I had just finished packing my suitcase as Jean, my wife, called that my breakfast was on the table. The aroma of the bacon and eggs met me as I walked down the stairs. Jean had already started on her bowl of All Bran as I sat down.
"What time do you expect to get to Cambridge then?" she asked me.
"All being well by about 10 -
"I should have left before then myself, so give me a call at Carol's tonight will you?"
"Of course, darling," I replied, "and I'll see you on Friday".
I was leaving on my monthly tour of regional offices: Cambridge this afternoon, Leeds tomorrow, Manchester on Wednesday, Birmingham on Thursday, then Bristol on Friday. The business would take about four or five hours at each office and the drives between each was a couple of hours -
Jean was also going to be away for the week, visiting a friend in Wrexham for a "good old chinwag".
I headed out of Farnborough and joined the M3 and towards London and debated whether to go clockwise or anticlockwise around the M25. The former involved the roadworks and the M4, M40 and M1 traffic; the alternative could involve delays at the Dartford crossing. Otherwise there really wasn't much in it with the M11 virtually diagonally opposite the M3. The choice between a potential few miles of congestion at the crossing or the certainty of heavy slow moving traffic for most of the way around the M25 was settled in favour of Dartford.
A little over an hour later, I was emerged from the tunnel into Essex, well on time and, hopefully with the worst of the trip behind me. Now it should be a reasonably clear drive round to and up the M11. Then a couple of miles along the A45 -
The company I'd founded ten years earlier had a modern unit which we used for our computer training courses. These ranged from basic introductions to computing through to advanced techniques for spreadsheets, databases, graphics programmes and the like. The basic courses were fairly routine -
If the part of the journey I least enjoyed was the run around London on the M25, then the highlight was the Wednesday evening in Manchester where I would be able to get along to the Concord meeting.
This trip, I was conscious that Jean would only be about a hour's drive from Manchester and that I could have met up with her at Carol's -
"This is a girls’ week -
It struck me as vaguely ironic that I would probably be doing exactly the same thing that Wednesday -
It was one of my main regrets that I had been unable to tell Jean about my transvestism, but I had never dared doing so because I didn't want to risk losing her. We had recently celebrated our silver wedding and our children had left home. During the past twenty five years, I had been through the usual phases of thinking that I could give up being a tv -
I realised, however, that not everyone has a TVs view of cross dressing and that a high proportion of the public considered it perverted. I was also aware that it could cause business problems if my secret was ever revealed.
To avoid such a risk, I took a number of precautions when I visited Manchester. I had a small flat, not far from the city centre, which nobody knew about, where I kept "Katherine's" clothes. I would drive to the hotel where I was officially registered, check in, then take a taxi to the flat; change then take another taxi to the Rem.
This Wednesday, I got to the village at about 6.30 so had a meal in Boodles before going to the Rem.
When I arrived, discovered that there was a make-
I bought a drink from the bar then joined Faye, Jackie and Gwen and catch up on the news.
Half an hour later, Mary announced that the presentation was about to start. I'd had my back to the door, so hadn't even seen the demonstrators arrive.
"Good evening, ladies. As you know, this presentation was planned for last week. Unfortunately, I was involved in a minor accident and was unable to get here in time. As it happens, the delay has probably been providential as two of my colleagues have agreed to help me out this evening. I'll introduce them to you in a few moments," announced the consultant.
"I have to tell you that this booking had me worried. I had no idea what to expect. In fact, to be honest, it was probably that which distracted me last week and resulted in the accident. I told a colleague of mine about my concerns and she agreed to give me some moral support, she also had a friend of hers staying who is also one of our consultants and who is also here. I have to say, however, that, having met a couple of you and your wives for a meal last night, my concerns were totally groundless. In fact, my colleagues aren't here to provide moral support any longer -
"Right, first the introductions. I'm Linda. My area covers Manchester and I'll be only too happy to arrange personal consultations for any of you. This is Carol from Wrexham and Jean from Farnborough in Hampshire."