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, before opening 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.
Mel was stood outside the shop door by twenty-five past eight. Hannays’ had a double fronted window display – not large windows, but a cut above many of the shops in the precinct. The shutters were up, but a “Closed” sign still hung behind the glazed door. She’d dressed to impress. Beneath her black puffer jacket she wore a royal-blue wrap over blouse, a knee-length black pencil skirt and sheer black tights with shiny black low-heeled shoes. She could see Jamie and his mum through the glass, moving around. She tapped on the glass, and when Jamie saw her he came across, smiled at her, unlocked the door and opened it, inviting her in and leading her across to Lucy, his mum.
She noticed that Jamie was wearing spectacles and assumed that they were just for reading. He was similarly dressed to how he had been on the previous Friday at the interview. There was an identity lanyard around his neck.
‘You made good time, Melissa – a nice start to your job here,’ Lucy said, offering a hand for Mel to shake, ‘I’m sure you’ll fit in nicely.’
‘Hello again, Mrs Hannay,’ Mel said, smiling and taking the proffered hand, ‘I’m looking forward to it. Please call me Mel if that’s okay.’
‘Mel – that’s nice,’ she replied, ‘You must call me Lucy. We’re a family business not the Bank of England.’ Lucy commented on how nice Mel looked and showed her where to hang her jacket. She explained that Mel wasn’t going to be ‘thrown in at the deep end’, but would be eased in over a couple of weeks.
Lucy was wearing a cotton blouse with a colourful abstract pattern over navy blue bootleg trousers and black sensible shoes. Around her neck she wore a lanyard similar to Jamie’s and bearing her name.
Mel passed her portfolio to Lucy for Tony to look at.
Jamie joined them. He said, ‘You’ll be working with me for a few days – getting to know the kind of things we do, because we don’t just sell cameras – as you’ll see. Firstly though, we asked you to come in early because there are usually things that need doing before we open the shop – like sorting out any new stock that’s arrived over the weekend. Let’s get on with that together.’
He told her that she would need one of the shop’s lanyards. He pointed to his photographic image on his ID and asked whether she had any objection to having her photo on her ID. She told him that she’d have no problem. He led her upstairs to a room at the front to take her photo and explained that they sometimes took customers’ passport photos there. She stood against a neutral grey background while he took the shot and printed off a set of four images passport-style. He cut them into four separate photos and gave two to her. He told her that one would be attached to her staff record and the other for her lanyard ID card. He asked how she wanted her name to appear – Melissa, Mel or Ms Harrington. She told him to record it as Mel.
The photo that I’ve chosen today is the fifth 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.
The image shows neighbours talking to each other across the Rufford branch of the canal leaving the main section and heading for a flight of locks. The EXIF data are as follows: The camera I 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/7.1 and 48 mm. The ISO was 100. The shot was handheld.