Saturday, October 27, 2007

Wednesday 21st April 1937

One order today – stock for a new shop, just over £11. This was the first call and lasted about an hour.

Feeling light hearted – it was a sunny morning – I drove to the arterial road and dashed along at 60 some distance. (The bounces at every little bump when travelling so fast.) Saw a small country lane which was nor signposted. I turned down here and wandered along haphazard, making calls at likely places. The lane went to Bowers Gifford and later Vange (a squalid, industrial village; the name symbolises it well).

Then more bye roads which led into hilly country. Bread and ham and cider at a pub, then I descended a steep hill into the town of Laindon. Here I had two long conversations. One with a man in a builder’s yard. He was pleasantly crazy although rather deaf. Unrefined yet very learned, he discoursed on Latin, the fatuity of the Monarchy, the uselessness of “parishing” parsons and finally religion. He rapped out a long list of various things Our Lord said – news to me I must admit – and generally threw a searchlight on theology.

The next call was on the buyer of a firm with half a dozen branches. An acquaintance of Mr Reddall’s, he was interested in paint manufacture and wanted to know all about it. I sat there sometime enthusiastically giving some (non-confidential) details of the works. It was not yet four o’clock so I went over the hills, down a long valley and up again to Horndon on the Hill. A bungalow was being decorated. Looking for the painter, I walked round into the garden. A real sunburnt old countryman was there, digging. With him was a girl perhaps 25 or 26 years old. She looked older however; dark, heavily built; the dominant type. Apparently this was to be her bungalow when finished. I mentioned this was my first visit to Horndon on the Hill. The old man grinned. “Why, if it weren’t closing time I’d take you to the pub and make you pay your footin,” he said.

The girl found the decorator for me. She went to the gate. “Brown!” she called, and a small boy dashed up. “Where is Mr Allen?” “At the school, Miss!” I half expected the urchin to salute before he marched away. “I guess you’re connected with the school?” “Yes,” she said, smiling suddenly, “I teach there.” Unnecessary question and answer!

My last call was at Laindon Hills. I opened conversation with a builder here by asking if he was in the market? “Yes!” he said, to my astonishment. “I want some paint next week. Whom do you represent?” “Paripan…” “Alright, I’ll try your stuff then”. Seems too good to be true? It was! When he discovered Paripan was not stocked in the district he kinda lost interest. Although he lost interest I did not lose the chance of an order and I’m calling back.

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