By the Photographer’s Assistant
It was the first day of September. The Photographer stood outside his workshop surveying the Assistant at work. She was in the garden stream with a fork and her own small pair of gloves. He had had to buy so many gloves! She was totally absorbed. This was not good. Could it be that after all her promises, she actually had Mother of the Bride Syndrome. She had been very tense and the very mention of the wedding produced a stream of babble. How to cope? He was taking her home to Wales, to border country soon. Would this work? He was certainly taking her away after the wedding. The thing was you had to quietly say and she had to admit it, that her practical side as regards arranging anything, was missing. In the scheme of things, she managed life by racing around and not being caught. All this brought to mind, his first meeting with her.
The Photographer met the Assistant a very long time ago, around 47 years ago. From a distance, she had had a reputation for running. There had been various events that had not helped the reputation. When she lived at home, her mother and father had always covered for her. There seemed to be various boyfriends to be avoided, her mother had estimated a total of three in one week, and once her very liberal father had upbraided a lad for bringing her home late. The worst had been the Runner. He had appeared to be a steadying influence. He seemed to call for her, take her out and was lasting. The problem was that he and most of the runners were sick every time they finished a race. The Assistant really couldn’t take this. She began running. The Runner became a stalker. Running meant that he became a bit of a stalker. He had developed two addictions, the long distant competition, and the daughter. He even took up delivering the post so that he could be near. The mother never knew where her daughter was and the daughter kept running even faster. The daughter now had a broken nose after falling from a dustbin escaping through a toilet window. This is still prominent on her friends wedding photo, where the bridesmaid’s broken nose was preeminent. In fact, weddings were mounting up. The daughter had attended three in one day and had been mistaken for the bride at a registry office. She had no idea why all these friends wanted to lose their freedom.
Well, now, she was off to an all girl’s teacher training college and academia became a blissful occupation until men arrived to boost numbers in her second year. It was a it of a mixed year. She had become very ill and very tired and lost the lead role on her drama course. Instead of appearing as a beguiling creature, she had a bag placed over her head and became one of the Elements. Her current boyfriend got her best friend pregnant. She was sent on teaching practice to a hell hole in Luton. She was forced into standing for the Student Union Presidency, did no campaigning and still had to face three recounts. There was bitter rancour from her supporters, who were mainly folksy academics. The Assistant had to hide and run for some weeks again. It was at this stage that the Photographer spotted her out and about at, of all places, Cranfield Institute, where he occasionally attended some interesting engineering lectures. He had heard the odd bit about her and he felt sorry. She was very thin and pale. She was wearing an old frock and was having a rest. He thought that he would go and have a chat. She was clearly not up to dancing. She saw him approaching and could not run away. She was a little worried. She had heard that he had a wild reputation. His latest event being his 21st birthday, which had got out of control at his college bar. The staff had been unable to prevent a tractor being parked in the ornamental fountain outside the main entrance. None who had attended could remember anything. So the Assistant was strangely quiet. The Photographer thought that as they were at a loose end, they could go to the Valentines Ball together. After all, she intended going to Canada, and had actually filled the forms in, so there was no harm in it. So that was that. She was dissuaded from going to Canada. Her friends would become very excited every Friday night, when he would ring. She didn’t need to run to the Common Room to answer the phone. There were plenty of women who were ready to do it. He was a dish and he had a wonderful Home Counties accent. They were getting married and he clearly had prospects. The running stopped.
Now, he stood in their garden with what may turn out o be a similar situation if he didn’t gain control. Suddenly she laughed and produced an enormous ball from the stream. It was Zany the dog’s. They sat and looked at autumn and were much cheered. She talked of all the people coming to the wedding. She wasn’t stressed. She was excited and he could become excited too. All these lovely family friends, coming on difficult journeys to get to the West Country. They must be given a nice time. She did think that lots of things about it were fun. For example, here is a picture of their attempts at country style wedding cakes! Let’s hope that Mary Berry isn’t there!
(The aforementioned frock was dyed a dark shade of purple….very 1970s…..the Assistant had dyed it in the College laundrette, but being impractical hadn’t rinsed the washing machine. For months after all the girls had pale purple underwear…….no one ever found the culprit….(The Photographer))
Autumn is a lovely time of year on the Moor. The fields are greening up and the evening’s cool air returns. Evening walks can be taken. The birds are on the wing. The buzzards fly high above the valleys and, in the garden, the heron returns to a small dell in the stream. As it takes off, it is like a
Medieval visitor dominating the sky. Whilst standing at the foot of the garden, a distinctive drone can be heard approaching high in the sky. It is a rare appearance of a Spitfire returning home from an event. The two wave and the Spitfire dips an acknowledgement. What a sight! What a sound!
John has worked hard at delivering the wood and it smells beautiful in the store. There is to be an arts event in the garden. The swimming pool will be open till later in the year as it is now heated and there is the film festival to look forward to.
At this moment, the electricity is down for a six hour revamp of the system. There is a fascinating process taking place outside and much needed work is being done, but no one has water as all the valley’s water is pumped.
The Assistant is eyeing up her maps and the Photographer is tuning up his camera. The boots are to be waterproofed for planned travels
The pears and apples will soon be here.
Here’s wishing you all a very happy Autumn.
Any similarity between characters in this blog and real people, products or events is entirely co-incidental
Any similarity between “The Little Town” and Chagford is entirely deliberate, Click on this link to find out more. Visit Chagford