In the end, they decided to put the papers into a folder for another day and they went out for a meal together to prepare their spirits for the more immediate challenge of the week ahead.
Cathy would be spending Sunday with Barbara and Emily and he would be staying at his house catching up on a pile of school-related paperwork.
They arranged that Steve would phone her on Sunday evening.
Tuesday 17th May Day 1 of the Primary School Visits
The town’s Comprehensive school was quite unlike the smaller, modern, single- storey primary-school which always had its windows decorated with brightly-coloured examples of the children’s work. By contrast, the secondary site was a urn-of-the-century, two storey former Grammar-School building. It was an imposing structure and was surrounded by gardens , a refectory and playing fields set out for rugby, cricket and athletics activities. From two tall sets of gateposts at either end of the school, hung gates that guarded the wide driveways that led to the large car park at the front of the building.
Things had worked out very much as Cathy and Steve had expected and discussed the previous evening. Groups of Top-Junior pupils from primary schools in the area would be brought by buses with their teachers. A different group from each school would come each day from Tuesday to Thursday inclusive. They would be spending most of these days being taken around the school, visiting different classrooms and meeting subject-teachers. They would see the various facilities such as lockers, cycle storage and where they would take meals. At the end of each day, the group would assemble in the Hall and be addressed by the Headteacher. It was at this point in the day, more than any other, that Marjorie’s plan necessitated her managing to sit next to Steve. He was equally keen to enable her to think that her plan was succeeding.
The Headteacher had unknowingly made the entire process easier by requesting that some Junior-School teacher-assistants should sit at the ends of the front rows in the Assembly Hall, while the remaining teachers, from both schools, sat further back, socialising – nominally to exchange views about how the process could be improved and to lead to better inter-school relations.
It was almost as though they had made a beeline for each other, yet each had managed to do so without it seeming too obvious. As they’d sat down, Marjorie had opened proceedings by asking him whether he’d told Cathy about the Sunday-morning coffee-meeting. From there it had been a simple matter of her saying how nice it had been to have got the apology out of the way so that they could be on normal speaking terms. She spoke of friends who, having been divorced or separated from each other were now best of friends.
On one occasion she had dropped her notepad, hoping that he might pick it up: he had – gallant to the last. As he returned it, she made sure that their hands touched. As she prepared to get onto the bus, she turned, touched his arm and said how nice it had been talking to him – and that, perhaps they could do it again on Wednesday. She had started to accustomise him to these small, but intimate gestures.
She had been sure to invite him to walk down to the gate with her and her pupils where they would get on the bus.
This stage of the story involves two schools and two teachers – a primary school whose pupils Marjorie accompanies and the secondary school where Steve teaches. To present the story photographically, I’m limited to exterior shots, but it seemed logical to think of the movement being from the primary school, so that’s how I’ve opened the scene today. It’s also how I’ll treat any remaining visits. The Photo of the Day is of a secondary school that is similar to that in the story.
EXIF data were: Fujifilm X-T4 26 MP cropped-sensor mirrorless camera with a Fujinon XF 10-24 mm f/4 lens. 1/40 secs @ f/5.6 and 24 mm. ISO was 160.