Home Articles A Visiting Fireman in Africa A Visiting Fireman in Africa. Chapter 4 - Page Ten
A Visiting Fireman in Africa. Chapter 4 - Page Ten Print E-mail
Written by Ray Critchell   
Sunday, 05 July 2009 23:37
Article Index
A Visiting Fireman in Africa. Chapter 4
Page Two
Page Three
Page Four
Page Five
Page Six
Page Seven
Page Eight
Page Nine
Page Ten
Page Eleven
Page Twelve
Page Thirteen
Page Fourteen
Page Fifteen
Page Sixteen
Page Seventeen
Page Eighteen
Page Nineteen
Page Twenty
All Pages

However, good fortune was still in the air. My No 2 son had been looking for a second hand motor bike, and had been searching through a magazine, the 'Exchange and Mart', that listed just about everything people wanted to sell. I came across the magazine, by chance lying open at the section advertising houses for sale. There in the centre of the page, was a picture in a box of its own, describing it as the 'House of the Week'. It was a typical three bedroom, detached house. The only one in the magazine so prominently displayed, or with a photograph, and also the only one for sale in Herne Bay in the whole magazine! I phoned the owner and arranged to call and view. The house was in the town, but in a quiet residential part, about a ten minute walk from the beach, the shops, the railway station and bus routes, and there was a post box on the corner some hundred yards away. The price was just within my accrued leave pay and I arranged to buy on sight, through a local solicitor who had in fact done all the searches and documentation for a previous prospective buyer who had pulled out less than a month ago.

We have been told since that we were mad to have committed ourselves in this way. I remember the estate agent, when we handed back our loaned house, was horrified that we had used 'our own' money, evidently a bad move in house buying circles, but for me, I had the comforting feeling that whatever may now be lying in wait around the corner, I had provided a warm, safe and comfortable nest for my little brood. All I needed to do was to maintain it and keep it insured and we were secure. Because there was no 'chain' involved on either side, the transaction went through in a little over three weeks which we have also been told must be some sort of a record. I had no knowledge of such matters having lived in rented government housing and was just relieved to be settled.

Now the search for work really started in earnest. Our eldest son, then 20, had been studying aeronautical engineering in Lusaka but had to terminate this. He found he could not adapt to the English lifestyle, and went off to make a life for himself in the south of France with some of his friends from Lusaka who had already settled over there. Number two son, who was 18 had just left school. He had eight 'O' levels, ['A' levels were not available in Zambia] but was now too old for an apprenticeship, and so had to compete in the job market as an unqualified at anything young man, with children who had left school at 16 and who therefore already had two years work experience behind them. Being interested in things mechanical, he eventually got a job in a small local garage that specialised in rebuilding Lotus and Jaguar classic cars.