By “The Photographer’s Assistant”
“According to our records you have had an accident within the last two years———-“
The Photographer and the Assistant lay the “Pay as you go” mobile on the bed while they eat their breakfast with it rambling on in the background. It is a lovely morning outside and they were just thinking of turning the Today programme off in order to listen to the birds. The Assistant, as you know has a new little car, which goes out about twice a week and never very far. She has not had an accident for years.
Recently the Assistant was engaged on a domestic chore when her mobile phone rang again. It was her poor mobile provider, who yet again, wanted her to take a contract out. The chaps who ring have no idea at all as to what a mobile phone means to many, but not all pensioners. It is an emergency phone for when one is out and a phone for much loved people, in the Assistants case, she only communicates with the Daughter, the Boyfriend and it is used as a means to ring the Photographer, when he is gardening in the remote garden, usually to let him know that a friend has rung the house or that his dinner is ready. That is it. It may be a large mistake that she is not attached to the phone for any other purpose, but she and her phone get along just fine. Her average monthly bill is about £2.50. The man from the big phone company can never get his head around that. She always tells him quite truthfully that most of her friends live in the hamlet or in the little town. Otherwise she uses e-mail, on which you can ramble on for ever. I don’t go to many meetings. Nothing much urgent happens. Other people have more complex lives and need to continually adjust stuff with one another and they need a mobile internet facility, but this is just how it is for the Photographer and his Assistant. Living in a rural community, where you see everyone is great.
It is a bright sunny day. The Daughter pulls up outside. She has determined on taking her mother out. Mother is excited. It is a while since she has been to the big city of Exeter. Further more, the daughter now has a fun vehicle. Since the terrible incident, when her BMW was written off while she was asleep, she has taken cars less seriously, and on a trip to see the Boyfriends son, she has acquired a car that is simply terrific. It is a bright red mini soft top. The top goes up and down in seconds. It is definitely a fun vehicle. The two are determined on a good day out. They buzz along the A30 with the wind in their hair, putting on a glamorous dash to the city.
The Daughter has a small bit of business to complete in a bank. The Assistant, who internet banks with a building society, has not been inside a city bank for years. She is feeling beyond her comfort zone. Everyone is queuing, of course and everyone is being processed like an entity of no importance. There are simply too many people. It is half term. Children race around having fun in a big building. Did nobody think? Increase your staff at half term. Aren’t people fed up enough with banks without them simply not bothering. Clearly there is a marketing element to the bank, which is trying to counter all of this, but it simply adds to the bizarre element of the situation. Straight out of Orwell’s 1984, screens are up behind the tellers, announcing what the weather will be like in Exeter today. It is obviously a lovely day. The screens give out all sorts of irrelevant information, and what about that bizarre and new addition to your shopping experience, the phrase, “Have a nice day”. It is clearly a corporate addition which can’t possibly be meant! It is usually addressed to your forehead or the floor. It really doesn’t fit!
The two have determined for a long time that the little town shopping experience is a delight beside this corporate jungle. The Daughter helps her mother to chose some new sun glasses. Mother does not want posh, just a set of shades. The corporate buy. They quickly purchase a pair and depart without looking at anything else. The Daughter uses internet or little town shops for nearly everything in her life. Shops have ceased to charm her. There is, however, one very large department store that does grab their attention. It is cool and airy. It has a pleasant atmosphere. They have a look among the kitchen and household departments. The Daughter is enchanted by an expresso machine, in fact, there are so many, it is difficult to chose which to save up for. Equally, vacuum cleaners, which move about on their own, are examined in detail.Televisions with semi circular screens are utterly fascinating. The two are like two primitives. They have never seen any of this stuff in the flesh and are amazed!
Lunch is taken in the sunshine, and they chose a meal that is not available in the little town. With only one large store visited, leisure becomes the theme of the day. Sitting about the Cathedral piazza is a favourite. Coffee is taken in the large department store. Its food is very sugary or very fatty and it really is different from the little towns wholemeal approach to food at the organic cafe. The Courtyard cafe in the little town has received a very high gold award for its food. It punches way above its weight and they are proud to be customers. The two decide upon a large cappuccino, which is taken on the roof terrace in the sunshine. The view is to die for. You can see right out to the estuary, the cathedral and the whole picture of a city fitting into its skin.
The two have had a good day out together. They have been to two shops and possibly decided to buy a couple of modern waste bins for their kitchens, which will be done on the internet. They are full of wonder at what is out there, but they don’t really need any of it. They are just too used to small town living, where make do and mend is simply fine. On their way home they pass through a temperature barrier. The Moor is 10 C below the city temperature. What a contrast! In every way.
The next day, the Daughter, who is working from home, runs out of a lunch. She opens her gate, walks through the church yard, and enters the Deli. She is welcomed by Catherine and they have a nice local conversation before the daughter returns home and continues her work, eating a piece of delicious quiche freshly made and so nourishing to tummy, heart and soul. She loves living and shopping in the little town. We all do. We feel blessed and fortunate.
God bless you wherever you are. May your God go with you.
DON’T FORGET, IF YOU ARE NEAR “THE LITTLE TOWN” ON ANY SUNDAY AFTERNOON UNTIL END OF SEPTEMBER THAT DELICIOUS HOME MADE CAKE AND TEA IS SERVED AT THE WONDERFUL GIDLEIGH CHURCH