Sunday, March 23, 2008

Monday 22nd August 1938

Locals. No unproductive calls. Two orders. Many sound but fruitless contact calls.
An upsetting interview at Hadleigh Building Supply. Mr Page had accidentally heard that I’d sent in an order for PHG – direct – which had been taken from a builder (Townsend) who occasionally dealt at his shop. And, discussing merchants, I’d mentioned WT Taylor’s, Leigh, instead of Hadleigh Builders Supply! Of course Townsend is a Westcliff man – four miles from Hadleigh – and it would have been unusual to have passed his order on to a merchant who was not known to have a delivery service. I explained all this but Mr Page, denouncing our methods, says he will give no more orders. Rather a row. This sort of thing is bound to happen eventually as I incline towards a Company-to-Builder policy, thus being able to sell a cheaper range of materials and maintain personal contact with the user. But I’d be very, very sorry to lose the custom of Mr Page, if only for sentimental reasons. My first customer!

Evening – Signal. How familiar all the once-vague faces have become! In the Recruits room, trouble between the weak Sergt. Russell and the awkward Cooley. Poor Sergeant tried feebly to maintain order. Eventually I suppose, something snapped. He went round to the cool-seeming culprit; told him to get out of the room. Cooley refused. Again and again Russell, standing over him, repeated his order. He lost his temper altogether. Seized Cooley by the collar. Wasn’t strong enough to throw him outside. They struggled. Struck each other. (Oh, how devilishly sorry I felt for the Sergeant! Most of the others, sitting fascinated, felt the same, I reckon.) God knows how it would have ended. (If the Sergeant had been beaten, either morally or physically!)

Lieut. Layton suddenly entered the room. He acted very properly, indeed. Made no comments on the scrimmage but delivered a short speech on playing the game, backing up our instructors, who do lots of extra work etc. Both of them, separately, had to go and see him after Parade. Don’t know the sequel. Sergt. Russell gave a second lecture – on procedure and prefix forms – to a, for once, attentive and slightly shocked class.

Left at 10:30p.m. Drove home slowly and cautiously through FOG. Fog in August! Damn it all, what?


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