The Phoenix Time #24


Gloria was pleased that he’d phoned her mum. She was fascinated by his account of his conversation about her mum and how she was considering dance classes. She was even more interested by the Dorset plan and impressed by Charlotte’s show of independence. She was amused again by her dad’s reaction to her mum’s decision. The questions that he seemed to have been asking, in Gloria’s mind, indicated that her dad might be having second thoughts.


Saturday  April 27 Week One – A visit to the Bank

Frank had phoned Charlotte again on the Friday evening. He’d wanted to check that she still intended to attend the appointment at the bank. If he were honest, it hadn’t been his only reason for the call. He’d made sure to ask – as if it were an afterthought – how she’d enjoyed her first dancing lesson.

He seemed to remember that there was a Spanish proverb, something along the lines of, ‘He who spies through a keyhole will see what annoys him.’

Charlotte had clearly had a good time. She’d sat with the woman from the Local History group, but by her account, she hadn’t sat down much. It seemed that there were several widowers there who’d asked her to be their partner for various of the dances they were being taught.

That hadn’t been what he’d wanted to hear.

They met just inside the bank’s doorway on the Saturday morning, as they’d arranged the previous evening. It was as well that they’d fixed that as their meeting place, because it was teeming with rain outside – late April showers. His jacket, trousers and shoes were soaked – Charlotte had brought her Golf Umbrella. She didn’t play golf but she’d bought it a couple of years previously for days like this.

Perhaps it was his imagination but she seemed to be positively glowing – and she was dressed to impress. She looked lovely and he had the grace to tell her so.

They had to wait about ten minutes inside the bank building before they were called in by the appointed official. They waited in a seating area where they watched the Saturday morning customers at the cashiers’ row of counters, and others queuing at the Reception desk. Some were sat talking to advisers whose area was sectioned off for mortgages. Through the wide glass windows, steamed up on the inside and rain streaked outside, they could make out blurred details of pedestrian shoppers, passing in both directions – singly, in couples, some with prams. The ten minutes or so passed quickly.

It was obvious that the young woman was very familiar with their type of situation. There was quite a lot of paperwork for such a small request, but apparently it was all to do with reducing money-laundering. They each left with a new personal account into which the appropriate amounts had been transferred from the now defunct joint account. The person they spoke to arranged for direct debits to be switched and explained that they’d each be receiving new debit cards for their new accounts. Frank had explained that some large transfers would be made from his new account to whatever letting agent he contracted with. All went well and they left her office, each carrying a folder of information about their accounts.

Before they ventured outside and into the rain, Frank asked Charlotte if she’d like to join him for a coffee or perhaps lunch, but she said that she had quite a bit of shopping to do. Gloria and David would be coming to have their tea with her the following day and she also wanted to get some things she’d need for her Dorset trip. He wished her a safe journey and asked her to bring back some photos – particularly if she went anywhere near Durdle Door – a coastal rock formation popular with photographers.

‘Trust you,’ she said, ‘always thinking of your landscapes. If you thought anything about me you’d be asking me to bring back shots of me in my bikini.’

She laughed at his shocked expression, turned and walked away.

Frank assumed that she was having him on, but chuckled, thinking that his wife was probably adjusting to the separation better than he was. It was a load off his mind really.

He shouted after her, ‘You can send me the bikini ones as well.’

She turned, ‘I was going to save those for the widowers at the dance group.’

She stuck her tongue out at him, turned and continued walking.

As he started walking back to the car park, it struck him that, because Gloria, Peter and Davina would be having their Sunday tea at Charlotte’s, he’d need to do some food shopping himself. It wouldn’t do for him to be spending all his pension in restaurants and cafes. He braved the rain as he headed to the Supermarket to browse for something tasty but easy to cook. He might even see Charlotte there for some advice.

Featured Photo

I took this photo last week (12/02/2021) at Sherdley Park, St Helens, Merseyside. It’s another 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 640 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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