William actively started looking for a job which would give him his desired change of direction. Dodie put the house in Norfolk on the market and asked Wallace and Fleur to look out for an apartment for her in their area. We planned to live in a commuting area to London and considered places within a 20 mile radius. Not knowing the area at all, I favoured north to make visiting my family easier but William preferred south to be accessible to his family.
He applied to British, Iron and Steel Research Association in Battersea (B.I, S.R.A.) and was invited for an interview. I had been nursing, at different levels since I was sixteen and working, as I now did, part-time, was unsatisfactory. I needed to do something different but decided to keep my job until our plans were firm and we moved South.
I was afraid William’s stammer would affect his interview but it never seemed to hold him back; he came through with flying colours and they offered him the job. Mum and Dad weren’t fazed when I told them we would be living at the other end of the country. They were having the time of their lives. Gran spent most of the time in the States, they now had a small car and the world was their oyster. They both still worked full time and relished their week-ends and holidays. Evan was happily married and Maddie had met a radio officer and they were contemplating marriage when their divorces were absolute.
I’m ashamed to say I was full of stupid prejudices and wondered how I would cope living amongst ‘b----y southerners’. It took a long time for me to realise that I could
laugh with, communicate and get really fond of people who had been born and bred in the south. In later years I found it ironic that sometimes – in the north I would be looked at askance and once met a woman in Cornwall who, when I told her I came from Rossendale said.
‘Oh not our Rossendale!’ (God forbid!)
We decided William would accept the job, go down alone and live in digs until he found somewhere for us to rent, when I would join him. The plan then would be for us to buy a house so that we weren’t spending all our earnings on rent. He said we would see how long we could last living apart, to save money. I thought this was not a good idea. William was quite happy to spend the week-ends with his brother but I didn’t relish being alone for an indefinite period, just to save money.
Meanwhile the Jones had invited us to lunch the week-end before William left. Remembering the humiliation I had felt at the party I tried to cry off but William said we owed it to them to go as John had obviously given him a great reference. They were a sweet couple and this was lunch – not a party – so I relented. When I spoke to Bridie on the phone she said her niece would be there. She wanted us to meet her as she lived in London so could be helpful when we moved down. Little did I know that this lunch party would have such an effect on my life. And I nearly missed it.