Mel was incredulous – she told him off for accusing her of not listening to him and of lying that he had told her about his university acceptance. She asked him why he hadn’t even told her that he’d intended to apply. In truth she didn’t really believe that he had applied. She made it clear that she was angry that he’d tried to belittle her success. She made it clear too that if he didn’t like her family he should find somebody else – a girl from a more working-class background. When they parted for the afternoon, the tension between them had still not been resolved and they made no arrangement to meet again.
As she walked home, Mel was seething and remembering what Stacy had said to her. Even if Craig were to apologise and they were to get back together, she’d be monitoring his behaviour.
When she got back, she found that her family had, similarly, not been pleased by Craig’s behaviour and asked what she saw in him. She thanked them better frame of mind to face her new job the following morning.
The camera shop – Induction
Mel woke early on the Monday morning. As she got out of bed, she remembered that it would be her first full day at work in her new job at the shop. Her stomach lurched with anxiety. This was a big deal, quite different from a few hours a week of casual work behind a bar. A different employer, different systems, different people and different skills to develop.
The job wasn’t what she’d been looking for, but for the time being it was the only job she’d come across in more than two years of looking that at least had some relationship to photography. It would be up to her to make it work for her benefit. She wondered what they’d expect of her.
She showered and got ready quickly and went downstairs for breakfast. She could hear from the hallway that dad were already in the kitchen finishing their meal. She paused to check her appearance in the hall mirror, appraising her face with its neat straight nose, blue-grey eyes and full lips. Her hair was swept back from her face and secured in a ponytail by a colourful scrunchie. The evening before, Mel had carefully considered what outfit she’d wear for its suitability to her expectations of the job and, in the mirror, it looked fine on her tall athletic body. She headed for the kitchen.
‘How are you feeling, love?’ her mum asked, ‘Worried?’
‘A bit,’ she admitted.
Her dad assured her that she’d be fine. He knew the people at Hannays’ and they were a friendly lot. They’d soon make her feel at home. She felt reassured and managed to eat her breakfast before leaving for the day, buoyed by her parents assurances and best wishes.
Her mum gave her a lift into the town.
Codmanton town centre was a quirky mixture of old and new. The coal mines were now closed, as was the old gasworks that stood on the edge of the town. Many older buildings bore the black staining of chimney-smoke and coal dust on their quarried stone walls.
New, smaller businesses, built with red bricks and glass were interposed beside and among them. Apartment blocks – some private, some built by the Council – had replaced most of the old, town-centre terraced cottages. Some of the old miners’ cottages still existed at the Southern end of the town, rising in steep, narrow rows towards the hills..
A mile South of the town centre, the Leeds to Liverpool canal passed, accompanied on its journey by the railway line that had stolen most of the cargo it once carried.
The High Street itself ran North through the town. Along, and around it, stood an ancient church, the Town Hall, municipal buildings and a commercial area. The former department stores had now decamped to a largish retail park at the North end of the town, off the High Street, as it climbed on its way to neighbouring Croxton.
What was left of the former shopping area was mainly small independent shops – some along the high street; some in a small precinct; some really old shops in the up-market arcade; and the remainder in narrow alleyways, or ginnels. There were a few restaurants, a cinema and a theatre still, but the town centre as a whole, looked as if it’s dying on its feet.
A pub and a betting shop stood across the street from a Christian bookshop, charity shops and an upmarket clothes shop.
Hannays camera shop stood just off the High Street in the precinct of newish shop premises. The Hannay family had traded in the town since Jamie’s great grandad had sold cameras from a market stall in 1947, moving to a shop in the High Street in the mid-1950s. The move to the precinct had only happened in the 1990s to escape the escalating costs of trading. Like many small local businesses, the Hannays had been trapped between the hammer of rent rises and punitive council taxes on the one hand and the anvil of reduced income as unemployment worsened.
The photo that I’ve chosen today is the fourth 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 canal approaching, after some canal boats, a bridge above another section of canal, at which point the Rufford branch of the canal departs (or joins) to the left. 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 1/125 secs @ f/8 and 88 mm. The ISO was 100. The shot was handheld.