The Phoenix Time #39


Carrie used their lunch break to speak to Charlotte about the return to Lulworth Cove and Durdle Door. She pointed out that, because it was bank holiday weekend, there’d be lots of tourists about when they arrived, and that might pose a problem for parking at either place early in the day. She advised that they should definitely try to arrive no later than lunchtime however, because they’d need to scout out routes. They’d probably get their best photographs of the Milky Way not long before midnight. It would be pitch-black darkness by then, and they’d need to find their way back to the car by torchlight. If the car were at Lulworth Cove, there would be a walk of more than a mile along clifftop paths with a sheer descent on one side for most of the way.

Carrie looked at her, shocked.


I’m just trying to prepare you Charlie,’ she said. ‘Now’s the time to back out if that scares you.’

Charlotte considered for a moment.  All around their table, customers and staff bustled, tables were being cleared and re-used. The place looked and sounded very busy.

‘It sounds scary, but I don’t want to think of you being up there in those conditions alone. No. I’m coming.’

‘Okay,’ Carrie said, ‘We need to do some shopping then and we may as well do it here. There’s no guarantee that we’d be able to get what we need in Lyme tomorrow.’

‘Okay, tell me what you suggest we may need. Let’s flex plastic as soon as we finish our lunch.’

Carrie listed all the things they’d need to have with them: folding chairs, warm hats, warm clothing, torches, water, extra flasks, lots of food, as much as they could fit in their backpacks if possible. She suggested that they take some toilet roll as a precaution.

Charlotte looked at her.

‘Toilet roll?’

‘We’ll be there from lunchtime to midnight. We’ll be drinking to keep warm. All that fluid has to go somewhere. Bear in mind there will almost certainly be lots of other people taking photos. One of the final checks before it gets dark will be where to go if we need to pee.’

Charlotte was horrified.

‘You think that I’m going to have a pee while there are blokes with cameras around?’ she said, ‘I’ll risk my kidneys thank you. Anyway, why are they all coming to take photos this Saturday?’

‘It’s bank holiday, it’s probably the most famous stone arch in the world, it’s new moon, the weather forecast is good and those last two conditions probably coincide fewer than ten times a year.’

Carrie explained why that should be.

‘So, what you’re saying is that this will probably be a once-in-a-lifetime chance for me.’

Carrie agreed. They went shopping. They were passing a camera shop when Carrie asked if Charlotte would like to try using her phone to take some proper photos while they were out at night.

Featured Photo

I took this photo a a little more than a week 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 next photograph shows a wood pile beside the woodland path. It’s probably just me but I find assemblages of decay like this photogenic.

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 1/125s at f/11and the ISO was 2000. Given that the camera is known to have slow autofocus, especially on approaching people or animals, I was amazed that this shot came out as clear as it did. 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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