The Phoenix Time #22


When he got back to Gloria’s, he put away the groceries he’d bought and made himself some lunch and a drink. He brought his laptop down and started doing some calculations about how much he’d need to pay for a holding deposit, advance rent and a tenancy deposit. Okay, some of it was refundable but it was still quite a lot of money. He’d also need to pay some recurring charges for things like Council Tax insurance and utilities bills. He was beginning to think that he shouldn’t commit himself initially to a rental of more than six months – he could use that as a learning period. That would raise another problem though for getting a broadband deal – he wouldn’t have to bother with a landline.


For the rest of the day, with nothing else planned, he sat down to think about this idea of a photographic tour. On Sunday night, unable to sleep, he’d imagined a trip along the North Sea coast. In his mind, he’d be starting the tour with a day and overnight stay at Knaresborough then on to York. From there he’d head on to Scarborough, Whitby, Durham, Newcastle, Alnwick, Bamborough and Holy Island. He’d find cheap hotels along the way. At least that had been the plan.

He did internet searches on the various locations, including searches for best photography locations at each place. He did map searches in order to save details of routes and mileages between destinations. Using the information he’d gleaned, he selected those towns or cities where he’d need to book an overnight stop or two before moving on. This information enabled him to estimate the fuel and accommodation costs to plan for. The result was sobering.

He realised now that his budget would be severely strained if he were to attempt the journey as that kind of extended tour. The grim reality was that he now faced substantial extra housing-related costs that he’d incur by moving out from his former home – deposits, rent, Council Tax, insurance, fuel, water, telephone and wi-fi – and that lot didn’t include any furniture, furnishings and fittings. Those were all accommodation extras, but he’d need to buy his own food and drink as well. The total of these had to come out of the fraction of his budget remaining after monthly allowance transfers to Charlotte.

Being single wasn’t going to be cheap. The overnight stops would be the big problem – especially trying to finance them in one bundle out of a single month’s pension. The only way of visiting all of those destinations, was to do, say, one outing each month. In most cases there wouldn’t be any need to stay overnight. He could also cut down his costs by travelling on the train. He could buy a Senior Railcard and reduce the ticket cost of each trip by 30%. “Well, that was a good use of a morning,” he thought.

He took his remaining sandwich and a top-up of his drink, and sat in Gloria’s conservatory. His plans were still going through his mind. “Maybe it’s as well doing things in stages,” he thought, “Given the vagaries of English summer weather, hoping for a solid ten or eleven days of dry weather would be very optimistic.” Doing it a day or two at a time he’d be able to check, with more confidence, the weather forecast for dry spells just before leaving. He also realised that leaving his rented house for an entire week or more was increasing risks such as burglary. Being insured was not the same as peace of mind. On top of all that, he didn’t really want to have on his conscience that Charlotte would be completely alone for such a long time. Not living with her didn’t mean that he didn’t love her or care about her.

He decided to ring her a bit later when she’d be back from the Library.

Featured Photo

I took this photo last week (12/02/2021) at Sherdley Park, St Helens, Merseyside. It was one of several shots that I took of the bare-branched trees. The branches of most of them already bear buds, and soon these lovely structures will be hidden by summer foliage.

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 1/400 at f/9 and the ISO was 1600. The shot was handheld and I post-processed my shot in Lightroom Classic.

Author: writingandphotography0531

I am a retired local government officer. At that time, I was an IT manager and had associated responsibilities for training. I have previously been involved, in various organisations, with aspects of industrial training and management development. My hobby is photography and, until recently, hillwalking in Snowdonia. I have just written my first novel, Persephone and the Photographer, published as a Kindle eBook.

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