During the journey back to Codmanton, she was gratified to receive praise for how well she’d managed the day. Several of the Group were interested to know how she was enjoying her role, and she used the opportunity to explain some of the services the shop would be providing in the months to come.
Terry thanked Mel for involving his company in the outing. It had been a profitable day for him, since four of the group had placed orders for sets of his filters and filter holders. She mentioned to him the ideas she’d been considering for magnetic rather than drop-in filters, and ended the day less sure about what to buy than when she had begun it.
Mel – at Home
When the minibus driver arrived back at Codmanton, after seeing everyone off, and thanking the driver for his role and Terry for his help, Mel headed home. She’d phoned her mum on the way back to give her an estimated time of arrival, and her mum had a hot meal waiting for her. Everyone else had eaten and they were watching television – some game show or other.
Her brother, Jack, came to sit and talk with her while she wolfed down her food. She was ravenous after the fresh air and exercise. They hadn’t seen each other for a while, and he wanted to know all about what was going on between her and Jamie. She, in turn, asked him about the home game he’d played that afternoon and why he wasn’t at the pub celebrating with the other players.
He told her that he’d had a hectic week and was ready for a chance to put his feet up and to catch up with family matters. He asked whether she’d had any problems since with the stalker, or with the driving instructor, and she was able to assure him that she was feeling safer now than for a while. She didn’t know how much credit should be given to having a good relationship with Jamie these days, and how much to the extra self-confidence she now had from doing well at the shop.
He congratulated her on dumping Craig and was glad that ‘that waste of space’ was now spending most of his time abroad. They washed and dried her meal dishes together and then went in to join her parents.
‘By God, lass,’ her dad said, ‘you never seem to have a minute for us these days. Come and sit down. I’ll turn the box off.’
Her mum wanted to know how Mel had got on in the Lake District. Mel described her day and said that she didn’t want to stay down late – she needed to process the images on her camera media card for the day.
Her dad told her that she mustn’t overdo it: in his view she was working above her pay scale. She said that she didn’t care – she loved her job, and being busy was so much better than being unemployed.
‘Anyway, Dad,’ she said, ‘more and more, I’m doing things that are helping me build a private income outside work – print sales, magazine work, online articles. I’m buzzing with what’s ahead of me.’
‘How will all that private work play out with you and Jamie?’ her mum asked.
‘I don’t have a clue, Mum,’ she said. ‘It’s still early days with Jamie and I don’t want to be put in a position yet, or ever, of having to choose between them.’
‘Jamie seems a nice lad,’ her mum said, ‘A different kettle of fish from that Craig. I know that you’re just turned twenty-six now, but if you’re thinking of ever having children of your own – don’t leave it too late.’
‘Mum!!’ Mel said, ‘We’ve only just starting dating.’
‘I know, love,’ her mum said, ‘but it’s time I had some grandchildren to watch growing up.’
‘There’s no rush, Mum,’ Mel countered, ‘Anyway, it’ll be years before you retire. I think that you’re just trying to ensure that you’ll still have kids wanting to enrol at your school before you finish.’
Shortly afterwards, Mel bade everyone goodnight while she retired to her room to work on her photos from the day. She was starting to build up a nice portfolio for stock photos, magazine submissions, and online sales of framed and unframed images. On top of all that, she hoped that she’d soon have a worthwhile couple of collections to exhibit and she hoped for some new shots to submit for competitions.
An evening at the pub
Mel and Jamie had gone to the pub to meet Stacy and Connor for a drink together. They were first to arrive. As they got out of his car, he mentioned to her a couple of cottages that seemed to be available with pretty walks and views. He offered her a choice of seaside, mountains, lakes or streams.
‘Walks?’ she said, ‘Walks? What am I all of a sudden? A fellow rambler or a lover? I hadn’t intended to leave our room apart from meals – and then only if there’s no room service.’
She could see the shock in his face. She matched his expression with her own mock shock.
‘The intention,’ she reminded him, ‘was for me to find out if you’re any good in bed, but if you don’t have the stamina, let’s call it off now.’
He obviously didn’t know how to respond.
‘You’re no fun, Jamie,’ she said, laughing, ‘you have no idea how to take my jokes.’
She pulled him to her and hugged him, telling him that she liked his credible nature.
She asked whether he’d brought any leaflets, and they were still discussing them over a drink at a table for four when Stacy and Connor arrived.
Stacy joined them while Connor went to the bar. Once she was seated, Mel pulled Jamie’s leg, telling Stacy about his suggestion of walks during their weekend. Stacy suggested that such an idea was probably an arrestable offence.
Jamie felt that his world was being turned upside down, but he liked it.
I continue with another of the architecture shots that I took on my afternoon in Liverpool a few weeks ago. Today’s image is one that I shot at Canning Dock adjacent to the Royal Albert Dock area. Two modern buildings in the foreground flank views towards the older Three Graces with a clock tower of the Liver Building topped with one of the Liver Birds.
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 1/200 secs @ f/8 and 31 mm.