A Fortnightly Column
My working holiday
Many people seem to have gain ed the impression over the last week that I am more than a fraction crazy. They are probably quite correct.
After all, I don't know of many people who would chose of their own free will to work for a week during their holiday rather than receive S50 on a plate.
I made this rash decision when I won the Catholic Herald Young Writer of the Year Award on the grounds of being interested in journalism.
I arrived in London from my home in Birmingham expecting to return with a unique experience and I can honestly say that my expectations have been
I spent the week in the home of Frances Gumley, the Literary Editor. The Gumley household is an experience within itself. The conflicting Scottish views of Mr Gumley and those of his Irish wife and sister-in-law, not to mention the slight disagreement between my father and Mrs Gumley's sister concerning America's involvement in the Second World War were added bonuses to the week.
I arrived at the Catholic Herald office. by Smithfield Market. After finding a chair to sit on and mastering a stubborn typewriter I was handed a pile of "copy" and informed that my first job was to write it up as "P&Ps" (People and Places).
For the remainder of Monday and part of Tuesday I compiled a list of the 115 cardinals eligible to vote for the new Pope. Each cardinal required his age, place of birth. jobs and former jobs. Fortunately David Browne felt sorry for me and offered to "do the Italians".
After having been at the office on Monday and Tuesday for an average of 10 hours, arriving back at the Gumleys at about 8 pm, I had to rise at 5.45 with Frances on Wednesday to catch the train from Euston to arrive at the printers at 8.10 am.
Richard, the Editor missed the train, but following this start the paper was pieced together and finally printed after an amazing computerised process resembling some highly imaginative science fictional fairy land capable of a Few errors such as reducing 79 cardinals to 9 and producing a Barter rather than a Barber Priest.
Thursday was my rest day, although I ended up absolutely shattered. To begin with David showed me round the LBC radio station whe he works part-time.
Then we went to Madame Tussauds and the Planetarium, viewed the City of London. and finally crawled up the Monument before returning to the office.
'The best way to sum up is to say I am still thinking in terms of journalism' Catholic Herald Young Writer of the Year
In the evening I was to do a theatre review of Peter Person's "England, My Own", and arrived at the theatre with about a minute to spare. I stayed behind afterwards with David to see some of the actors.
At II pm I caught the tube back to Ealing, or at least tried to. I did not arrive back at the Gumleys until after I am, by which time the police had been alerted. Amazingly enough I had nothing to do with my vanishing. It just so happens that London Transport men decided to have a lightning strike.
Friday, my last day, was occupied with writing my theatre review and visiting The Times, which completely stunned me with its size.
It's strange to see a paper come to life, and to be with its makers, the ones whom I met being Richard, Frances, Charles, David, John, Brenda and Charlie. The best way to sum up my week is to say that I am still thinking in terms of journalism.
That hectic little office in the old cheese warehouse in Charterhouse Street has something about it that I like.