‘Yes, Mum,’ Mel said, ‘I do understand your concern, but most photographers want to feel in their hands what they’re thinking about buying – judge the weight, the grip and so on. Even the people who own the shop seem to expect that, with my degree and photography skills, I’ll probably want to move on eventually to make the most of them. I’ve seen inside the shop though, and I’ve met and discussed things with them. They’re lovely people, it’s full-time, reasonably paid for a starter job – and I can see how I’ll be able to learn a lot working there.’
‘All right, Mel, love, I can see you’ve thought about it. Your dad will be over the moon, I’m sure. How did you manage to get an interview?’
Mel explained, and Jean said how impressed she was.
Brian was home from work in time to join them for their evening meal, and heard all about the job and the discussion that had occurred earlier between his wife and daughter. He thanked Mel for helping out with the meal and congratulated her on the job.
As an architect Brian often used cameras on his site visits. He was a competent photographer and had bought cameras, lenses and other equipment from Hannays’ shop over the years. He reassured his wife that the Hannays were good people and that the job would be an excellent start for Mel. Other than photographic skills, she’d be able to develop her negotiation skills by dealing with customers on a daily basis. He told Mel to mention his name to Tony Hannay when she started work.
A meeting with Stacy
Mel was met with warmth and a wall of noise and the smells of beer and food as she walked through the small door of the Farmers Arms. It was an old pub on the edge of the town and had been considerably extended over the years. The Lounge was in the oldest part – dark oak beams across the low ceiling. The carpet had recently been replaced as part of a refurbishment. Much of the noise was coming from the other side of the bar through the gap into a newer room where a television screen was showing a live football match. That sound competed with conversation and the easy-listening music being piped around the Lounge.
She saw Stacy as soon as she entered. She was sat at a table for four against the wall opposite the bar. As Mel approached, Stacy stood to greet her with a hug and a kiss. The two attractive, young women could easily have been mistaken for sisters, especially since they both wore similar blue denim jeggings, white tee shirts and white trainers.
‘Congratulations, Mel,’ Stacy said, ‘It sounds like you’ve landed on your feet.’
Mel had phoned Stacy even before she’d let Craig know. They had been friends since childhood and had always stayed in touch with each other since. Stacy had worked for the police since leaving school and was now a detective sergeant. Stacy asked Mel what she wanted to drink.
‘It’s my shout,’ she said, ‘Choose something expensive – we have to celebrate.’
‘Nah!’ Mel said, ‘just a glass of house white will do, thanks. I don’t intend to get bladdered. It’s been a busy day for me and I want an early night.’
‘Lightweight,’ Stacy said, ‘I bet you’re just going to sneak off to see that loser, Craig.’
When Stacy returned from the bar with the drinks, she sat and proposed a toast to her friend.
‘Well, it’s taken long enough,’ Mel said, ‘I won’t be earning half as much as you, but it’s a start.’
A roar went up from the other room. It was clear that someone had scored a goal for the favourite team of those in there.
‘Sounds like the folks in there will be celebrating later too,’ Stacy said, ‘Shall we go in there and watch the end of the game?’
Stacy declined, pleading that she didn’t want to stay long and, once they got absorbed into a group of the football supporters, they’d never get away.’
‘Mel, it is that waste of space bloke of yours isn’t it?’ Stacy said, ‘You’re worried that he’ll find out if you start talking to other guys. He’ll pull you down with him if you’re not careful.’
‘Come off it , Stace,’ Mel said, ‘I do know that he gets jealous – and I do get frustrated by his moods sometimes, but I won’t let him pull me down as you put it?’
‘Mel, he’s jobless and he’s a control freak. He won’t like it that you’ve got a job and he hasn’t. I bet he’s already complaining that you won’t have as much time for him.’
‘I think that you’re wrong. He just likes it when we’re together.’
‘Don’t you believe it, girl. If he had a job, the boot would be on the other foot. He wouldn’t miss you then when he had less time to see you. he’d be made up because he could talk down at you and make you feel bad.’
Mel shook her head. ‘You’ve never liked him, Stace.’
‘Listen, Mel, in my job we often come across women whose blokes end up hitting them. Those men always start off like Craig.’
Mel shook her head again. ‘He’s never laid a finger on me – well, not to hit me.’ She laughed.
‘Okay, Mel, but whenever I’ve been out with the two of you, I hear him criticising what you’re wearing, correcting things you say – then he appeals to me for support. Things like that. It’s not nice and he would never do that if he loved you – try to belittle you to me. If he’s like that in company, I hate to think what he’s like when there’s just the two of you.’
The photo that I’ve chosen today is the second of the series that I’ll be posting in this part of my daily blog in this part of the page. As I said previously, the series is based on a walk that I did on the 19th April along the bank of the Leeds to Liverpool canal between Burscough Bridge and the ‘Ring O’Bells’ pub just over a mile away. I did the walk in both directions, accompanied by my daughter’s dog, Ted. I’ll start with a shot I took at Burscough Bridge wharf.
The image shows the prow of a narrowboat moored at Burscough Bridge plus reflections in the canal – below the bottom of the Wharf pavement – of the Wharf Buildings and safety fence. The EXIF data are as follows: Camera used was my 24 MP Pentax KP cropped sensor camera paired with a Pentax 28-105 mm f/3.5-5.6 full-frame lens. The shutter speed was 1/60 secs @ f/10 and 53 mm. The ISO was 100. The shot was handheld.