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.
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.
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.