She wondered where Frank would be eating. Perhaps they could meet up and have a meal out together – neutral ground: she wouldn’t need to cook and they could go back to the house together afterwards to make the phone call. She took out her smartphone to text him. His reply was almost instantaneous.
‘Any suggestions as to where and what time?’
Ashes of a marriage – Week One – Frank
He decided that he ought to drive to Gloria’s house before he did anything else, and transfer his stuff from the car to her spare room. He was nervous as he walked from the car to their front door. He wondered how long it would take him to find somewhere to rent. He didn’t want to impose upon his daughter and her family.
An old saying came to mind. ‘Guests and fish stink after three days’.
Gloria and Peter lived with their teenage daughter Davina, in a large, three-storey, Victorian semi-detached house sitting behind a low wall and fronting onto a main road. It was less than a mile away from what was now his former home. Both Peter and Gloria were waiting when he arrived – Gloria would usually have been at her post in the Civil Service in Manchester; Peter at the Council’s Treasury Building and Davina at the local sixth form college.
He’d parked his car on their double driveway. The house was quite different from his and Charlotte’s. The ceilings were higher and still had the original ornate cornices, the rooms were bigger in area and the décor they’d chosen used darker colours that suited their comfortable furniture.
He swore to himself again to try not to outstay his welcome.
It was Peter who answered the doorbell. He saw Frank’s belongings on the drive beside him and helped to carry them into the house. Gloria showed him where he’d be sleeping. It didn’t take him long to put his few belongings where they’d be handy but not untidy.
Davina had been upstairs getting ready, but she emerged as soon as she heard her grandad’s voice and came downstairs with him..
They all sat together in the front living room. Peter turned off Breakfast TV on the large flatscreen television. The device looked odd set against the more traditional furniture in the room. Peter had persuaded Gloria that, not only would the set allow him to watch football better, but she’d be able to watch her nature programmes in glorious ultra-high definition. They were seated on a burgundy-red leather suite – a three-seater chesterfield and two winged-back armchairs around a large oak coffee table.
Gloria and Peter were in their mid-forties, similar in height – both slim, blonde and healthy looking. They were both dressed in warm-looking loungewear, while Davina had a white tee-shirt tucked into black jeans. She was barefoot.
Gloria had placed beakers of tea, coffee and biscuits on the table for them all. It seemed to Frank that everyone was speaking at once trying to get him to tell them what had happened. He started by reminding them of the incident at the dining table and went backwards in time from there, through arguments there had been earlier in the day. He then told of tensions that had been developing all the way back since his retirement. With the background established, he moved his narrative forward to the evening’s aftermath and his declaration of leaving. He concluded with the more reasoned conversation he’d had with Charlotte at breakfast time and the call he’d made that morning.
I took this photo from our house looking into the garden through a window. It shows two goldfinches on one of our feeders eating sunflower hearts. We can get as many as twenty of these little birds at once on the feeders together with blue tits, green finches and sparrows plus some larger birds who want to muscle their way to get seeds – wood pigeons, pigeons, collar doves and starlings. The robins and wrens are ground feeders – the wrens being very shy.
I used my Pentax KP cropped sensor camera to take the photo using a 28-105 mm f/3.5-5.6 full-frame lens. The shutter speed was 1/3200 secs @ f/5.6 and focal length 105 mm. The ISO was 1600. The shot was handheld and I post-processed my shot in Lightroom Classic with additional editing in Topaz Denoise AI.