Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Tuesday 31st January 1939

Sandon, Wickford, South Benfleet, Pitsea and Laindon. Cold, dry, sunny day. Made seven call before lunchtime – one order – 8/-.

Lunch at The Cottage Café, Billericay – my “Club”. There were, beside Joyce Layland, all the usual patrons –

Mr Howen, elderly traveller for Young and Marten, Connie Aiken from the UDC offices, Peter Somebody, a poultry foods traveller and Ponting, the tea and coffee traveller.
Connie Aiken and Peter had to go at 2 o’clock but the rest of us settled down for a pleasant afternoon. I helped Joyce wash up. The distempered walls of the kitchen have been made into an amazing autograph book. Scores of inscriptions of all types. I saw, as I dried pots – lines of Kipling, Omar Khayyam, slogans and ribald remarks.

“We give God credit: others pay cash”
“If you can fill the unforgiving minute…”
“Joyce Layland NBG” (“Naughty bad girl” said Mr Howen tactfully)
“Our coffee is as black as hate, as sweet as love and as hot as …”
“The moving finger writes, and having writ,
Moves on: nor all thy Piety nor Wit
Shall lure it back to cancel half a line…”
“Not, “Did you win or lose?” but “Did you play the game?””
“Ah, make the most of what we yet may spend,
Before we too into the dust descend…”

As I looked at these quaint inscriptions I began to think that perhaps I am fey. That may explain this long blackness. Autumn 1933, Autumn 1936 and now - ?

We played darts until half past four. Eventually Ponting and I lost 3d each! We then had cups of tea “It’s on me” said Joyce, “Let me be big!” A pleasant afternoon, did more good than chasing around, fruitlessly using petrol. In any case, through hurrying in the morning I made nine calls altogether; quite a fair total.

Evening at the digs. Games of chess, dirty stories, smokes, beer, yarns.

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