Getting to Know You


A year or two after that, an opportunity arose to work with Eadmund on a project.

We had moved our wholesale department to a new site just south of the Thames.  The new premises bordered on a nocturnal fruit and vegetable market was the only remaining aspect of a once a thriving produce selling area known as London’s Larder.  Now, it was largely empty.  Its spaces were used for parking cars but the market structure and empty warehouses around it was still impressively Victorian.  It just cried out to have food stalls in it.

I was at a career ceiling.  I had added being the assistant Mail Order manager to my list of roles but there wasn’t enough work in the department for it to be anything more than holiday cover, a day a week and then an even more seasonal and intense Christmas sales period than when I’d worked retail.

I had appreciated the support, cheering on and hugs even more than ever.  I had seen Jack less than ever.

I was also at the end of my tether with matters rota-related.  It was like trying to solve a huge Sudoku puzzle and it just didn’t appeal to the way my mind worked.  My attempts to solve the Sudoku weren’t good enough for the new shop manager, James (Isla had taken on HR) and he didn’t hold back with his criticism.  I announced my intention to give up the rota and train someone new.  I didn’t tell anyone but it was the first step of my plan to hand in my notice.

Eadmund needed someone to help with a plan to develop the market as a thriving food area again: to call in stall holders, to take advantage of momentum created by open warehouse days the local traders had held and a Food Lovers Fair that had generated great publicity and introduced some amazing food producers from all over the country to this atmospheric corner of London and its wrought iron Victorian market building.  The fair had been exhilarating.  The iron and glass structure echoed to the sounds of traders selling food and all of the food was superlative.  The space came alive.  At the end of our long retailing days, we cheesemongers mingled in the local pub, with other traders from the market.  We were all buzzing.  Many drunkenly enthusiastic conversations were had, starry eyed about the potential for restoring it to a full time food market.

Eadmund had a plan.  The open warehouse days had been fine but now we needed a bigger market.  A monthly market.  In time, a weekly market.  He always suffered from having more ideas than there is time to execute them, so he needed someone to put his plan into action.  Would I be interested in working with the best food producers in the country to establish the best selection of produce in the UK at a market?  Would I?  Is the Pope a Catholic?

From being miserable and failing in my job, I suddenly had a lifeline and one with hugely exciting possibilities.  Eadmund and I met and worked together for a day each week.  I loved the job.  I loved working with him.  We worked extremely harmoniously together.  I was doing something I could succeed in and succeed I did.  I was learning all the time and I began to blossom again.

We started to get to know each other a little.

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