Thursday, September 29, 2005

So many South African connections

Dorking - London Marylebone - High Wycombe. A two-hour train journey.

It was the first time I've been to High Wycombe since 1987 when my wife and I drove there to see a colleague's brother to arrange a mortgage. That was about 6 months after arriving in England. At that stage, we thought that we'd left for good but we returned 3.5 years later.

I hung around the station for about 40 minutes before catching a taxi to the business park where I was going to be interviewed. The taxi reeked of smoke and was driven by a woman who looked like she lives life to the full. She made the perfect taxi driver - chatty, informative and full of smiles. I discovered that she brought up her daughter as a single mother and that her mother was a South African who moved here 50 years ago.

'My Dad was in the Merchant Navy. Had Mum not followed him out here, I'd have met a tall blonde South African with blue eyes and be living out there in the sun,' she said, self-mockingly.

While I stood outside the building having a fag before going in to the reception, two young guys came outside to have a smoke. They were speaking Afrikaans.

'In my (said in Afrikaans) point of view (said in Afrikaans accent), die (said in Afrikaans) engine capacity (said in Afrikaans accent) is nie so goed soos die van die BMW (said in Afrikaans),' said the one to the other.

I smiled inwardly to myself.

During the interview, I discovered that the billion pound company interviewing me for a job is owned by the Bidvest Group, a South African investment holding company. Bidvest Holdings? New name to me! They must be a huge player on the Jo'burg Stock Exchange if they own that sort of company in the UK.

The interview went on for much longer than expected and seemed to go very well. They know that I need to decide on the Northampton job very soon so I expect to hear their verdict tomorrow morning. The money's better and the job sounds much more interesting and challenging.

All today's South African 'connections' must mean that I've got the job!


Blogger ChittyChittyBangBang! said...

Thanks for stopping by me humble blog and for the book advice.
BIDVEST is indeed a large and diverse company. The board of directors are the who's who in SA business.
Good luck, I hope you get the job.
Hahaha.. no matter where you go in this world, the So Africans will find you and bring you back into the fold... hehehe. :)

12:07 pm  
Blogger Reluctant Nomad said...

Thanks for the good luck. Just heard that I didn't get the job. Now, had it been a South African that had interviewed me.....

12:34 pm  
Blogger ChittyChittyBangBang! said...

Sorry to hear that! Damn that sucks, and right before the weekend too.
Go to their offices and pelt the windows with tomatoes... hehe.
Ok, perhaps that is something only I would do. :)

1:25 pm  
Blogger Reluctant Nomad said...

Tomatoes? I was thinking of rocks!

1:44 pm  

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