Monday, December 12, 2016

Love comes shinin' over the mountains, love comes shinin' over the sea (Jimi Hendrix)

Rambling Man (You may say I'm a dreamer - Chapter 10 part 3)

Happy days at Cambridge High School 2003

When Jacky dropped me off at Auckland Airport before my three week trip to London early in 2004, I promised I would come back with a job!!

Naively (you must have sensed a theme by now), I backed myself to travel to the opposite side of the globe for three weeks and find a job.

Acting Principal Purdy at CHS
BTW - I'm a much better traveller on my own, I worry when I fly with Jacky that if something happened, the kids would lose us both, but on my own I'm much more relaxed. Go figure.

I arrived in London and our friend Tina took me back to her place in Balham. At the time she was with a young kiwi guy - Paul. They were fun and extremely helpful. Their flat was a one bed so I dossed down on the lounge floor each night.

Before leaving Nu Zild I'd arranged appointments with three recruiting agencies. I was after a management position and so I also started ringing schools that had vacancies to arrange a visit to see the Headteacher. No luck - they each told me, it didn't work that way. If I was shortlisted, then I could visit - no good for me on my limited three week deadline!

Instead I went to the agencies. One was called Axcis and their office was in Regent Street. I found it and started chatting to a girl who was clearly a fellow Kiwi. We did the usual 'where are you from' routine. She said Hawke's Bay. I said - oh - my wife has links there - to Waipukurau. She said - that's where my family is. Wow, I said. We kept chatting and it turned out I'd sat next to her grandma during a 90th birthday party for Biddy Moore. Freak-eeeee!!

Like the other agencies, she said she had no jobs for me, but would send out my CV and see what happened.

For the next two weeks I did the London haunts (read record shops) and visited my lovely cousin, Christine, in Bury.  Tina, Paul and I took the train up to Manchester to see Rooney dive (we lost our streak). 

At night, back in Balham, I'd roll out my bedding on the lounge floor at Paul and Tina's. In the mornings, Jacky would text me and I'd report how things were going. I probably put a positive spin on things! 

Axcis got in touch. A Headteacher in Essex was willing to meet me. Wahoo!!! Finally, I'd get into a school to turn on my charm I thought (to myself).

Margaret Wilson is the inspirational human dynamo who leads The King John School in Thundersley, Benfleet, Essex. I took the C2C train out to Benfleet. After a lot of lovely scenic trip, with rural views (that included Hadleigh Castle), I walked to the school in Thundersley up a massive hill.

Margaret turned out to be a) a Glaswegian, b) very friendly and c) a fellow attendee at the previous year's Principal conference in Edinburgh. What a fluke. She had decided to meet me based on that coincidence and, while she told me there was no job yet, she would keep me in mind! 

She also said that she lived in Leigh-on-sea, that it was a lovely old fishing village, and I should go there and take a look.

Balham station
So I did. Back on the C2C train to the next station - Leigh-on-sea. After another walk up another big hill I emerged on the Broadway at Leigh and fell in love. It had a great feel and a great record shop - Fives. A great omen.

Feeling very positive, I got back on the train to London and subsequently, returned to New Zealand. 

I'd been home a week when Margaret rang from King John and offered me an Assistant Headteacher job. I said yes please and we started preparations for our huge move to Leigh-on-sea, Essex.

My faith had been rewarded; the next part of our ramblin' adventure was falling into place. 

Love and peace - Wozza

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