When I moved up to Ashby-de-la-Zouch from Acton (west London) I had three months living in a horrible bedsit while Claire and I waited for our house purchase to be completed - all the time hoping it would happen before our wedding in April. Claire was still living at Springhouse Farm, of Kegworth air crash fame, so she was fairly comfortable and she also had our mutual friend Ruth for company. I, on the other hand, was living in attic room with no proper heating in a massive house run by a dragon.
There was snow lying when I arrived just after Christmas and I can remember catching the bus over to Loughborough to collect my motor bike from the railway station only to find that the office was shut. I then had to repeat the journey the next day. Much the same thing happened the first day I arrived at the United Biscuits factory. The Convenience Foods section was still closed for the Christmas break and I had been hanging around for quite a while before anybody bothered to tell me. The letter I had been sent was quite clear that I should have been starting that day – I was paid for that day and it wasn’t taken from my meagre holiday allocation so it was all a bit of a mystery.
David Williams was my boss. He suffered from “small man syndrome” more than anybody I had met before or since. He didn’t ever seem to do anything and it was a mystery how he managed to fill his day. Bill Tidman was his lap-dog but at least Bill was always busy being the creative brain behind some of the projects the department was working on. I cannot recall any of Bill’s projects becoming a commercial success so perhaps he wasn’t quite as wonderful as he was always claiming to be!