Chapter 8 The Wychwood Hotel
In the years between Susan’s final departure at Easter in1970 and November 1976 I was still working and we carried on trading as a hotel I think the most guests we ever had stay was 24, it was a very seasonal hotel and only operated between Easter and September, it was also about a mile from the seafront and some of the guests were not too happy about that.
The children were all growing up Janet was at university in Bristol, and when Stella was sixteen she decided to go and live with a man in the north of the country, Raymond had turned into a biker hippie with long hair, a cat skin jacket and an aversion to soap, Alan Is growing well and I hope not too much influenced by his older brother, in order to make more room in the hotel I purchased a big mobile home and put it in the back garden for the children to sleep in during the summer.
I employed local women to come in during the day and do the housework and as for myself traveling to Filton everyday was always a chore: so when the opportunity came for me to take a job back at Westland helicopters in their local factory as their Liaison Engineer, co-ordinating work between Yeoville and Weston I jumped at the chance.
What a fiasco that turned out to be, I was running an Austin mini at the time and as they were still building my office in the Weston factory I contrived to go to Yeoville most days another of my trips was up to Bletchley where there was a subcontractor servicing hydraulic units, I was making so much money on my travelling expenses I used to have to go and collect them twice a week.
Then disaster struck, head office decreed that every department would take a 10% staff cut, my department was just building up and was recruiting all sorts of staff, there were people turning up at the factory to start work having sold their houses in other parts of the country, only to be told sorry you haven’t got a job any more, and of course I was made redundant because of the last in first out rule
It was the start of the summer, I couldn’t go back to British Aircraft Corporation because of the Concorde problems and their consequent embargo on recruitment, so I decided to work on the hotel for a few months, I applied for unemployment benefit for the first time in my life and was given sixteen pounds per week.
Later on Rolls Royce aero engines were advertising for Technical Engineers and I started working for them, I think in the October of that year, six weeks after I started the company declared bankruptcy. It was nothing to do with me, actually it didn’t make any difference, I was working on a military contract and was working overtime for months.
Whilst I was at the Wychwood I employed a girl called Margaret who had a daughter about twelve years old she had some friends come to tea one day and one of the daughters friends upset Margaret who proceeded to punish this twelve year old girl in front of everybody by putting her over her knees after lifting her skirt pulling her knickers down to her ankles then smacking her bare backside there in the kitchen, she later commented to me the smacking never hurt her but the embarrassment might have done her some good.
Some time later I decided I needed a new live in house keeper and responding to my advertisement was a young lady in Bristol who was also called Margaret, she had a young baby just six weeks old and I interviewed her at her mother’s house in Bristol.
It was about six weeks later she contacted me again and moved into the Wychwood fulltime she was a nice girl of pleasant personality and got on well with the children, she had her own car and used to go dancing with her old friends in Bristol once a week.
She would come home around two in the morning having had a little too much to drink and wanting to talk ---- etc. this went on for some little while until she missed the traffic lights in her little MG, the car was scrapped but fortunately she wasn’t injured, I don’t know what she hit but there were no repercussions.
I remember Margaret and I going on holiday to Spain to one of the seaside resorts I have some photographs but I cannot work out exactly which resort it was, some years later I was going out to Bristol to the cinema and having got a few miles up the road I changed my mind and returned to the Wychwood, I pulled into the backyard and could see into the kitchen where there was a strange man rolling out some pastry, by the time I got into the kitchen he was gone and Margaret explained “ that’s my friend Robert he is staying next door and he was making some apple tarts” I don’t know how she expected to get away with that, because she had never made an apple tart in her life.
To cut a long story short they married moved to Cornwall then Swindon and I kept in touch with them for many years until 2008 when they disappeared whilst I was away on a long holiday.
Latest news is that Robert is living in Spain and Marge has a flat in Bristol.