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THE SOUTHAMPTON HUNDREDS

74

I get a Christmas job in the John Lewis Clearings warehouse in Draycott Avenue, just behind Sloane Square. It’s a round cornered, many windowed, sans serif 1930s utility building. I’m in the lighting stockroom, which has a faded air and fake gilt rococo chandeliers hanging from the ceiling. Everyone is kind. One day I say offhandedly to the personnel officer that I’ll be taking Friday off as I have to visit someone for the weekend. She tells me, not unkindly, how it is that things actually work, and to think on a bit. In the canteen the custard is always free.