By “The Photographer’s Assistant”
The Photographer has, in his time, designed tractors, a little known item in his life history. The young man with a trailer full of logs for the winter looked uncomfortable with the small Devon gap in front of him. The Photographer looked totally unfazed, The Assistant hid in terror, but all she could hear was loud patient instructions. The young man emerged from the dump point impressed with his own performance. Objective achieved. Logs in for the winter, two large piles to be put in a shelter. The boyfriend came around and pounded away at his skill with construction and the Photographer was now the Assistant. Objective achieved. A small shelter erected for the logs. (editor’s note…..it’s a cathedral to sustainable fuel!)
Only that week, The Photographer and his Assistant had struggled against the wind into the little town, which was now having summer blown out of its sails. Breakfast was taken at the Deli and winter plans discussed. Seeds had already disappeared from the ironmongers, where autumn supplies were arriving. This meant that they would have to pour over catalogues, cutting through some wonderfully colourful descriptions of very ordinary vegetables. A runner bean is a runner bean, it really doesn’t need to be named after an English princess, whatever it’s performance!
At the vegetable shop, there was a slight pause in the weather. There were the last of the English plums, and raspberries had been reduced. The Assistant joined a retired priest in choosing what to have. The priest had been a good priest and a popular one. He was very self effacing. In his company, the Assistant felt overly bumptious. The priest looked a little cold, despite his coat and could not decide between raspberries and plums. The Assistant had decided on both plus some spring onions. She felt outrageously extravagant as the priest departed with a small bag of plums. He had wanted just a small piece of autumn before it all disappeared.
Dartmoor was giving notice. The weather could and did do whatever it felt like. The wind blew and the rain came in torrents. Time and time again, the Photographer put a sock inside the bedroom door to stop it rattling. Now, only brave tourists were to be seen. The late September Monday saw visitors heading for the M5, as businesses prepared for the loss of income. The little town could have featured in a western with only the strong and experienced carrying on. Roadside signs swung in the breeze and the swimming pool shut at the end of the season. In the Photographer’s garden, the Assistant decided that enough was enough and up came the pumpkins to ripen in the conservatory. The Assistant had torn into the garden. While the Photographer divided plants that were too tough for her to handle, she pulled up dead vegetables and piles of weeds.
Inside the house, the Assistant began to think about what to do with the apples, which were now cascading off the trees. She looked in despair at the pantry, normally so well stocked and took time out to make lists. All would now have to be planned for. If she was careful, she could take time over restocking for the winter. The lists would be endless. This year, she would take account of being a little frailer and plan for not going to the little town if it snowed. Long, long lists would be made. There would be extra firelighters, tins, bottles, packets. If the electricity went down, there would be no water as their pump would stop, so larger containers would have to be bought. There would be no opening a freezer unless they could borrow a genny to run it. The kitchen range would begin to die, so camping gas stocks must be checked ———————
Amidst all of this though, the sky was suddenly, a wonderful blue and a buzzard mewed above. The sky was so clear that you could look at it forever and it would drink you up in its glory.
The Daughter continues her gallant work for Oxfam with Oxjam to take place in Exeter. There are now over seventy music groups involved and you can find details and book on : Oxjam Exeter Takeover
Don’t forget to watch Exeter’s World Cup Matches at Northern Hay on the big screen, or just go to the little town and have a pint with it. It’s all happening out here in the west!!