‘Why don’t you and Jamie find somewhere to sit with your drinks to wait for everybody,’ Lucy said, ‘somewhere that’ll give us room to spread out preferably until we get asked to go to our table.’
One of the pub staff at the bar seemed to have been listening – she called to a passing waitress and asked her to show Jamie and Mel a suitable place – close to the room that had been reserved for the party. Mel followed the waitress with Jamie, suspicions aroused as to the possibility of matchmaking going on.
They’d hardly had time to sit before both sets of grandparents arrived to join them. The two sides of Jamie’s family had all come in their own cars – Alec and Carol had brought Duncan, Alec’s dad. Ninety-five years old Duncan was using a stroller to support him, though he still, otherwise, looked spry for his age. Mel took an immediate liking to Duncan. In his blazer, white shirt and regimental tie, he dressed like an ex-military man, but he had a twinkle in his blue eyes.
Mel wasn’t sure of the protocol in these circumstances, but to play safe, she started to stand when Jamie’s grandfolk approached. When Mel rose to stand, Jamie followed suit – whether to avoid embarrassing her or from family politeness Mel was unsure.
Lucy’s mum, Fiona, was the first to introduce herself to Mel – before embracing her and kissing her on the cheek. Mel understood Fiona to be recently retired, but she looked very young to be a pensioner. Neil Cameron, her husband didn’t look much older than Fiona and he was dressed as if he’d just come straight from a game of golf.
‘You’re every bit as beautiful as Lucy told me,’ Fiona said, ‘isn’t she, Carol?’
‘Well, Lucy wasn’t the one to tell me, but you are even lovelier than Tony described you,’ Carol, his mum said, ‘he probably didn’t want to make Lucy think that your looks were the reason for taking you on.’
Mel knew from Jamie that Carol, his dad’s mum, was a few years older than Fiona, but she too looked young for her age and she certainly didn’t dress like an old-age pensioner. She too embraced Mel.
‘On those grounds, I’m saying nothing in case it incriminates me,’ Alec Hannay, Tony’s dad said, ‘I’d better just shake hands. Lovely to meet you, Mel.’
Neil Cameron, Lucy’s dad, greeted Mel in a similar fashion and everyone sat down with their drinks.
‘I believe that you’re a very promising young photographer, Mel,’ Alec said, ‘You did know, did you, that Tony never really expected to be able to recruit someone who actually knew one end of a camera from the other?’
‘No, I didn’t know that – they never said,’ Mel replied, ‘but I was unemployed and just happened to see the notice in the shop window. Just good timing as far as I’m concerned.’
‘Aren’t you concerned that you may be wasting your talent in the shop?’ this was Carol.
Mel explained that, since she’d graduated, the role and prospects of a professional photographer had changed.
‘Everybody who has a smartphone thinks that they’re a photographer now,’ she said, ‘My recent boyfriend said that no one needs photographers like me: it doesn’t take any training to be able to click a button.’
‘Is that why he’s your “recent” boyfriend?’
‘That and the fact that he was a control freak.’ Mel replied.
‘Is there any truth in what he said though?’ Neil asked.
‘I suppose there is, and that’s why I feel lucky to have my job at Hannays’,’ Mel said.
At that point Tracy and her husband, Jake arrived together with Lucy and Tony. Tracy was pushing Baby Elaine in a small buggy. As soon as Mel saw Tracy, she saw the family resemblance to Jamie. When she was introduced to Tracy, Mel asked if she could have a peep at the wailing baby.
Tracy apologised, explaining that she was going to have to take her to the Ladies’ room to change her nappy.
‘She stinks something rotten’, she added, ‘I’ll bring her across to you when she’s fit for inspection.’
Alec picked up where he’d left off.
‘You were saying that you felt happy to have your job at Hannays. Would you like to say a bit more about that? I’d have thought you’d be still on the lookout for an opportunity as a professional photographer. Surely it can’t be because of what this ex-boyfriend said?’
A couple of week’s ago, I went to New Brighton – a resort on the north Wirral coast in Merseyside to photograph the sunset. There was too much cloud to see the actual Sun, but I liked the light anyway. This next photo in the series shows the Perch Rock lighthouse at New Brighton.
I used my Pentax K-1 36 MB full-frame camera with a Pentax 70-200 mm f/2.8 lens. The EXIF data were shutter speed was 1/125 seconds at f/11and 200 mm. The ISO was 100. The shot was tripod mounted and post-processed in Lightroom.