Back to Uxbridge.
Terry had a viewing of a bedsit in Uxbridge town centre, but wanted to call at the RAF base before making a decision. After booking in at the guardroom he made his way to the Motor Transport Section.
A corporal looked through the hatch. “Hello, I’m Corporal Coker. I heard from the guard room that you are looking for a job here but you have been misinformed. All civilian jobs are handled by the Station Headquarters and I doubt very much if they will see you. Sorry, but you have wasted your time.”
Terry was disappointed and knew that the corporal had no inclination to help him. Despite what the corporal said he wondered if it were worth trying to get seen at the headquarters. He turned to walk out when a Warrant Officer came out of the M T Office. He was Terry’s old flight sergeant, and it seems he has been promoted to become the M T Officer.
“Mansfield, what are you doing here?”
“I’ve come to see if there are and civi’ vacancies.”
“Have you now? Well, Senior Aircraftman, Mansfield, you'd best come into the office.” He looked over to the corporal. “Bring me two coffees, corporal.”
Terry followed the Warrant Officer into his office. “The corporal said there are no vacancies.”
“We are about to employ a driver but calling here is not the right procedure. So, it’s Terry, isn’t it?”
“Yes, sir, and I would like to congratulate you on your well-deserved promotion.”
He laughed. “I see you have been taking lessons on bullshit.”
Terry laughed with him. “It helps sometimes, sir. The corporal said the vacancies are handled by someone in station headquarters”
The corporal brought the coffees in and gave Terry a sour look on his way out.
“The bad news is they won’t see you there. You are supposed to be referred. However, the good news is that the civilian who handles it is an ex Warrant Officer and a very good friend of mine. I should be able to pull a few strings, especially with your service record here and your knowledge of procedures and many of the air-bases as well as all the military buildings in London.”
“That would be great, sir, if you could.”
“Take the office number and give me a call on Monday. I will do my best, but there is no guarantee.”
Terry left the base with a smile on his face. He would take the bedsit for now. He hoped the Officer would be successful, but if not he would try to re-enlist. The only trouble with that was he would be unlikely to get Uxbridge as a posting, but he could live with that.
The time dragged as Terry sat alone in the bedsit. He visited some of the old bars he used to frequent but could find no familiar faces. Everyone seems to have moved on. Monday, he got the news that the Officer had managed to secure the civilian driving job for him. A week later and he was in. There were only two drivers that he knew from his earlier time here, but they had both got married and were living in married quarters.
A month later he had settled in well, but he had to admit that the place was not the same as before. He did lots of coach trips with the regiment and the band travelling to places all over the country. He liked the job but thought on Brian's words. It was a struggle getting by with his wages after the high salary from Brian's family demolition firm.
He got to the yard one morning and checked in with the duty corporal.
“Terry, can you call at Station Headquarters and pick up some documents and take them to RAF Halton.”
“Can I Take the Land Rover?”
“No, you have a Morris 1800. And there is a new civi’ driver in the Women’s restroom; take her with you and show her the route.”
Terry’s heart was pounding as he walked outside. Was this meant to happen? Was history repeating itself? Surely not. Surely it couldn’t be Jane. He knocked on the door in expectation.
A WRAF girl opened the door. “Hello, Terry, what’s up?”
“I have to show the new civi’ to Halton.”
“Bummer, and I thought my luck had changed.” She looked into the room. “It’s for you, Jane.”
Jane, could it be her? Has she had the same memories of the wonderful times we shared together here? He began to nervously shake slightly as his excitement and expectation seemed to be going out of control. Jane walked out smiling at him, but it was not his Jane.
Terry had the weekend off and decided to go over to East London on Saturday.
As he left the transport yard the WRAF girl approached him. “ So, Terry, do you fancy asking me out for a drink tonight?” she said.
“I don’t go out with WRAFs,” he replied.
“That’s good because I don’t go out with dickhead civi’ drivers.”
He turned and smiled at her and to his surprise, she smiled back. Or was it a smirk?
On Saturday Terry drove over to East London and called at the Prince of Wales hoping to see Brian or some of the other lads, but they were all strangers in there. Even the barmaid had been replaced. He didn't stay long and drove past the old terraced house where his family had lived, and the memories of his childhood flooded his mind. He drove towards Bow Road and noticed that Carol’s Cafe was still open with her name still above the shop-front. He decided to call in for a brew before trying his luck at the Guildford Arms. He got a cup of tea from the counter and sat by the window, remembering the time when he and Brian had set off a stink bomb before running off.
The place was empty and looked like it was about to close. “Any chance of a bacon roll?” Terry called across to the girl.
“Sorry, we’re all done.”
“Not my lucky day today,” he said.
The girl laughed and then Jane walked out from the kitchen.