something with her photographs – Charlotte had no idea what kind of something that entailed. Before they parted for the evening, they arranged to meet after breakfast at a coffee bar near the harbour in Lyme. Carrie suggested that she bring a packed lunch again.

For dinner she chose to go to the restaurant where she’d met Carrie on her first night at Lyme. As she ate, she thought back over their day out together, how well they’d got on, what a beautiful outing it had been. She looked forward to their next day together, wondering what she’d be seeing next. She couldn’t wait to tell Frank about her day out. She’d ring him later, after dinner to give him time to return from Knaresborough. She wondered if she should send him some of her photos from her phone.

Continued………

Dorset – Day Three  – A day in Lyme Regis

Charlotte was a little later rising this morning. The fresh air yesterday had helped her to sleep better than for a long time. The previous evening she hadn’t managed to get through to Frank’s phone until after ten. He’d stayed in Yorkshire until he could get some sunset shots. She’d sent him some of the ones that she’d taken and he’d looked at them while he’d been on the train returning home. He’d said how impressed he was.  They talked for more than half -an-hour before Charlotte needed to admit that she was becoming very sleepy.

He’d told her that David had mentioned cutting her grass. However he’d added that he’d told David that he’d do it tomorrow.

After she showered and changed she checked her phone. Frank had sent her copies of photos that he’d taken. She replied saying that it looked to be the kind of place she’d like to visit someday. She then texted replies to Gloria and David who’d messaged her to check she was okay.

She had a leisurely breakfast then collected the lunch she’d booked, brushed her teeth, picked up her jacket and backpack and made her way down the steep hill towards the harbour.  Before she went to meet Carrie, she called into a shop to buy a few picture postcards and some postage stamps. Carrie was already in the coffee shop talking to one of the staff. Charlotte walked to her table to greet her, left her backpack and jacket on one of the chairs, and went to order.

‘Good morning,’ she said, as she returned with her Americanos, ‘What time did you arise then?’

‘About five,’ Carrie answered, ‘with the larks, or at least the seagulls.’

‘What?’ Charlotte was incredulous. ‘Why?’

Carrie explained that she’d wanted to be up before sunrise to photograph the harbour. She explained it the same way that Frank had justified staying until sunset – for the soft light. Charlotte congratulated her on her keenness. Carrie’s response had amazed her. Carrie said that her search for excellence was because she sold a lot of her images. Since her husband had died, she’d supplemented her widows pension from writing and photography.

Her account to Charlotte of her work had to pause occasionally, so that she could make herself heard above the hissing and banging of the coffee-making machinery, and the clatter of cutlery and crockery. She told Charlotte about how she sold some of her images online both digitally and as prints. She explained that she produced calendars and greetings cards from her photos and that she wrote books illustrated with them. Before he died, her husband had introduced her to a publisher who was a client of the bank he’d worked for. He had liked the draft of a book she’d written and had published it. Since her husband had died, she’d had several more published – many for the lucrative American market.  She didn’t earn megabucks but it enabled her to continue to live in London.

Featured Photo

I took this photo a couple of days ago (18/02/2021) while taking Ted for a walk. I began near the nineteen arches at Carr Mill, St Helens, Merseyside, walked along the woodland path to its junction with Carr Mill Road at Chadwick Green, crossing though a housing estate along Powell Drive, Avon Road and Trent Road, to Birchley – and returning along Birchley Road and Martindale Road. This shot (others will follow in the next few days) was taken, looking into the field where the horse was grazing.

I used my Pentax KP 24 MP cropped sensor camera with a 35 mm f/2 full-frame prime lens attached. The shutter speed was 1/250 at f/5 and the ISO was 500 The shot was handheld and I post-processed my shot in Lightroom Classic.

The Phoenix Time #30

Previously……….

She finished unpacking and storing the contents into drawers, on top of the various flat surfaces and the wardrobe with its rail and shelves. She had booked in as a single adult but had been given a small double-bedded room, so there was adequate space for her to move around. She felt goosebumps on her arms and shivered. If there had been any heating on earlier, it had certainly gone off now.

She decided to leave having a shower until morning and just got ready for bed. She shivered as she got beneath the duvet but soon warmed up and fell asleep quickly. She slept well except for waking up once, in the early hours, disoriented by the unfamiliar surroundings and panicky when she realised that Frank wasn’t by her side.

Continued………

Dorset – Day Two

Even though the day promised to be fine, both women had brought warm outerwear in case the way they were dressed for the journey, would not be adequate for walking outside in a coastal wind. Even before they reached the car park it had been clear that they would be good company for each other for the coming days.

Before breakfast, Charlotte had taken a thermos flask from her suitcase and filled it with milky coffee, courtesy of the hotel’s room facilities. She’d made do with a continental breakfast and some fruit, and collected her packed lunch on the way to Reception to leave her room key.

Carrie had brought on her phone details of a walk from the Lulworth Cove car park. Before they left the car, they shouldered their backpacks containing their lunches. From there to Durdle Door was less than one and a half miles. Long before they reached their destination, Charlotte was enchanted but she was glad she’d thought to bring walking boots.

There was a bit of a climb up a well-marked path initially, but nothing that either of them had any trouble with as long as they stopped every now and then to admire the views.  There were farmers’ fields on one side and dizzyingly steep cliff drops on the other.  Both of them stopped frequently to photograph the rising and falling white limestone cliffs undulating away from them. When Durdle Door itself came into view, Charlotte gasped. She saw the natural stone arch that crossed the waves from the shingle beach and was awestruck.

They agreed that, once they’d taken all their photographs, they’d make their way down to the beach for different, closer viewpoints.

Carrie’s camera was a bit like Frank’s, and she carried, strapped to her backpack, a small, lightweight tripod. Charlotte was sure that Frank had something similar, but she’d never seen him use it. She hadn’t used anything other than her smartphone for years. They sat on the beach to eat their lunches and compared the photographs they’d each taken. Carrie explained why she’d decided to shoot some of her images from different angles than those Charlie had used.

In warm sunshine, they watched people swimming, paddling and walking near the arch. Charlotte hadn’t felt so relaxed for as long as she could remember,  Carrie told her of some of the photo journeys she’d been on in America from mountains and deserts to the sea; of the Grand Canyon and the cities she’d been to.  Although Charlotte loved seeing the photos that Carrie had on her phone of those scenes, Charlotte knew that she would never be going to see them.

Neither she nor Frank enjoyed air travel. Thoughts of passports, visas, airport parking, check-in, security hassles, waiting for gate calls and then the hurdles of baggage reclaim and customs clearance at the other end – memories of all these hoops to jump through on past holidays were enough to dissuade them from repeating the horrors.

When they arrived back in Lyme, Charlotte expected that she’d be dining alone that evening. Carrie needed to spend some time in her room doing something with her photographs – Charlotte had no idea what kind of something that entailed. Before they parted to return to their hotels, they arranged to meet after breakfast at a coffee bar near the harbour in Lyme. Carrie suggested that Charlotte bring a packed lunch again.

For dinner she chose to go to the restaurant where she’d met Carrie on her first night at Lyme. As she ate, she thought back over their day out together, how well they’d got on; what a beautiful outing it had been. She looked forward to their next day together, wondering what she’d be seeing next. She couldn’t wait to tell Frank about her day out. She’d ring him later, after dinner to give him time to return from Knaresborough. She wondered if she should send him some of her photos from her phone.

Featured Photo

I took this photo a couple of days ago (18/02/2021) while taking Ted for a walk. I began near the nineteen arches at Carr Mill, St Helens, Merseyside, walked along the woodland path to its junction with Carr Mill Road at Chadwick Green, crossing though a housing estate along Powell Drive, Avon Road and Trent Road, to Birchley – and returning along Birchley Road and Martindale Road. This shot (others will follow in the next few days) was taken, looking across the field from the woodland path tp a farmhouse.

I used my Pentax KP 24 MP cropped sensor camera with a 35 mm f/2 full-frame prime lens attached. The shutter speed was 1/250 at f/5 and the ISO was 200 The shot was handheld and I post-processed my shot in Lightroom Classic.

The Phoenix Time #29

Previously……….

Charlotte – she asked to be called Charlie – told Carrie that Frank had asked her, if possible to bring back some photos of Durdle Door. Carrie said that, if she were interested, she’d be visiting Lulworth Cove the following day anyway and suggested that they travel together. She explained that it would take about one and a half hours to get to the car park there and asked Charlotte if she’d like to travel with her.

Continued………

Charlotte was delighted at the prospect of having company but insisted that she should contribute to the costs. Carrie asked whether Charlotte had brought walking boots with her – the short hike from Lulworth Cove to Durdle Door would be a lot easier in boots rather than trainers. Charlotte had – and would bring them with her for the walk. It was soon agreed. Carrie would pick her up at Charlotte’s hotel – which was less than half a mile from Carrie’s. Shortly after their meal, Charlotte pleaded tiredness and returned to her hotel to sleep.

On her return, she asked at Reception about the possibility of a packed lunch to take with her and was assured that she could collect it at breakfast time.

She switched on the room lights. It wasn’t a bad size for the price and was comfortably furnished. She walked across the room and pulled the curtains closed. The view from her window wasn’t much to look at – a small garden and the backs of other buildings , lower down the hill. Still, she thought, she didn’t intend to do much more than sleep in it.

She checked her phone and saw that she had three missed calls – one each from Frank, Gloria and David. She returned all three calls in sequence – they all wanted to know that she was safe and ensconced in her lodgings. She told Frank where she was going the next day and he promised her that she’d enjoy the day out. He said that he hadn’t heard anything from Betty about rented property yet and told her that he’d be taking the train to Knaresborough to do some photography.

She finished unpacking and storing the contents into drawers, on top of the various flat surfaces and the wardrobe with its rail and shelves. She had booked in as a single adult but had been given a small double-bedded room, so there was adequate space for her to move around. She felt goosebumps on her arms and shivered. If there had been any heating on earlier, it had certainly gone off now.

She decided to leave having a shower until morning and simply prepared for bed. She shivered as she got beneath the duvet but soon warmed up and fell asleep quickly. She slept well except for waking up once, in the early hours, disoriented by the unfamiliar surroundings and panicky when she realised that Frank wasn’t by her side.

Featured Photo

I took this photo a couple of days ago (18/02/2021) while taking Ted for a walk. I began near the nineteen arches at Carr Mill, St Helens, Merseyside, walked along the woodland path to its junction with Carr Mill Road at Chadwick Green, crossing though a housing estate along Powell Drive, Avon Road and Trent Road, to Birchley – and returning along Birchley Road and Martindale Road. This first shot (others will follow in the next few days) was taken, looking up at the weathervane, from outside the gates of Otter Swift Farm on the woodland path just further on than Nineteen Arches.

I used my Pentax KP 24 MP cropped sensor camera with a 35 mm f/2 full-frame prime lens attached. The shutter speed was 1/250 at f/5 and the ISO was 200 The shot was handheld and I post-processed my shot in Lightroom Classic.

The Phoenix Time #28

Previously……….

He thought about her dancing class and wasn’t surprised that there were plenty of willing partners for her. He imagined her in her hotel in Dorset – sat alone at her table until a stranger asked if he could join her.  If she met someone she really liked, would she still want to avoid a divorce?

He still loved her and missed being with her – why was it so difficult for them to get on with each other?

All this thinking wasn’t helping. It was getting dark now. Perhaps the family would be back from their meal. He’d find out from them what they’d learned.

Continued………

CHAPTER SIX

A holiday for Charlotte

Charlotte was ready to leave. She’d done most of her packing before the family dinner yesterday, so she was able to set off by mid-morning. From her house to the hotel in Lyme Regis was about 270 miles and, according to the internet, would take about five hours. She planned to do as much of the drive as she could using the M6 and M5 motorways. Because it was such a long way, she intended to make stops at the Frankley, Sedgmoor and Exeter service areas. She had dressed for comfort in flat black shoes, bootleg jeans and a blue cardigan over a white tee shirt. There was a light waterproof hiking jacket with her bags in the boot of her small Fiat 500 car. Her mobile phone was already charged but she connected  it into  the car’s usb port; her satnav was also plugged in and programmed.

The weather forecast had been for nationwide light cloud, and that’s certainly how it looked to be shaping up as she set off for the short trip to the initial Southbound junction of the motorway. Frank had phoned her before she set off to wish her a safe journey, and she’d been glad that he’d called.

The Monday morning journey was as she’d expected, with several stretches of nose-to-tail crawling traffic. Radio Four provided her listening background. It did take longer than she’d hoped for to reach her first planned stop, and she was more than ready to use the facilities. After a coffee and toilet break, she had a walk in the car park to get some fresh air – or at least as fresh as such a large car, coach and lorry park can afford. The next stretch was easier, but after her final break at Exeter, she was pleased to get on to the lesser roads for the final stretch.

It was six in the evening when she arrived to check-in at her hotel in Lyme Regis, on a road raised above the harbour and beach. She’d booked on a bed and breakfast basis to avoid a daily dash back to the hotel for evening meals. After a quick shower and change of clothes, she walked down to the seafront area to check out the restaurants. Following the road down towards Marine Parade, she came across a vegetarian restaurant that looked nice. She sat at a vacant table for two and selected  a polenta dish.

While Charlotte was waiting for her food, a lady about her age or perhaps a little older, smartly dressed, and speaking in an American or Canadian accent, asked if she could join her at the table. Charlotte was happy to agree. They fell into conversation easily – her companion was an American expatriate who’d lived in England for five years. She and her late husband Carl had moved to England because of a transfer to the London headquarters of the bank he worked for. He’d died three years ago of a heart condition and she’d decided to stay.

Charlotte explained her much more recent change in circumstances. Carrie – that was her companion’s name – sympathised, but was sure that Charlotte would get back together with her husband soon. Carrie had arrived in Lyme only the previous week, and was staying for two weeks before moving on to Devon then Cornwall. She intended to spend the summer in the Southwest rather than in London where she lived. She explained that she was a keen photographer, and had seen so many online images of beautiful vantage points of the area that she felt that she had to see for herself.

Charlotte – she asked to be called Charlie – told Carrie that Frank had asked her, if possible, to bring back some photos of Durdle Door. Carrie said that, if Charlotte were interested, she’d be visiting Lulworth Cove the following day anyway, and suggested that they travel together. She explained that it would take about one and a half hours to get to the car park at Lulworth and asked Charlotte if she’d like to travel with her.

Featured Photo

I took this photo a couple of days ago (18/02/2021) while taking Ted for a walk. I began near the nineteen arches at Carr Mill, St Helens, Merseyside, walked along the woodland path to its junction with Carr Mill Road at Chadwick Green, crossing though a housing estate along Powell Drive, Avon Road and Trent Road, to Birchley – and returning along Birchley Road and Martindale Road. This first shot (others will follow in the next few days) was taken looking towards Gate Two cottage looking towards Billinge Hill from Martindale Road.

I used my Pentax KP 24 MP cropped sensor camera with a 35 mm f/2 full-frame prime lens attached. The shutter speed was 1/250 at f/5 and the ISO was 200 The shot was handheld and I post-processed my shot in Lightroom Classic.

The Phoenix Time #27

Previously……….

Before they all left, Gloria and David insisted that they’d help to wash-up and clear everything away, aware that their mum would be very busy the following morning preparing for the long drive South.

Charlotte asked David, if he had a chance, would he cut the grass for her. She’d tried to use Frank’s petrol mower, but she didn’t have the strength to pull the cord properly. He promised that it would be done well before her return.

Her children told her that they expected her to keep in touch so that they’d know that she was all right.

Preparing for sleep that night, Charlotte reflected that the evening hadn’t gone too badly – and that now this first meal without Frank was over, the next time would be much better.

Continued………

Frank

While Gloria and her family were at Charlotte’s, Peter made himself a simple salad. He was getting used to being in this house on his own now, but it still didn’t feel right invading his daughter’s home like this.

Afterwards, he went for a walk. He sat down in the park on the same bench that Charlotte had sat the previous Monday. He thought about her driving all that way and hoped that she’d be safe. He felt that he should phone her to wish her a happy holiday but he didn’t want her thinking that he was interfering now that he’d left.

He pictured their situation as being like a thousand-piece jigsaw, where the pieces had been mixed randomly then divided so that they each had five hundred pieces. They both knew roughly what the final picture should look like but neither was prepared to let the other side see which pieces they had.

He thought about her dancing class and wasn’t surprised that there were plenty of willing partners for her. He imagined her in her hotel in Dorset – sat alone at her table until a stranger asked if he could join her.  If she met someone she really liked, would she still want to avoid a divorce?

He still loved her and missed being with her – why was it so difficult for them to get on with each other?

All this thinking wasn’t helping. It was getting dark now. Perhaps the family would be back from their meal. He’d find out from them what they’d learned.

Featured Photo

I took this photo a couple of days ago (18/02/2021) while taking Ted for a walk. I began at Gate Two Cottage, near the nineteen arches at Carr Mill, St Helens, Merseyside, walked along the woodland path to its junction with Carr Mill Road at Chadwick Green, crossing though a housing estate along Powell Drive, Avon Road and Trent Road, to Birchley – and returning along Birchley Road and Martindale Road. This first shot (others will follow in the next few days) was taken looking towards Billinge Hill looking towards Billinge Hill from Martindale Road.

I used my Pentax KP 24 MP cropped sensor camera with a 35 mm f/2 full-frame prime lens attached. The shutter speed was 1/250 at f/5 and the ISO was 200 The shot was handheld and I post-processed my shot in Lightroom Classic.