Yesterday’s inaugural stage of the Tour de Yorkshire from Bridlington to Scarborough conjured up a number of ancient memories from when I was training to become a chartered accountant. I had worked as the junior on a two-man audit on part of a quoted group, based just outside of Bridlington, which manufactured portable cabins. The area was a popular summer holiday resort, although we conducted our audit work out of season when the town was essentially mothballed. Not that we had much free time to enjoy the amusement arcades and buy “Kiss me Quick” hats or sticks of rock.
I recall we stayed in one of the few open hotels on the sea front, a relic from the town’s heyday, which probably wouldn’t fare too well in today’s Booking.com ratings. I can still remember the limited dinner menu which harked back to the Dark Ages with starters such as fruit juice or half a grapefruit with the ubiquitous glacé cherry. You might be thinking these were left over from breakfast but no, they were not.
Towards the end of the last week of our audit, snow began to fall heavily from Thursday midday. Blustery, high winds piled the snow into drifts, blockading us in at the company’s offices and preventing our return to the hotel. The Company’s MD was in town for a board meeting with a number of other senior group staff and they were all staying at a hotel just down the road from the office, well within walking distance.
As darkness descended, a small band of us, including the Chief Accountant and his assistant, made our way to their hotel, called Fenn’s Farm, hoping we’d find enough beds for the night. There were no spare rooms, so we had to double up. The MD gallantly gave me his room. I had thought I might be forced to share with the Chief Accountant’s assistant but she, rather fortuitously, seemed to have come prepared with an overnight bag and heated rollers ready to share with the Chief Accountant. After that I didn’t enquire too deeply about who shared with whom.
Back at the company’s office next day, it was obvious we wouldn’t be driving home that week-end but would have to take the train. I called the office to let them know what had happened. The line was bad and the message received the other end was that we’d been snowed in and had spent the night in a barn! Unbeknown to me, the audit senior on this particular audit had a bit of a reputation as the office Lothario, this incident had only helped to gild rather than tarnish said reputation.
The following year, I was the audit senior on the job but a number of faces had changed. The Chief Accountant and his assistant were no more but the MD was still in situ. While introducing me to the newly appointed Chief Accountant, he joked that I had looked better in his pyjama top. Lest the new man got the wrong impression, I pointed out that the MD had never seen me in his pyjama top. A loan I’d declined though I’d been grateful he’d given me his hotel room when we’d been snowed in.
You can tell how long ago this was, well before any notion of political correctness started to even creep in and well before the advent of mobile phones. Yes, I really am that old! Fortunately, we didn’t get snowed in on this audit and everything went according to plan though I never visited Bridlington again.