A few more motoring stories will appear in their rightful positions. Today I offer my most confused; the one I felt most smug about; and my most shameful effort.
During my first week at Kingston Children’s Department I toured the residential homes to get to know them. One of these was a few miles away. I got lost and was an hour or so late. I think we had to reschedule. The woman in charge had a reputation for being difficult with field social workers. In fact, I found her very accepting, an excellent, if exacting, carer, and happy to show me the ropes. This was quite a relief.
(the same model as my 1966 Hillman Imp as advertised on e-bay)
One of my female colleagues was married to the Chief Housing Officer. Those of his status warranted dedicated parking spaces. Assistant Child Care Officers did not. One day when I had thought he would not be at work I parked in his spot. When he arrived to take his wife out to lunch he blocked me in.
On her return to her desk opposite me an amused silence prevailed. Eventually she could maintain it no more and spluttered “Ok. How did you do it?”. “I lifted it out”, I replied. I then took great delight in explaining the technique of lifting a little at a time to gradually spin it around.
It was during my first summer there that, in order to provide a male presence, I was sent with an all female staff on a camping holiday for a group home. Michael came with me.
This was the second occasion on which a box had to be placed at the foot of my bed to accommodate my leg length. And it was a pretty flimsy camp bed.
I didn’t sleep very well until, following the coach back to London, I dropped off momentarily and scraped my car along the side of a vintage Bentley. This woke me up. Fortunately no-one was hurt, although my son cried “You, Dad”. The driver of the other vehicle was charming as he muttered “It’s been a long time”. The police officer said he had not heard me mentioning falling asleep, and advised me to claim distraction. I was charged with driving without due care and attention to which I pleaded guilty.