Saturday, December 29, 2007

Thursday 1st July 1937

Still tired after yesterday’s strenuous journey. Business slumped. Turnover 5/9d!

Most of the day was spent at Leigh. In the afternoon I went to Eastwoodbury, having heard that a new vicarage was to be built. Unfortunately the Vicar was away. In the church yard was an old man, cleaning a tombstone. I squatted down beside him and chewed grass. He was lean and sunburnt. The verger. He explained in his slow country accent, that he received 2/6 a quarter for cleaning certain tombstones. Obviously a man who had never been to London, probably never left the district?… I was wrong! It takes more than a minute to sum up any man!

Georg – that was his name – spent 20 years in “the States”. Slowly he narrated how he first got a job as handyman at a hospital in New Jersey. An hour slipped drowsily past as he talked gently and I squatted, chewing grass, beside him (Court was the name on the tombstone. Court aged 23). “ …So I went round towards the back. When I turned the corner there was David, coming round the front. So he says, “Are you the new man?” He must have heard I was a-coming, see? So I says to him, I says, “Maybe I’m the new man and maybe I’m not”, I says…”

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