July 29th 1959
It was a calm day at Maplin's holiday camp, warm but not stiflingly hot and everywhere as far as the eye could see, campers were out enjoying themselves and soaking up the sunshine. From speakers high up on the walls the musical voice of Gladys Pugh could be heard, announcing the day's events.
Sitting behind the microphone of radio Maplin's, in the sound proof room behind the office, Gladys ended her announcement with her signature xylophone tune, then stood and returned to the office.
'Oh good morning Jeffrey' she breathed as she entered the small room. Jeffrey Fairbrother, seated at his desk, looked up from his work and flashed her a small shy smile. 'Ah, Gladys.'
As she sat down he slid a letter across the desk to her. She recognized the article- it was a letter from Joe Maplin that Jeff had read to the staff earlier this morning. She looked at him questioningly.
"When I read this out at the staff meeting I missed the alst paragraph' he explained. 'What do you make of it?'
Gladys took the page and read the last paragraph. It was in Joe Maplin's own words, of course, but still understandable and explained how Joe Maplin planned to 'expand his empire' with a new camp. He had decided to give a prospective entertainments manager a two week trial at Camber Sands, one of the other camps, to see how he would cope. This, of course would appear to leave the current manager, Richard Meadows, out of a job, so he was to be sent to their camp to help (and fulfil his contract) for those two weeks.
Gladys turned the paper around in her hands, pondering this. She thought it was very inconsiderate of Joe Maplin to send him here without consulting anyone, but then he had never been one to consider anyone but himself.
She'd met Dick Meadows before, just once, and he'd annoyed her thoroughly by constantly trying to chat her up. He was obnoxious, and in her opinion, as common as muck. A while ago both he and Jeffrey had been on the shortlist to transfer to a camp in the Bahamas but due to a rather unfortunate turn of events neither had ended up going. She had little opinion of him, and as for him staying at the camp…
'What are you going to do about this?' she asked finally.
'There's nothing I can do' he replied. 'He'll have to stay here, Joe Maplin's insisting. I'll have a word with the staff about it later. Even if we had been given the choice we couldn't just turn him away because Joe Maplin gave his job to someone else.'
Gladys looked u on him, admiration burning in her eyes.
'That's what I like about you' she said softly. 'You have such a generous heart…'
Jeffrey noticed her adoring expression, the longing in her eyes and her suggestive tone of voice and was quite alarmed.
It came as a relief to him that Ted Bovis, the camp host, chose that moment to come into the office and inquire 'You busy, Jeff?', to which he hastened to reply "No, not at all!".
While Ted tried to convince Jeff to let him fiddle the campers in the upcoming raffle (a losing battle considering Jeff's sense of decency) Gladys gave a little sigh. When was Jeffrey going to realize what she was trying to say to him, what she tried to express every day? When would he realize that she loved him?
August 1st 1959
Richard Meadows was a tall man with a West Country/Bristol accent. He was good at entertaining the campers- Joe Maplin had said he was, but he was loud and arrogant. He didn't turn up to staff meetings, he argued with almost everything Jeffrey ahd to say and he was constantly trying to get Gladys' attention- waving at her, winking and gesturing until she came up to him and inquired politely what did he think he was doing and would he leaver her alone thankyou very much.
He laughed at the annoyed expression on her face and asked her if she wanted a drink in the bar tonight. She declined as nicely as she could and he teased her relentlessly about what reasons she might have for rejecting his offer.
The other girl yellowcoats watched Richard with dreamy eyes but he seemed only interested in annoying Gladys as much as possible.
Campers danced across the floor of the Hawaiian Ballroom in a quick-step dance. It had been a reasonably entertaining evening for them- Ted's comedy routine had had them all in stitches, the reprise of Spikes Pinocchio routine complete with wood and string jokes had made the atmosphere fall flat, but Ted's second round of rather inappropriate jokes had raised the tone of the evening once again. Jeffrey was attempting to sort out a distressed Yvonne, who was complaining that if Barry and she had to put up with Ted's filthy, lewd sense of humour tomorrow they simply would not perform.
Whilst the stressed entertainments manager tried to say something to remedy the haughty dancers' situation, Gladys stood at the bar, a half full glass of white wine in her hand, waiting for him to come back. As she waited, absorbed in her own thoughts, Richard sidled up to her.
'What're you doin'?' he said loudly, causing her to jump and almost spill her drink.
'What did you do that for?' she said crossly.
"Up to something secretive are we?' he jested. Gladys ignored him, turning her attention to the campers on the dance floor.
'Don't you like to dance?' Richard asked.
'Very much' she replied without thinking.
'Want to dance with me then?' he offered. Gladys realized she should have seen that coming. She had to admit she was a bit flattered that Richard took an interest in her but she did not return that interest and wished she could find a way of telling him so without being insulting.
'I can't, I have work to do in the office' she lied and hastily left.
Instead of heading towards the office though, Gladys went to her chalet and locked the door. She had managed to neatly sidestep Richard's offer, but Gladys knew she could not keep making excuses, she would have to confront him sooner or later.