The Phoenix Time #30


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.


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.

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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