Local Postman is a random sod. The post can arrive any time between 8 am and 5 pm, probably depending on how much he had to drink the night before.
My shift work changed midweek, I am now on a 3 pm start rather than horrible morning starts. The afternoon guy is clearing a load of gravel from his front garden and fair enough, having to do that in the morning and then work a six-hour shift would be a bugger. Since I detest the pre-noon hours with a passion, swapping shifts was a mutually beneficial arrangement. It also lets me at the Caol Ila because I have time for the peat-breath to dissipate before starting work. The good whiskies are supplemented tonight with Glen Orchy – I have to make the good stuff last, you know, and once the taste buds are burned, the good stuff would just be wasted.
This new shift pattern, I thought, would help with a little item I had ordered. The Zenit-EM came without a lens cap and I also like to have a skylight filter on every lens. I don’t believe those filters really do much light-related stuff, but if the camera ever gets bashed, a scratched skylight filter costs an awful lot less than a scratched lens. I had ordered a bundle, 52mm skylight and polarising filters, lens cap and lens hood for less than a tenner. So I was expecting a small box of photographic equipment.
Surely Local Postie would manage to get to the house before I left at about 2:30? Not a chance. There was a little card through the door – fortunately the package was at a neighbours’ house so he really had brought it with him this time. A smoking neighbour, a real person, not the Plastic Man next door or Drunken Loonie the other side.
Off I went, expecting maybe a two-inch cube.
Did you ever see that episode of ‘One Foot in the Grave’ where Victor Meldrew is sent a giant plastic bluebottle and has no idea who sent it or why? I have six years to go until pension day and things already happen to me that are as strange, or stranger, than happened to him.
The box was immense and wasn’t delivered by Local Postie at all. It was at the size where the post office would go ‘Ooo, expensive’ but other carriers would deal with no problem. I briefly wondered if I had mistakenly ordered filters and lens cap for a 5.2-metre astronomer’s telescope until I opened it.
It does contain photographic equipment. A Jessop enlarger and lots of accessories! Aside from the film developing tank, the entire darkroom is in there. I am in the photography business once more.
It’s a better enlarger than my old Zenit. This one looks like it means business. The Zenit looked like something patched together by a Russian peasant out of bits that fell off a satellite. It worked well, I’ll give it that, but it wasn’t really what you might call ‘techno’.
The one thing I have not found in the box is who it’s from. This extremely generous benefactor is so far anonymous. Maybe he, she or it wishes to remain so in which case I will respect that.
Or maybe I have not yet found the note among the mass of gear I’m playing with here.
So if it was you. please let me know. I’d like to make sure you get the first copies of Panoptica and Inside Outside, at least – and signed copies of any of my books you don’t have. I only wish I could offer more but I run a tight ship here and it’s all at sea 😉
The attic is the best place for a darkroom. There are no windows and all residual light is easily blocked. There is power up there, my father put it in before he had his over-70 non-age-related-stroke (smoking causes premature ageing but smokers do not age, according to the NHS, and working in coal mines for most of your adult life has no effect on health). The railway is up there too but that is in transition from N to OO and there is plenty more room. Well, if I reorganise the junk, there will be.
Reveal yourself, Darkroom Banksie, and terrible stories will be on their way to disturb your dreams.
It’s the least I can do. Actually, at this stage of Leg-iron finance, it is probably the most I can do…