The Phoenix Time #34


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 house 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 wasn’t sure that she wanted Frank back. She’d had a taste of independence and she’d liked it. Who needs men?


Dorset Day Four – A visit to Sidmouth and to Ladram Bay

Charlotte rose and breakfasted early. Afterwards she returned to her room only to brush her teeth, put her lunch, and flask into her backpack together with some leaflets from Reception about the places they’d be visiting. She left the cards for posting with reception, then made her way to her car to collect Carrie from her hotel.

While she waited, she used postcode information from the leaflets to program her satnav with details to get them via Sidmouth to Ladram Bay. Carrie didn’t keep her waiting long. She threw her jacket and backpack into the rear seat to join Charlotte’s, shouting her greeting, then entered the car to sit beside Charlotte.

‘Hi, Charlie,’ she called, ‘You all ready for another exciting day?’

‘Mr Satnav is primed to take us to sunny Sidmouth,’ Charlotte answered, ‘Have you got your camera and three-legged  thing?’

‘My tripod?’ she said, ‘Of course. I don’t want fuzzy shots, do I?’

Charlotte drove off and they were soon on the main road to the West.

‘Now,’ Carrie asked, ‘Did you get a chance to read any of ‘Persuasion’?’

‘I made a start,’ she replied, ‘but it’s heavy going.’

‘How do you mean?’ Carrie asked.

‘Okay. The sentences are long and convoluted and, well, that’s just not how people speak these days.’

‘What about the story?’

‘Obviously, I haven’t got far enough into the book to see where it’s going,’ she said, ‘but Anne’s family and friends are weird.’

Carrie laughed.

‘Lots of people love the beauty of the way English was spoken then,’ she said, ‘ but you’re right about Sir Walter, Elizabeth and Lady Russell.’

‘I don’t know, Carrie,’ she said, ‘It’s difficult for me to believe that most people would have spoke that way even then. I think that a lot of the people who say that they love the language in Jane Austen’s books are the type who only buy expensive designer clothes because they’re clothes snobs.’

‘Oooh!’ said Carrie, ‘That’s harsh. Do you mean it?’

‘Yes, I think so,’ she said. There are still people who attend Church of England services who are unhappy because of the move to service books and bibles in more modern language. It’s as though they don’t think God will understand their prayers if they don’t speak Shakespearean English. And don’t get me going on Shakespeare!’

Carrie was in stitches laughing.

Charlotte continued, ‘Talk about the Emperor’s New Clothes. That Persuasion book would attract a lot more readers if someone would translate it into English.’

‘Mmm!’ Carrie said, ‘Maybe, maybe not. I’m not sure that the plot would be as credible. People don’t behave now as they do in the story. Your whole society and its norms have changed.  The plot is credible because the language reflects that moment in time.’

‘There’s still too many things that haven’t changed enough for me,’ Charlotte said. ‘I went to watch a university graduation ceremony with a friend not long since. A normal redbrick university – and the proceedings started off by one of the bigwigs delivering a speech in Latin. Latin!’

That set Carrie off chortling again.

‘I know what you mean Charlie, but even if you got someone to rewrite the plot in modern English and shown on TV, it would only work if the actors wore period clothes and travelled in coaches pulled by horses – like in Poldark.’

‘Not true,’ Charlotte said, ‘Look at the snobbery even in your more modern American dramas with oil tycoons and families from the deep South who still have ‘Gone with the Wind’ attitudes to high society.’

‘You win, Charlie. Put like that it might work – but Persuasion is still a great story. Bear with the language. Don’t let it put you off. Anyway, it isn’t the only well known novel to feature the Cobb. Have you ever heard of John Fowles book, The French Lieutenant’s Woman?’

‘Yes. Wasn’t there a film made of that book?’ she said.

‘There was – sometime in the 1980’s if I remember rightly. So, think about the Cobb’s place in literature when you look back on your photos.’

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 second photograph shows a couple walking towards Carr Mill along the woodland path 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 2000 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.

One thought

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s