Saturday, October 27, 2007

Wednesday 14th April 1937

A good day’s work in two ways – I worked hard and there were results. Made 13 calls, took three orders. Pretty grim morning; frustration was again the prevailing tone. Took the first order at 2 p.m. – Hadleigh – then had a rapid lunch at a coffee stall. The tenth call was on a Westcliff builder. Have been worrying him for several days regarding U/coat paste. This time he wearily acquiesced when I suggested a demonstration and sent me along to his paint shop. I came back to the office and triumphantly painted the bloody stuff on a black board. He was frightfully busy and did not want any paste, but the sight of me excitedly and enthusiastically splashing paint about the office and on myself ended his resistance. He suddenly grinned and said, “All right then, send 14 lbs.” Like Jimmie Rigg, I immediately shut up and beat it.

Arrived home 6 o’clock to find a letter from a Benfleet decorator. He wanted some Glacier. A hasty tea and then off to Benfleet. 60/- order. Because of the car, it was good fun and not hard work. Got back about 9:15 and just finished my reports in time to catch the post.

Dashed into the Victory Bar just after closing time but Esther very kindly allowed me to have a glass of light ale. Then I decided to relax and go to the sea coast. It was thrilling alone in the darkness. “Wakering” said the sign posts as my head lights swung, or “Foulness”. Impulsively, I took a mysterious road near Wakering Stairs. A red notice said “This road is closed… Superintendent of Experiments… War Department…” I went along a 12 mile limit road – good surface. The road curved, then was straight and flat and deserted. Utterly dark. The mirror above the windscreen was just a black panel. Unusual road signs appeared. 10 mile limit. Then – as if one could go slower! – “Slow. Hump” “Slow. Single line traffic”. There was no other traffic! I crossed a long bridge with a railway track in the middle. Sometimes, dark buildings. Never any lights. “Slow” said the signs. 30 – 40 – 30 swung the needle as the strange road unrolled.Another 10 mile limit sign appeared. “Foulness” I crawled through the village at a silent twenty. A dozen scattered houses. On went the road, narrower and more rough now. A sharp bend, then a farmyard!

On again, until at last a sign sprang out of the darkness ahead as my head lights thrust before me. “Slow. Headway” There was a steep rise beyond. Took the car up cautiously, stopped her on the crest. As I expected, the road became a track which ran across wet sands and out into the sea. The north end of The Broomway.
Drove back recklessly, exultant. 40 – 45 – 40 flickered the needle. Sometimes a sudden swerve as the road swung out of the straight. 45 – 30 – 40.

It was only 11:30p.m. when I reached the lights of Southend! Expected it to be 12:30.


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