Both women were close to tears as they hugged each other before parting.
When she reached her room, Charlotte sat down on the bed feeling a deep sense of loss. Her reverie was broken when her phone notified her of an incoming message.
Back to the real world!
Ashton-in-Makerfield – a soliloquy
While Charlotte was waking to sunshine on her final day in Dorset, Frank was wakened by the sound of gusts of wind and heavy rain pelting his window. He picked up his phone from his bedside table and looked at the time. It was only six but he didn’t feel that he was going to be able to get back to sleep. He checked his phone for notifications.
He saw that Charlotte had finally answered his text but when he saw the time that she’d sent it he remembered what she’d been doing the previous evening. He wondered how she’d got on at Durdle Door. She promised in the text to send him some photos. He had an idea that she’d really enjoyed her holiday and that she’d found a friend in this Carrie woman. ‘Good on her!’
The morning was getting lighter judging by the light that managed to sneak through his curtains. It was still raining though. He checked the time again: getting on for seven now. That hour had flown. He wondered if he’d managed to drop off to sleep in the meantime.
He fancied the idea of a cup of tea but he didn’t want to wake anybody. It was Sunday morning – a bank holiday Sunday – and they deserved a lie-in. His mind returned to his future. It was nice that Gloria wanted him to stay and he liked being with them, but at moments like this he didn’t feel in charge of his life. Gloria was his daughter – and he knew that she loved him – but, in effect, he was an intruder, not really independent. This wasn’t what he’d envisaged when he’d left Charlotte.
Another insight that he’d had, since he left, was that his hoped-for freedom to roam at will to take photographs had been a bit of a let-down. It wasn’t just that he wouldn’t have as much to spend on travel as he’d expected, though that had been a bit of a shock. He’d come to realise that his attitude to photography had changed.
He’d been to see some of the places that he’d wanted to photograph, but having done so, he was disappointed. He was asking himself why he’d bothered. He’d come to see that the reason he’d chosen those places was because he’d seen images of them that other photographers had taken.
His images were every bit as good as those, but thinking about them, had given him an insight that doing something just because someone else had done it wasn’t a good enough reason. What he’d now like to be doing at this stage in his development was finding things to shoot because he personally had seen the potential of the subject.
Lying there, waiting to hear that someone else was up and about, he thought about Charlotte and her growing interest in photography. ‘Wouldn’t it have been nice for us to feel happy to go out together and develop our interest together. We’d have had each other’s company and plenty to talk about’.
He wondered what she’d be doing. Judging by the time she’d texted him, she’d probably still be asleep. She’d be coming home the next day. He decided to offer to take her out for a meal on her return – save her having to cook for herself.
Thinking of food, his mind moved on to the meal he’d be enjoying with the family that evening. David and his children would be there – everybody but Charlotte. ‘His’ family, but without Charlotte being among them, he felt that it wouldn’t be the same and that he’d be like a spare priest at a wedding.
Since he’d been living there, he’d helped out in every way he could: shopping, dusting, cleaning, washing-up, preparing food for when the family returned. He always did his own laundry and ironing. He knew that Gloria was grateful for the extra pair of helping hands. She hadn’t been willing to take money from him – ‘it’s as easy to cook for four as for three,’ she’d said. He felt guilty nevertheless.
He’d just have to make an extra effort to find somewhere to rent.
This is the third and final of the photos that I took on Saturday 6th March, 2021 while walking around Carr Mill Dam. I took the shot from the Nineteen Arches pedestrian viaduct looking towards the Fishing Lodge on the far side of the Dam. The building is used these days by Lancashire Power Boat Racing Club, who host regular race meetings on the lake.
I used my Pentax K-1 36 MP full-frame camera with a 24-70mm f/2.8 full-frame short telephoto lens attached. The shutter speed was 13 seconds at f/13 and 63 mm. The ISO was 100. I rested my camera on the ledge of the viaduct and I post-processed my shot in Lightroom Classic.