The rain was relentless and the spray from passing vehicles was occasionally dangerous, resulting in almost zero visibility. She stuck to Lane One as far as was possible, overtaking only the slowest of heavier vehicles. She’d called in at three service areas on the way North, braving the rain to use the facilities and to rest her eyes and her brain for a while. So far though, she shouldn’t be more than forty-five minutes behind her scheduled arrival
A visit to Gloria
Having reached home, unloaded the car, freshened up and changed her clothes, she made herself a quick snack from the contents of the fridge. She’d managed to have a cooked meal at one of the motorway service areas earlier, so she wasn’t all that hungry. She phoned Gloria, confirmed that Frank wasn’t there and climbed in her car again for the short journey to see her daughter.
Gloria threw her arms around her mum when she opened the door and saw her.
‘Thank God you got back safe,’ she said, herding her mum into the house, ‘It must have been Hell driving in this weather.’
When Charlotte took off her coat for Gloria to hang somewhere to drip, Gloria remarked on how tanned and well Charlotte looked. Peter and Davina joined them in the hall to welcome her.
‘What did you say to Dad in your text?’ Gloria said, ‘I got the impression he was sulking afterwards.’
Charlotte explained and Gloria put her hand to her mouth.
‘You didn’t?’ she said, ‘Really? Just like that? Aaaw! That’s awful.’
‘I know,’ Charlotte said, ‘ I did it on the spur of the moment and I’ve been regretting it ever since.’
‘I bet he’s in some pub somewhere, sheltering from this deluge,’ Gloria said, ‘He’ll be touring the estate agents again tomorrow, you’ll see. I hope he doesn’t find anywhere. I like having him here. You can’t have him back. He’s too much help around the house for me to lose him now.’
‘Ooooh!’ said Charlotte, ‘It’s like that is it? Well, I’m glad someone thinks he’s useful.’ She laughed. ‘You keep him then.’
‘Anyway,’ Peter interrupted, ‘ tell us about your holiday.’
Much of what Charlotte had to say was about Carrie and their friendship. The weather and some details of the places they’d visited was mentioned, but Gloria noticed how her mum became a little upset when she spoke of Carrie being like the sister she’d never had.
Charlotte eventually changed the subject to ask how they’d all been – and about the Sunday dinner.
He couldn’t deny he was hurt. His invitation had been a genuine offer of help if she’d wanted it. It was fine that she was making other plans, but why did she have to be so snotty? A simple ‘Thanks but no thanks. I’ll get something on the way back,’ would have been an ample but polite rejection. He wouldn’t ask her again.
He had no problem with her wanting to see Gloria without him being there. That was simple mum and daughter stuff. The second kick had been in the tail – the bit telling him to get off his backside and start house hunting in earnest. It was the very thing that he’d already decided to do when the letting agents re-opened after the bank holiday.
He explained to Gloria that he’d have his evening meal out, so that she could have a natter with her mum. He asked her to text him once she’d gone home. David had spent the afternoon watching sport, Gloria had been to the shops to pick up some snack foods for when her mum arrived. Davina was in her room revising. It was still raining, so he donned a raincoat before he left to drive to the pub. He looked forward to the carvery. Charlotte wouldn’t be eating anything as nice as that.
Another photograph today from when I was walking back from Happy Valley at Carr Mill along the woodland path – returning the way that I’d come. This image shows some red, iron rich water entering the main stream – probably from an old, long-forgotten factory or mill.
I used my Pentax KP 24 MP crop sensor camera with a 35mm f/2 prime lens lens attached. The shutter speed was 1/100 seconds at f/13. The ISO was 3200. The shot was handheld and I post-processed my shot in Lightroom Classic.