That afternoon, Mel and Jamie were downstairs planning an ‘Autumn Colour’ Sunday outing for the Group. They were debating whether to head for the Lake District or the Forest of Bowland. When the shop phone rang, Marcus answered the call and after listening for a moment called to Mel, and said,
‘Tony, for you.’
She went to the counter, picked up the receiver and said, ‘Hello’.
‘Mel,’ he said, ‘Can you spare me a moment and come up to the office for a moment please?’
She agreed and replaced the receiver. She shrugged her shoulders, raised her upturned palms of her hands to Marcus and pulled a puzzled expression on her face, raising her eyebrows.
He laughed and mouthed, ‘Go on. It’s probably something and nothing.’
As she climbed the stairs, in her head she was running through possible reasons for Tony’s summons. She couldn’t remember having done anything to warrant a disciplinary warning. “Could a customer have complained about me?” she wondered. Nothing came to mind. “Perhaps it’s something to do with my hours”.
She poked her head round his open door and saw him beckoning her to enter. She approached the table where he was pushing some papers to one side. He indicated that she should sit down. She felt relieved. Had it been a disciplinary matter he’d have kept her standing, she reasoned.
‘Listen, Mel,’ he said, ‘You’ve with us now for getting on six months and it’s time for a review of your work.’
He noticed her worried frown.
‘Jamie and I have been talking and we agree that you have proved to be an exemplary worker, so far. We’ve agreed that you deserve a bonus – it’s a one-off rather than a regular pay rise. We’re offering you £1,200 which will be included in this week’s pay slip.’
Mel cupped her hands to her mouth. Her eyes were open expressing her surprise.
She started to tell him of her thanks, but he cut her off.
‘I said that we’re not giving you an increase in your regular hourly rate – not yet anyway, but if you continue to work as hard and as well as you have up to now, I promise you that we’ll certainly be reconsidering your salary at the end of March next year. Does that sound reasonable so far?’ he asked.
‘That’s fantastic,’ she said. She was already considering how to spend her windfall.
‘I’ve not quite finished,’ he said. ‘The other thing that I want to talk to you about is your role in the shop. OK?’
Jamie mentioned to me your ideas about us offering a limited range of photography services – family occasions and suchlike. Is that right?’
Again, she nodded, delighted that Jamie had remembered what she’d said at the family meal.
‘Mel,’ he said, ‘the reason that we’ve never done anything like that so far is that neither of us are ‘proper’ photographers.’ He emphasised the ‘proper’.
‘The passport photos we do are straightforward, but photographing babies, graduations, engagements, weddings and so forth – these are special memories for families – as you no doubt know.’ He looked at her seeking agreement.
‘If you don’t know what you’re doing you can ruin the photographic record that the family expected you to produce for them. That could lose us a lot of goodwill. Are you with me?’
‘Of course I am,’ she said, ‘that’s why I suggested what I did. People want a professional job doing. If we can offer that with confidence, it could snowball – even in these days of smartphone cameras. Word of mouth recommendations are gold dust.’
More of Liverpool. I said that I’d intended to do try my hand at street photography. I did manage to bring back a few shots. Today’s photo is of some shoppers going about their business in Church Street, Liverpool – one of the city’s busiest shopping streets.
For all the street shots, I used my Pentax KP 24 MP cropped sensor camera twinned with a Pentax 16-85 mm f/3.5-5.6 mm lens at an ISO of 100. The EXIF data for this photo were 1/30 secs @ f/9and 60 mm.