Together We Stand – Episode 33

On the pier, Tanni was enjoying herself. The little temporary studio had proved popular from the moment she had set up her equipment.

Even on the windiest of days there were queues of visitors waiting for their photographs to be taken, sitting at the wooden tables in the entrance to the kiosk, where Edith kept them entertained with charm and endless pots of tea and fruitcake.

Not even the presence of Mrs Humphries and her helpers, eagerly handing out leaflets to every passer-by, and engaging anyone who would listen in a discussion of the importance of local politics, was a deterrent.

“They are going to have to reopen the tearooms and the studio at this rate,” she said to Edith, who had been keeping two small children amused while their parents were photographed at the edge of the pier.

“Let’s hope they do,” Edith replied. “You’ve taken so many photographs today and word is spreading. It’s a pity you can’t set up a darkroom here.”

“It would be so much better.” Tanni sighed. “I hate having to go back into the studio at the end of the day.”

“I’ll come down with you, if you like.” Edith smiled. “I’d like to learn how to do this developing of photographs.”

“You’ll be very welcome,” Tanni said, surprised.

Although she was happy to help with the setting up of the scenes and distracting the children, Edith had shown little interest in the process of developing the photographs.

Tanni brushed aside an ungrateful thought that she would be much faster working on her own than with a pupil to teach, but Edith obviously meant well.

“I’ll meet you at the tearooms, then,” Edith said. “My grandfather is expecting me for tea this afternoon, but I shall be able to leave and open up the tearooms with Doctor Humphries, then it will be ready by the time you’ve finished, and you’ll be able to get on with your work without interruption.”

“Thank you,” Tanni replied. “I’ll try not to be long. I’m sure none of us will want to miss Mrs Humphries’s election rally.”

“No, indeed,” Edith said, laughing. “I wouldn’t miss that for the world.”

She nodded towards the entrance to the pier, where Councillor Banks, accompanied by several of his fellow councillors, was making his way towards the little booth.

“It looks like he means business. I’d better escape now if I’m going to meet my grandfather. I’ll see you at the tearooms, Tanni.”

She set off, one hand keeping her hat secure on her head against the gusts of wind, scurrying between the group of approaching men, waving to Henry and Madeleine, who were making their way towards the pier.

“Yes, of course,” Tanni said to a shy enquiry from a young couple. Tanni smiled at the glint of an engagement ring worn slightly self-consciously on the young woman’s finger.

“I’ll be delighted to take a photograph of you with Llandudno behind. You’ll be able to collect the print tomorrow morning.”

“So soon?” the young man exclaimed.

“Oh, yes.” Tanni smiled. “And the photograph itself will only take a few minutes.”

“Well, I never,” he replied. “We’ll be in plenty of time for our trip around Anglesey on the steamer, my dear,” he added in reassuring tones to his fiancée, who was eyeing the camera equipment a little nervously.

Tanni smiled with relief as Madeleine dodged through the crowds and arrived at the little booth to help her.

“Sorry we are late,” she whispered as she helped Tanni with the equipment. “The inspector took longer than we thought.”

“Does he have any idea who might be behind this?”

Madeleine shook her head.

“They really seem to have made very little progress.”

Tanni swallowed her frustration and concentrated on guiding her charges towards the position with the best view of Llandudno, with the mountains of Snowdonia rising up behind.

Abigail Phillips

Abbie is the newest member of the fiction team at the "Friend." She loves how varied the role is - every day is different and there is always a new story to read. She is keen to work closely with established writers and discover new writers, too.