Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Tuesday 9th March 1937

A sunny morning, but later it became hellish cold. Packman and I arrived in Southend at 11 o’clock. Drove down High Street and saw the sea, and ships. In the distance low land, Kent. The job was to find digs. Packman said “theatrical digs” were best so we went to the nearest theatre, the Regal. I went in the stage door and asked a bloke. “Are ye in the Profession?” he asked. Confessed I wasn’t. “No, business.”
The stage manager Mr Grey, at once took us to his house, nearby: 4, Baltic Avenue. It looked rather chaotic and morning-after. However we took a double-bed-sitting room at 5/- a day.

A cup of coffee at Lyons and then the campaign began. We drove along the Esplanade rather aimlessly, wondering where to begin. Saw a man working on a boat on the sea front. Packman stopped the car and entered into conversation with the man on the boat. When the talk became technical I joined in and found myself talking quite easily about Marine Enamels, Matt finishes for cabins, and filler paste.
He was quite interested and wanted samples. This was our first contact and is therefore historical!

We called haphazardly at several builders’ merchants and ironmongers after this. I was amazed at the easy way Packman got people interested in Paripan without knowing anything about the subject himself. I did one “solo” call which was simple – a stockist ironmonger. The manager was away, ill, and I saw the assistant. At all places we explained that we were here on a survey (“getting the low-down”) and not particularly interested in selling.

Back to our bed sitting room 6p.m. High tea and report writing.

We went to a low class hall to see some wrestling matches. Thrilling. A Roman holiday! The vicious Italian. The overhead crucifix hold. Men crying in pain. Fighting outside the ring. Referee joining in – and the promoter, a little Jew.

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