Thank you and goodbye

To all those who have liked, followed – and especially to those, if any who have actually read any of the story of Melissa and Jamie – thank you.

The final episode was posted last night, but it was also my final post of this Blog. I’m allowing my 12 months subscription to expire when it ends on 14 August. It was started as a response to Covid and I don’t think that there have been more than two days on which I have not posted something.

The need for the Blog has run its course, summer has come and the time to enjoy life outdoor with my camera.

So, as the post title says, Thank you and Goodbye.

My final featured photo is of a field of lavender. I took the shot last weekend with my Pentax K-1 full frame camera using a 15-30 mm f/2.8 lens at an ISO of 100. The shutter speed was 1/500 secs @ f/11 and 15 mm.

Please mind the gap!

OK, as I said, I peeked. I believe that there’s a saying that those who peek through keyholes never see what they want to see. A critical review of my draft showed that there were parts from which living individuals could be identified. Apart from a breach of GDPR that kind of thing doesn’t make for lasting friendships or relationships.

The first thing I thought was, “Perhaps I could simply prune those bits out”. Further examination suggested that such action would cause mortal damage to the patient and unfillable gaps. Do you see a possible link with today’s featured photo?

I shot this image in December 2016 with my now defunct Pentax K50, using an 18-55 mm f/3.5-5.6 kit lens at 37.5 mm and f/11. The ISO was 400 and the shutter speed was 1/400 seconds. The photograph is of the Mersey Gateway crossing from Widnes to Runcorn as it was in the early stages of construction.

After due deliberation, as they say, I decided to start again – almost from the beginning. I’ve retained the names of a few of the previous characters – though they’ve aged a bit, and their relationships are different. I’ve also kept the fictional town of Codmanton and its geography. Other than that, the plot is totally different. I’ve produced new timelines to check that they will have aged correctly – not suddenly appearing to be ten years older or similar. I then constructed a chapter timeline to lay down who gets married to whom and when; at what age children are born; and a skeleton of their academic and career progress. The chart ends with who divorces whom and when. All that I need to do now is to add 40,000 words or more of flesh, muscle and bone to to the skeleton, so as to create something worth reading. At close of play today, I am 2,000 words into the creation stage of the game. Once written and proofread, it will then be for others to judge its readability.

A meeting of minds

Today’s photograph was taken in our garden on April 24th this year, and is of White Clematis flowers with yellow centres . What I have been writing about today has been a meeting between Sandra and Gareth set on April 23rd 2005, so they could have seen blossom like this as he showed her around his garden.

I took the photo using my Pentax KP cropped sensor camera coupled with a Sigma 70mm f/2.8 macro lens at ISO 100 and shutter speed of 1/5000 seconds. The camera was mounted on a tripod.

Today I have written a further 3,000 words, taking me to slightly more than 20,000 words so far – about a third of the total length of my first book. Most of what I have been describing today has been this second meeting for conversation. I confess that events are occurring much earlier than I had anticipated, and this worries me because I still have no idea how I will create romance for two late middle-aged people out of friendship. They are both intelligent, settled in their independence and neither has been actively seeking love.

Relations between the two have now, however, pretty well defrosted. At the previous weekly dance, Gareth had been absent at a Parents’ Evening at the school where he teaches. When the MC announced details of a forthcoming day trip, Sandra had asked him whether Gareth would be going and, only then booked her place. As she walked away, he pondered the significance of this and mentioned it to his wife – who had noticed Gareth’s car parked outside Sandra’s house when they’d had their first meeting. When they next meet, she has parked her car outside his house and is seen leaving by a different neighbour, who has heard rumours on the grapevine about their unexpected relationship.

The meeting today has been lively but strictly romance free, having ranged across areas such as evolution, fate, ethics and the role, if any, of mankind in the universe. Hardly Mills and Boon stuff. They end their discussion walking in his garden and, in the garden, he claims the first waltz with her at that evening’s monthly social dance. They will be unaware of how closely they are being watched.

Not everything is Black and White

The title of today’s blog was inspired by photographs I looked at on the Blog of BlackandWhite1987. The relevance of the photograph being also in black and white is the discussion I created today between my two lead characters in A New Tangled Tango.

Gareth, you may remember has been facing a crisis of faith, Sandra is an avowed atheist. For some time they have been verbal sparring partners – Sandra usually kicks things off by her jibes about Christian attitudes. In a previous chapter I had Gareth telling Sandra that their views were probably not as far apart as she imagined, and had suggested that they meet up sometime to see if they could agree about their differences.

In the 3,000 words I’ve written today – yes it took so much – firstly they agree at the weekly dance to meet at her house and talk, over tea and cakes. The bulk of what I’ve written though – four sides of A4 – has been devoted to the discussion they had – by the end of which they were nearer to agreeing that – as my heading says – not everything is black and white.

I chose this particular black and white image because of the symbolism of a bridge between a faith symbol – St Paul’s Cathedral, London – and London’s secular South Bank.

I took this photograph at night, early in January this year, with my Pentax full frame 36 MP camera, using a 24-70mm f/2.8 lens at a focal length of 30 mm. The ISO was 100, the aperture was f/7.1and the shutter speed 30 seconds.

Thank you to those who liked yesterday’s post – DirtySciFiBuddha, Cait, BlackandWhite1987, TheTravellothoner and JohnWreford. I was really moved reading part of John’s blog about the situation in Syrian refugee camps.

A temporary truce and Terms of Surrender

In my last post I mentioned that Gareth would need to begin a process of surrendering his pride, seeking to offer reparation – even to the point of eating humble pie to his son and his ex-wife.

The featured photo today was taken the day before Remembrance Sunday in November, 2018. Two officers of opposing armies during World War One shake hands during a temporary truce on the occasion of a Christmas football match. The handshake is depicted above a football. Someone has planted a cross bearing a poppy in front of the ball. The backdrop is the ruins of the bombed-out church of St Luke’s, Liverpool.

After the second World War ended, in popular understanding in 1945, the actual agreement of the terms of surrender and the formal end to war with Germany went through several stages until a 1951 agreement between most Western countries.

Today’s photo was taken with my former Pentax K3ii 24MP cropped sensor camera using an 16-85mm lens at 26mm. The camera settings were ISO 100, aperture f/4, and shutter speed 1/20 seconds. I used a tripod.

Since my last post I have managed to type a further 2,000 words: Gareth’s son, Peter, has telephoned Marjorie – his mother and Gareth’s ex wife – and has passed on the substance of his previous night’s telephone discussion with his Dad. Marjorie is reluctant to make a decision without consulting her new partner, Julian. They have a lengthy conversation during which they agree that Marjorie should arrange a face to face meeting with Gareth. They agree a set of terms to propose to him. Afterwards, she telephones Gareth and lays down these ground rules – to which he agrees.

Considering that I started the day wondering what I was going to write about I’m quite pleased – even though this takes me no further towards a planned denouement. Will Gareth and his ex-wife somehow kiss and make up? Will Gareth somehow finish up winning Sandra’s love? Should I introduce a different love interest into the mix? – perhaps a newcomer to the weekly dance – or could such a person be a catalyst to inflame a reaction from Sandra or Marjorie? Finally, in my desperation, will Gareth, as a teacher, be revealed as sexually grooming a sixth-form pupil – his depraved plans being unmasked by the joint efforts of Marjorie and Sandra? The mind boggles.