Sunday, April 28, 2013

 Linked to Sunday Scribblings prompt 'Resistant'

Previously in A Chequered Career I can still hear a voice calling “déjeuner mon ami”; time for lunch, then crossing the street with my bosses and colleagues to a blue shaded bistro…... I was employed by a family with an uncanny resemblance to the Ewing’s of Dynasty fame…… the little cherubs would rush around shrieking, and planting sticky hand prints on my pristine motor cars. It was so sad when they suddenly and unexpectedly tripped over our feet!........ I used to sit at my desk looking out across the road to the sea wishing I was still on the opposite shore in ‘La Belle France’………I was so, so bored.


It occurred to me that I had in recent years travelled in the footsteps of William the Conqueror! I had left Normandy and was living a little bungalow in the ancient town of Battle which was where the Battle of Hastings took place in 1066. ‘Willy the Conk’ made a great success of his journey, so why hadn’t I?

Although life at Westfield Citroen was pretty dull, it did have its lighter moments. When I drew the short
straw and found myself working alone in the little St Leonards showroom on a Sunday, I invariably had a visitor for coffee to brighten up my morning. The politician, social reformer and, some would say, infamous Lord Longford lived close by. He used to take his poodle for a stroll on Sunday mornings and I was on his route. At first he used just to smile and raise his hand, but one day I was standing in the doorway and we got chatting. After that he regularly came inside and shared a mug of instant! He had of course led a crusade for penal reform for many years, and he instituted an unpopular and unsuccessful campaign to secure the release of the Moors child murder Myra Hindley. Keen not to get into any kind of political or moral debate with him, I tended just to chat about the weather and last night’s TV!

We managed to breathe some life into the main Bexhill showroom once a year too, when we put on a fashion show. We would construct a catwalk between the cars and would-be models of various shapes and sizes would totter down the plank wearing creations from a local dress shop! This was all done to the accompaniment of screeching music from a cassette player, whilst along one wall I would run a buffet comprising cheeses various, cold meats assorted, and things wrapped in pastry. We would add a few bottles of dodgy wine and we all had a jolly good time!

Bexhill’s main claim to fame, well second I suppose as the art décor De La Warr Pavilion is its main
attraction, is that it is the official birthplace of British motor racing. It was in 1902 that the first car race in the country took place and it has been an annual event ever since. Nowadays vintage cars are raced in attempt to recreate the days of old, and because of Westfield Citroen’s location at the far end of the promenade/race track, our workshops and part of our
showroom were used to safely store the magnificent machines during the race weekend. To be up close, to touch and to smell so many of these legendary cars all in one place was inspirational. One year Chitty Chitty Bang Bang was in our possession for several nights. Fantastic! A few days earlier it had come to prominence in the media because Michael Jackson had tried unsuccessfully to buy it ‘at any price’! I knew where the keys were; if only I’d had Michael Jackson’s phone number things could have been very different!

It was the year of our Lord 1993. I was living alone and doing a job which was wearisome, monotonous and mind-numbing. I had kept in touch with my first wife Sarah, mainly in order to arrange and carry out visits to me by my children. Some years back she had met someone with whom she had moved in and become a family. A change in job meant they had to up-sticks and move a hundred miles away to Winchester. However, she like me had found herself on her own again, and we started meeting for the occasional drink in a pub at the half way point near Arundel. One thing led to another, and we thought damn it, let’s give it another try! It was decided I should move to Winchester. There was however an obstacle in the way. I in no way relished the thought of a two hundred mile round trip each day to work and back.  And then as if by magic, I heard via the Citroen area manager that they were seeking a salesman to set up and run a fleet sales centre within one of their dealerships in Basingstoke. The job entailed selling cars in quantities to companies from an office just thirty minutes from my proposed new home! I simply could not resist it! 
I was interviewed not just by the dealer, Hadley Garages, but also by Citroen themselves as they were to make a contribution to the very generous salary on offer.   

However there was still one other problem which needed solving. Our dear son Timothy was not happy with us moving in together in an unmarried state. And so we did it. Sarah and I got married all over again! Everything fell into place; I waved goodbye to Westfield Citroen and said hello a whole new chapter in my topsy-turvey life

To be continued

Chapters  1     3   4   5   6   7    8   9   10   11  >  13


  1. it gets better and better. Liked that your son insisted that you get married again. I'm sure I'll find out if it worked better the second time around.

  2. Here you go again. I hope it went better the second time.

  3. This episode had such a nostalgic opening I was desperate for so happier words and you didn't fail. Although I hadn't lived and worked in your new location for many years I am eager now to absorb all your reactions to the Hampshire environment. As always it is a delight to read your story.

  4. Lovely part of the world Winchester - the meadows are beautiful. I once lived in Church Crookham, Hants.