The Phoenix Time #48


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.


He heard footsteps on the landing outside his door; from the direction of travel and their weight, he guessed it would be David. He roused himself, straightened his bed and put on his dressing gown. Perhaps he could help with the breakfasts.

Ashton-in-Makerfield – Dinner for seven

Gloria  wouldn’t let him near the kitchen.

‘Remember the last time you got in a woman’s way in the kitchen Dad,’ she teased, but she noticed how his face fell at the memory.

‘Sorry Dad,’ she said, ‘Only teasing.’

She touched his arm.

‘You go and sit down. David will be here soon.’

He left her and Frank in the kitchen. Gloria’s kitchen was considerably larger than that ‘at home’ – he still thought of it as ‘home’. It had been extended to become a kitchen diner. The couple had obviously spent a lot of money on modernising the layout, cabinets and equipment. The wall tiles were white, long and narrow – laid like house bricks. The work tops were shiny and black. They had a separate utility room for things like the washing machine and tumble-drier – or whatever they called them these days..

Davina was upstairs getting ready to meet her cousins. He picked up the Sunday paper that he’d bought that morning. Most of the front pages were about the previous week’s local elections. The other major headline was about a senior cabinet minister who’d been sacked about a leak. He read the first few pages then turned to the editorial. There was nothing he couldn’t have anticipated having watched the previous evening’s television news.

When David arrived, he and Jake joined Frank in the living room, having spoken to Gloria and Peter in the kitchen. Grace had run upstairs to talk to Davina.

Jake picked up the newspaper’s colour supplements to look through. David jumped straight into asking Frank about how things were between him and Charlotte. There wasn’t much new to tell him. Frank got David talking about what was happening at the sixth-form college where he lectured. Most of it was about the coming exams and the remainder about bureaucracy. At least it moved the conversation away from more sensitive matters.

Gloria and Peter laid on a splendid spread of food for the three-course meal. There was a watercress and celeriac soup with cheese croutons, followed by roast lamb with parsnips, broccoli boiled and roasted potatoes. The dessert was summer pudding – Frank’s favourite. Frank managed not to knock over his glass of red wine.

David and Peter were in favour of everyone going for a walk afterwards, but the rain had become a persistent drizzle and the women refused en bloc. Frank remarked how well Charlotte had fared weather-wise. He passed on the details of the daily texts he and Charlotte had exchanged. Gloria and David looked at each other, eyebrows raised. This sounded like a separation without very much separation.

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 I’ve already posted some photos a few days ago.

We return today to where I took this next photograph walking back from Happy Valley at Carr Mill along the woodland path – returning the way that I’d come. Along the path there is a pool with nice reflections and the path curves nicely alongside it. Two men were walking on the path in the same direction that I was headed and a couple were approaching from the far side of the pool. I thought that the composition looked okay and I liked the S-curved shape of the path as it led into my viewfinder frame.

I used my Pentax KP 24 MP crop sensor camera with a 35mm f/2 prime lens lens attached. The shutter speed was 1/125 seconds at f/8. The ISO was 1250. 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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