Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Tuesday 2nd March 1937

I was awakened this morning as usual, by Richard, at 8 o’clock. That was at Ealing Common. I am writing this in a commercial hotel in Birmingham, 120 miles away. The scene has changed!

I arrived at the office at 9:30 and looked through correspondence files in Miss Ewings office. At 12:30, when I was thinking about lunch, I was called to Mr Percy Randall’s office. He instructed me to go to Birmingham and learn selling with the high pressure men who are pushing hard there. (I should perhaps say “here”.) He added that my pay was to be increased to £4 a week and that I was to draw expenses in advance. I cannot express the kind, almost fatherly, nature of the interview. He even reminded me that I could phone him if necessary, during the week. It is so essentially a “decent” firm!

Went home for lunch and to pack. There are various social threads to be gathered up. I phoned John and arranged for him to fix the weekends ramble. I also had to phone HMS President and cancel the appointment re RNVSR. The officer to whom I spoke was very decent. Am to communicate again when I have settled in Essex. “Do you feel quite happy about going?” asked Mr Reddall. So careful of me! Must think I am pretty fragile.

5 p.m. called on Mr Markham at the Sales Promotion office. He told me where I was to meet the high pressure men, in Birmingham, and looked up trains etc. Whilst I was in the office Mr Reddall phoned to ask if I was alright and so forth. “By jove!” said the Sales man “Paripan certainly take care of their envoy”.

I caught the 5:50 train from Euston and arrived Birmingham 7:50. Found “The Bell” without difficulty. Mr Rigg and another “high pressure” man were in the smoke room. We had three drinks. Then was introduced to a third salesman, Mr Whitehead. An elegant young man in a velvet jacket and slippers, with a London accent. Strikingly different to his associates and the obvious “Brum” types around. I was rather relieved. Eventually the landlord brought me along here in his car. (This is known as the Smithfield Hotel; so I gather by the stationary on this desk.)

Whitehead also “tooled along” to see that I was alright. Altogether I have had to use a minimum of self reliance and initiative! Nice people here, typical mid-landers. I.E. simple and direct. A terrific change in environment, with two hours in an express train as the link.

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