The Phoenix Time #33


That evening, after an early dinner together, they walked to Carrie’s hotel while Carrie collected her camera and tripod. They then walked down to the Cobb and they both took some sunset and blue hour photos. Charlotte saw how the underlit clouds and their vivid  purples, reds, blues and oranges made much more interesting images than those taken in the middle of the day. She’d managed in some of her smartphone shots to capture seabirds swooping across the setting sun and was delighted.

Carrie promised to show Charlotte, the next day, what she does to edit  images she’s taken. Charlotte insisted that it would be her turn to drive.


It was dark as they parted for the evening. She walked back up the steep hill, past the lighted-up windows of the shops and premises where people were still eating or drinking or simply working. She felt safe in a way she wouldn’t have at home. She collected her room key and booked another packed lunch for the following day before walking up the stairs to her room. It was becoming more familiar to her now – where things were, how the shower worked,  how the room temperature was controlled, how to use the television. She now had the hotel wi-fi password stored on her phone.

When she got into her room, she parked her jacket and bag on the bed then used the bathroom. Having freshened up she sat, wrote and addressed the postcards, placing a stamp on each for posting the following day. She’d just made herself a cup of the courtesy hot chocolate when her phone summoned her. It was Frank.

‘Oh, you’re in at last,’ he said when she answered.

‘What! Are you my parole officer now?’ she riposted.

‘I’ve rung a couple of times,’ he said.

‘So what?’ she said, ‘I’m free, white and turned twenty-one. I stayed out. You buggered off and left me. What time I come and go has sod all to do with you now.’

‘Let me start again,’ he asked, ‘I’m sorry. You’re right, it’s none of my business. I was just worried. That’s all.’

She accepted his apology and asked him what he wanted. He told her that with her being so far away, he was concerned in case she’d been in an accident or something. She told him she was fine and asked about his day.

He told her that he’d been cutting the grass at her house and doing some weeding.  She thanked him. It had needed doing.

‘You’ll never believe what I’ve been doing,’ she said.

‘Go on,’ he said, ‘You’re dying to tell me aren’t you.’

‘Have you ever come across someone named Carrie Ann Rice who writes books about landscape photography?’ she asked.

‘I can’t say as I have,’ he replied, ‘Why.’

She told him about Carrie, how they’d met, what they’d been doing together the last two days and what she’d learned about Carrie’s little earner.’

‘That’s tremendous,’ he said, ‘And you two get on well together?’ he asked.

‘Really well,’ she said, ‘and let me tell you what we’re going to be doing next Friday or Saturday if the skies are clear.’

‘Sounds like a bit of astrophotography,’ he said.

‘You guessed,’ she said, ‘We’re going back to Durdle Door to photograph it at sunset, then staying until it’s really dark to photograph the Milky Way over its arch. What do you think about that?’

‘I’m gobsmacked, I confess.’ he said, ‘That would be a dream come true as far as I’m concerned.’

‘Well, for cutting my grass, I’ll let you see my photos,’ she said.

 ‘It sounds as if her and me would make a good match. Do you have her address?’

‘She’s got too much style about her for you mate,’ she said.

 She put down the phone, laughing.

She wasn’t tired so she also phoned Gloria, David and Betty. The calls to her children were straightforward chats about work and the children, though they were impressed by what they heard about Carrie. The call to Betty was much more interesting. Betty told her, in confidence, that she’d not been honest with Frank. There were some houses on the market that would probably be fine for him, but she’d told him that agents usually prefer to sell to current renters because they can make more money out of them. Not true but it meant that Frank would have to stay with Gloria a while longer if he didn’t want to settle for B&B or a hotel in the meantime. Betty’s plan was to allow them both longer to settle their differences. Betty said that she’d cleared this with Gloria who’d been only too happy to help. Charlotte thanked Betty but she wasn’t sure that she wanted Frank back. She’d had a taste of independence and she liked it. Who needs men?

Featured Photo

I took this photo a couple of days ago (21/02/2021) while I was out for a walk. I’d gone to take my daily exercise a couple of miles further from home than usual. I began near the Ship Inn at Blackbrook, St Helens, Merseyside. I parked near the Ranger’s Hut and walked, initially along the Canal and then beside the stream along the woodland path to its junction with Garswood Old Road at Happy Valley, Carr Mill. I’d taken my camera and took lots of photos to show you over the next several episodes of this story. Most of them will show the path and the water beside it.

This first photograph shows a basin of the canal near the start of the walk.

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 1/100 at f/13 and the ISO was 1000 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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