Having been promised rain all day today the weather was kind to us and turned out much brighter than yesterday. We therefore had a good morning’s planting. This was a welcome change for me, having spent a year preparing soil by digging, weeding, and composting. This seemed much the lighter option.
Jackie, Elizabeth and I went to buy Mum’s shopping and take it round to her, after which we paid a visit to Jessop’s. It is so different now than in the days of my youth when no shops and very little else were open on Sundays. As a child I could never go down the road for a loaf of bread. We had to plan ahead and there was no room for impulse purchases let alone cameras. Yesterday we had discussed the purchase of a camera but had not wanted to stop the gardening as we had expected rain today. ‘No problem. Jessops will be open tomorrow,’ was the solution.
I have been a keen photographer all my life, but have stubbornly insisted on using film. I have a very good Canon and an even better Leica and will continue to choose colour slides and negative film for my main work, unless of course the experience I have sought today convinces me otherwise. Over the last few years I have been working my way through thousands of slides and negatives from as far back as 1963; scanning them with an Epson; giving them the Photoshop treatment; and printing them on my Canon printer. I’d never really need to take another photograph. Rather like I’d never need to buy another book.
Unbeknown to him it is my friend Dominic who is the reason for the Jessop’s trip. Having read a number of my posts he was complimentary but said he thought they could be enhanced by photographs. Because of their purpose these pictures should be as instant as possible, making a move to a digital camera inevitable. Yesterday I asked Elizabeth to photograph the rose arch mentioned in that day’s post, so that I could start the requisite illustrations. Jackie then offered to buy me a digital camera for my birthday. I snapped up the chance. I am adding two pictures to yesterday’s publication.
Let us return to the trip to purchase the camera, which we had thought would only take a matter of minutes. First we had to choose. I’d gone in with two recommendations which narrowed the field somewhat. I thought I’d best tell the assistant something about me, primarily that I’d never used digital equipment, but also what I did do. He was somewhat surprised. Then there was the consideration of all the different features, most of which I didn’t understand. Then there were all Elizabeth’s more experienced and informed questions, most of which I didn’t understand. Eventually I told the young man he obviously knew what he was doing and I would therefore like to know which he would choose. He acknowledged a bias, and, indeed Elizabeth pointed out that he was sporting a Canon logo on his t-shirt, yet chose an updated version of the very same camera I had helped Elizabeth choose two years ago. That was good enough for me.
Unfortunately the business of paying was even more prolonged. Firstly, the only example of the specific camera that they had in the shop was the display model. I asked for a discount on that. The manager said it was not possible, but I could have some free printing. As I’d already explained that I only wanted the camera to illustrate my blog I said this would not be of any use to me. After a lengthy discussion involving the assistant toing and froing between me and the manager we were awarded a reasonable discount. By this time, Jackie, whose patience had worn thin during the choosing process, was pacing the store like a caged tigress. The first indication we had had of this was when she rushed around the shop pointing in turn to each camera in a row saying: ‘Would you like a black one, a red one, a pink one, a blue one……’ I was then asked for my e-mail address ‘in order to activate the discount’. I was just about to give it when I thought I’d better mention that Jackie was paying for it so perhaps it would be her address they’d like. This was indeed the case so we had to interrupt her march for a time. Three or four trips were made by our friend in the Canon T-shirt to other parts of the store through a private door, it seems to collect bits that went with the camera. Jackie continued her pacing. The display camera had to be unscrewed from it’s stand, which set off the alarm. Jackie was unperturbed.
Finally we arrived at the till. Unfortunately the till’s computer was not speaking to the salesman’s computer so the discount had not been applied. By this time our friend had gone off to advise someone else what they should buy. Jackie went off for a pace whilst I called our original salesperson back. He had to involve the manager who managed to unlock the problem and asked us if we’d like to purchase a second memory card at half price. Even if I thought 1000 pictures on the one card I had would be enough he wondered had we thought what a good Christmas present it might make someone. By this point Jackie was waving her card around with a wild expression in her eyes. I do believe she would have said yes to anything. I’m sure I caught the word ‘Whatever’.
Having taken the least line of resistance we agreed to the additional purchase. The manager went away happily totting up his commission. The check-out girl amended the entry in the computer and Jackie almost relaxed. The bill was presented. Unfortunately it was £20 more than it should have been. This just happened to be half the price of an additional card. I asked the young woman if this could be the problem. She looked at her screen and denied the possibility. The manager was sent for. Jackie almost wilted. The manager took his time. I walked round and looked over the young lady’s shoulder. I was right, the second card had not been reduced by 50%. By this time even I slapped the desk as I said: ‘OK. Take off the second card. We don’t want it.’ Our friend Shannon (by now we knew her name), looking very relieved, took the card out of the equation just as her boss arrived. He looked somewhat disappointed. Perhaps he was just mentally reducing his commission.
Thank you Dominic.
Back at Elizabeth’s, after a later than expected salad lunch, Jackie was let off the leash to get back to her planting. My contribution was a very little more ground preparation.
Before Elizabeth’s chili con carne meal with red wine, I helped Danni go over a teaching session she was planning for a course in which she is participating. I’m proud of her already, but this, in my view, simply confirmed her abilities.
And so to Links Avenue and bed.