22 November 2003

Milnthorpe Kidside A Story by Surmise?

During our visit to my brother John and Edith in 2003, John asked me a curious question. He asked Dad and me if I remembered a conversation immediately on our arrival at Kidside between Dad’s new employers Mr. Kenyon.

John remembers that a wage negotiation took place between Mr. Kenyon and Dad. In essence, Mr Kenyon offered Dad a sum of money as wages and Dad replied that he received "more than that at his last place". A sum must have been negotiated we did stay at Kidside.

Now John obviously found this curious and after telling me, I found it curious too. John posed the question in June 2003 and I write this in November 2003. During those 5 months, my mind has periodically gone to John's question. Why were wages not discussed before accepting the job during the interview?

I have only faint glimmerings of the time just before leaving Sharrow Bay to come to Kidside so I will relate them.

I do remember Uncle John Brough contacting our parents and telling them that a job was available at Kidside. I do remember a feeling of worry in the air before leaving Sharrow Bay, which would be natural in the circumstances whilst looking for a new job. I do remember that when Sharrow Bay was sold we had to be out by a certain time and I seem to remember our parents continually talking about it and this undercurrent of worry.

I do not remember Dad going for any interviews for jobs before leaving Sharrow Bay. We did not have a car and unless a job interview was in the immediate vicinity, a car would be needed for travelling to an interview. I am sure I would have remembered if Dad had borrowed a car.

This what I surmise might have happened.

There were no interviews; there were no jobs on offer. The reason why? Like the Nelson's most other employers of estate staffs were also hit by the Labour government's iniquitous tax of 19/6 in the pound over a certain income level. They were firing not hiring staff (as the saying goes) to stay afloat. As the final vacation date approached I believe Dad took the job at Kidside sight unseen and the Kenyon’s at Kidside took Dad sight unseen too, relying on Uncle John Brough's recommendation of Dad being a good reliable man well suited for the work.

So I believe there was no interview and so no prior wage negotiations. The decision to take the Kidside job was a last minute decision. The telephone was not generally available in those times, it was a luxury and most people did not have one unless by necessity. To go from Sharrow Bay to Kidside there were buses but with two changes and a long walk at either end so not very practical for interviews.

Why did I not remember the wages conversation? As a boy of 13/14 years, I liked to explore and that is what I probably did immediately on our arrival. I still like to explore even now when I arrive at a new location.

I do not suppose we will ever know for sure if this is the correct explanation or even if it is true in parts only. I do not suppose it is of any real interest to anyone else but John and I and then only because of our mutual curiosity.

Our parents stayed 12 years at Kidside and only left on the death of Mr. Kenyon, Mrs. Kenyon moving to her daughter’s home. They liked the location. However, the Kenyon’s are another story.

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