By The Photographer’s Assistant
The Photographer stood in the queue at the Post Office. He was in the small town next to his Little Town. This town had managed to keep its Post Office. It had everything you could need in such a place. There were beautiful and witty cards, pens to write with and everything required to make postal communication easy. There was even a special place to write letters and cards. The Photographer had chosen a small Jiffy bag and was pleased with it. God, literally, knew where his The Assistant had got to. He simply didn’t know where she had strayed off to. What could he say? It was January. For the past large number of decades, she had never been quite right in January. It was the eighth day of the month, so there was a long way to go before his purgatory would be over. He sighed. This was a case in point. He had spotted this charming little woolly hat at Solva Woollen mill in October. It had lovely sheep around the edge and a little liner so that it wouldn’t irritate the delicate and tiny head of their great nephew. It was now freezing cold outside and there had been no sign of the hat moving out of the Assistant’s study. It must be posted. The poor little chap lived in Derbyshire. Goodness knows how cold it was there! He would look so smart in it! It was incredible! But The Assistant could just drift along! Where had she gone now?
The Photographer left the Post Office, and strolled nonchalantly up past the shops. There she was, clutching Special Offer toilet rolls in the Co-op without a care in the world.
As she was one of the world’s most irrational drivers, he had decided it would be best for him to drive her to the dentist in Newton Abbot. The time seemed to mean nothing. He made a grab for her and the toilet rolls and installed them both in the car. He sighed. He felt fortunate that the road was quite clear of traffic and the Big Beast did its thing and got them there with time to spare. This was the problem. She was now in full flow inside B & Q, where numerous pots were being transferred to a basket. If he wasn’t careful and able to catch up, he would be left behind with an enormous bill.
Fortunately, time had caught up with them and he was able to whisk her at the Dentist’s and return to the store for serious research.
It was strange and deeply suspicious that anyone should be so cheerful on attending the dentist’s waiting corridor. She had been humming along. It was odd. He returned to his spend prevention programme. Meanwhile the Assistant was inside sitting in the corridor on a plastic chair waiting to be called. Dreaming of private dentistry while the Photographer was busy, she waited to be seen. With any luck, her treatment would not be approved of by the Photographer and she could sign up, and avoid all this dreariness, by going to the Little Town dentist, where you could read posh magazines. She dreamt of watching those lovely videos of one of the Dimbleby brothers , walking around large Scottish estates with Prince Charles. She loved the Crown series and quite fancied the life of a royal. Indeed, when her mother in law had grown old, she had been visited by the dentist in her own home. Imagine that! No driving or using the jolly old bus pass! She had been so far away that she was shocked to find herself in the dentist’s surgery. A charming man was holding a conversation with her. He was foreign and very good looking and had been clearly practising his British conversation skills about the weather. The young woman dentist, however, was having none of this nonsense. She stared into the wizened mouth of the victim. She stood up and sighed. “So, how much coffee?” She looked ready to deliver a good telling off. “ How much wine?” She looked sceptically down at the patient. The patient thought it best to lie. “ I see!” The dentist gave her Assistant a knowing look. “ We shall have some X rays.” The victim got the all clear and was grateful to step outside. Perhaps the X rays would be expensive, but not so. Twenty pounds and a few odd pennies was all that was required. The Photographer was delighted. “She had your number then”, he said as he ushered her into the car. Prince Philip and Gordonstone came to mind as the Assistant was driven home via a strictly controlled visit to Ben’s Farm shop at Riverford. The Photographer had a lot of paint to pay for and had no time for grand culinary ideas.
January, it seemed to the Photographer, might never come to an end. The Assistant was always overly excited about Christmas and incredibly bored after the event. Only a week or so ago, the Assistant had invited one of her best female friends around for the day. He had been able to retreat to pile up wood for the coming dreadful weather. The Assistant was excited about her friends arrival. She had a special chicken dinner in and was planning to play a new game with her.
The Photographer stood aside as the friend waved her chauffeur away. She came in and displaying her special silk coat, delicate nails and trendy heart shaped collar, demanded early morning coffee with Winalot Biscuits. She fixed the Photographer with a withering look. How poorly he had built this fire! How cold it was in this room today. She gave the Assistant a sympathetic look. She, of course, had her people well organised. As soon as one of her servants sat down, she had them up again. The Photographer felt threatened by so much feminine talk and downed his coffee in one and was gone. The four pawed friend spent the entire day cuddling the AGA and the log burner in turn while lecturing the Assistant about turning her life around. Surely, a man like the Photographer must recognise a girl’s need for treats in a depressing month like January? She had her people constantly topping up the fire, and feeding her with bits of chicken and light luxury snacks. A girl needs pampering, especially as her age begins to tell. The two spent the whole day telling one another how important they each were. Eventually, the dog’s people turned up to collect her and she was having no waiting about, not when a champagne tea was waiting for her. The Photographer fitted the dog’s delicate model like body into the car and waved with relief at her departure. The Daughter, who was one of the servants and the dog’s “owner” looked apologetically at her father as she raced to chauffeur the dog home.
Last Wednesday, there had been a foursome at the Three Crowns. The Assistant’s favourite coffee shop was shut, and it was too cold to sit outside Blacks so luxury coffee and cake was being taken. The four friends were pleased to see one another and the Photographer had been pleased to see his friend after a while. Christmas always seemed to disrupt the flow of Moorland friendships. Lots of Moorlanders spent a happy time away with friends and relatives. Sometimes, friends came to the Moor and enjoyed the wonderful fresh air. Only that morning the Assistant had heard someone’s visiting sister being introduced to a friend. The foursome were enjoying their conversation when the subject of holidays arose. The Photographer, who had a particularly busy year ahead of him, mostly consisting of special projects thought up by the Assistant, was disturbed to hear the Assistants plans. It was true that their journeys might not start until September, the Assistant thought, but a whole month would be required for what she had in mind. The Daughter had suggested that they start a journey to Scotland with passing through the Peak District, one of her mother’s favourites, after all mum did so love Chatsworth and rarely took breakfast elsewhere when she was there. The Photographer made a mental note to censor his daughter when next he saw her. The Assistant continued with her plans. They would go on to Northumbria. She had loved Robson Green’s account of the delights of his home county and they would certainly have to visit Lindisfarne to see its famous bible, though that would not be for long as the daughter had said it would be a little too cold for her. Onwards then, into Scotland, where they would travel on up to the West coast and enjoy the wild life. Of course, the Photographer would take her to her favourite island hotel and wine and dine her. Sharon’s place on the Welsh border would be a good rest on the way home The Photographer felt for his wallet and let out a sigh. The friends were silent. This was probably all the Assistant’s fancy. The Photographer knew it was not. His entire plan for the year was to get his motor bike back on the road before his knees gave in entirely. He thought that rather than have a coffee with his cake, he might have a stiff whisky. She had been talking about making more plans later along with some of John H’s home made wine. He had better hide the bottle, or he would completely lose control of the situation!
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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