The Phoenix Time #44
She used the key she’d been given to unlock the hotel door. There was still someone manning the reception desk and she returned the key to him. He asked her about her day and she showed him some of the images on her phone.
In her room she looked at the text messages she’d received but decided not to reply until the morning.
Day Six – May 5th – Ashton-in-Makerfield
While his wife and her recent acquaintance were enjoying themselves in Dorset, Frank, on the outskirts of Merseyside, set off after breakfast to do some house hunting. He’d told Charlotte, the previous evening, that he’d be going to Wigan, but he amended his plan. He headed into St Helens first to see what was available there. He bought a copy of the weekly, local free-sheet newspaper and looked at the adverts. There were a couple of houses to-let privately. He was a bit wary because the landlords wouldn’t necessarily be licenced – so there was the possibility of being let down on things like maintenance or refund of deposits. He decided to contact directly the people who’d placed the adverts to arrange a viewing. There was no answer from the first number he rang but he left a message. He managed to speak to the next advertiser and was invited to visit immediately.
The place was a former council house. Having seen the outside, Frank recognised that it was of non-standard construction and the owner probably wouldn’t be able to sell it. Mortgage companies would probably run a mile. That would be the reason for letting he guessed. From the inside it appeared to be a decent size and to be neat and tidy, but he noticed signs of damp in the corner of a ceiling near the window and that one of the double-glazed windows at the rear was blown. He thanked the owner but said that it wasn’t what he was looking for. The rent asked in the advert hadn’t been excessive but the few issues that he’d noticed worried him.
He drove back into the town centre and collected some details leaflets from the lettings agents’ offices. He’d decide which properties he wanted to view when he’d read a bit more about them than from what he’d heard from the agent.
He decided to call into one of the cafes to have some lunch before he went to Wigan.
He wasn’t really very familiar with the area surrounding Wigan, although he knew the town-centre well. When he got there, the first thing that he did was to obtain a local map. Once more he started by picking up leaflets and getting some idea of what the agents themselves were like. He returned to his car and read the leaflets, worked out an itinerary using the local map and drove around, familiarising himself with local geography and the types of areas where the nicest properties were located.
He was learning that there appeared to be a definite correlation of rental costs with the type of area and size of house – although he’d already suspected that. It would all be something to think about when he got back home.
He looked at his watch. It was time to get back to Gloria’s. She was making a risotto for tea and he didn’t want to be late for that. He was being spoiled but it would be wrong to impose on her good nature for much longer. He decided to have a word after tea if he could get her on her own. He sent a text to Charlotte to ask how she was but didn’t expect a reply. She’d be getting ready for a long night of star-watching and would probably be conserving her phone battery life.
He looked forward to joining the family including David and his children for their dinner the following evening.
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.
I took this next photograph standing beside Carr Mill Dam looking at some swans.
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 1/250s at f/5 and the ISO was 250. The shot was handheld and I post-processed my shot in Lightroom Classic.