Once I had got my breath back, following the phone call which set me on a new path, I realised I had a lot to do and just four weeks to get it done.
I got the call on Friday, 8 September and I was due to start on Monday, 9 October.
In between I had to give in my notice, continue working and find accommodation in reasonable reach of Basildon.
The first task was easy. I just had to go over to the office and let Brian know. I could sort out a formal letter of resignation over the weekend.
Other than finding accommodation there was not much else to do.
Which meant my work would continue as normal.
As well as copies of the Recorder Tony Blandford had given me two editions of the Southend Evening Echo which was also part of the Westminster Group.
Over the weekend I went over the small ads looking for anything suitable, even a B&B would have done, but could find nothing.
Eventually I was given a number by one estate agent for a holiday let company with a couple of cottages in – BURNHAM-ON-CROUCH.
By this time I was getting desperate, I had less than two weeks to find somewhere to live, and decided to try this last hope.
I knew a little bit about the town as it was a hotspot for sailing including small boats such as our family GP. The trouble is it was over 20 miles from Basildon and would be a good half-hour travelling via B roads to get to work, and the same to get back at night.
The woman who answered said they did do holiday lets and would be happy to rent out a small cottage at a reduced out-of-season rate for six months.
Sounded reasonable as Tony had said it could take a few months to sort out the corporation accommodation.
Unfortunately there was a problem. “Just a slight problem,” said the charming lady.
Th cottage wouldn’t be available until Sunday, 22 October.
My heart sank at the prospect of having to start my search all over again, but then that charming voice, which would have suited an angel, broke in: “We do have a caravan which is available from Sunday, 8 October. You could use that for two weeks until the cottage is available.”
A miracle. After all two weeks in a caravan couldn’t be that bad, even in October.
I sealed the deal then and there and said I would post a cheque as deposit and would see her on 8 October.
What a relief.
With everything settled I was able to relax and concentrate on my last couple of weeks working in my beloved North Wales before setting out to England – or Lloegr as it was once called, a reference to the Lost Lands stolen by the English more than a thousand years ago.