I asked her "What should I photograph tomorrow?"
I had expected a request for something easy. Something that I might possibly see when out and snap a picture of. Something to look out for.
She said, "A real life unicorn. With wings."
Not just a real life unicorn. Oh no. That would have been hard enough. But one with wings. And that kind are even rarer than the unicorns without wings.
Nevertheless I accepted the challenge and went out the next morning determined to achieve success.
I wandered the streets of Newcastle city centre. And wandered more. I knew that somewhere, once, I had seen a picture of a unicorn on a lamp post. Maybe it would have wings. Whether it would qualify as real life or not was another matter. It certainly wasn't ideal. But it might have to do. I hunted. But couldn't find that unicorn again no matter how I tried. Maybe it had retreated back into legend.
I decided that I might find a unicorn dwelling in a particular building. I should hunt there. But there was no unicorn. There was a piece of collaborative art I contributed to, still on a wall. There was a mental health organisation that runs courses and has all kinds of groups. And I signed up for an induction into that - something which I've wondered about doing for the past year. And there was this gadget.
Okay. So it's not a unicorn. There's no way that anyone would ever mistake it for a unicorn. And it hasn't got wings. But it's a gadget and it's of interest.
I left the building knowing that I would return. Knowing, in fact, that I would be returning there several times in the following week and could easily find reasons to return there more.
I was dejected. I hadn't found a unicorn. I wandered the streets again. Sad because I wasn't able to meet the photographic challenge.
And then, joy of joys, I spotted a unicorn. A real unicorn. Or at least a real toy unicorn.
But he didn't have wings. This unicorn didn't meet the challenge.
There was only one things for it and I formed a cunning plan in my mind. [Honesty time: I formed the plan the previous night as a fallback solution.]
I would just have to take one of my real life (toy) unicorn friends at home and photograph that.
And since none of my unicorn friends have wings I would just have to work some magic, call out some enchantments, and use sorcery [and some card and some pens] to create out of thin air a pair of wings.
Pretty soon I had sweated over some dangerous ritual magic [involving marker pens and a pair of scissors] and before me sat the most wonderful winged unicorn.
Then Blob Thing and Winefride appeared and Winefride got very excited. Blob said he thought that his sister wanted to ride on top of the winged unicorn.
So she climbed on. The unicorn seemed happy about that too. I fixed her securely with her safety reins [and some unfolded paperclips] and she was ready to go.
They took off and the unicorn flew round and round the room. It was lucky that the window was closed because otherwise it might have flown away entirely and I might never have seen Winefride again. The unicorn was joyous at its new freedom.
I took lots of photos and Winefride was having such a lot of fun.
She was making such happy noises that I had to make videos too. Here's one of them - I hope it works okay, otherwise I'll have to add it in some other way. I might have to add a flying unicorn to YouTube and add to the range of videos nobody will ever see. My first ever YouTube video.
Pretty soon it was time to stop and the unicorn was getting tired. He landed safely and smiled the biggest smile he's ever seen.
I think Winefride wants to ride on the unicorn again sometime.
So I succeeded in my photographic challenge.
And the challenger was suitably impressed and laughed a lot.
Her laughter made my efforts worth everything.