Odria had just stepped down
I arrived in Lima from Brazil early May, President Odria had just stepped down
being replaced by the democratically elected Manuel Prado. The economic situation
of the country was in poor shape so Pedro Beltran, who had been educated at the
London School of Economics, was made Prime Minister. This resulted in a swift
recovery, the cost of living improved and the exchange rate was stabilized.
found that Helena had rented a bungalow in Chaclacayo [in the Andean foothills]
and was already installed there. As this place was some 20 odd kilometres from
Lima, the first thing I had to do was buy a car. I decided on a British made Hillman
Minx. Then I had to obtain my driving licence. At the Driving Licence office,
I showed them my British licence, my Brazilian one and one from Iquitos. The only
one which seemed to impress them was the Iquitos one which was a 'professional'
one giving me permission to take passengers. So I received my Peruvian licence
without having to do any test.
had a living-in maid from the Sierra [the nearby Andes] who had
two long black plaits either side of her head. I instructed her that when I arrived
back from the office, I would toot the horn and she should then open the gates
of the house so I could drive right into the garage. The first evening I tooted
but she did not appear. I tooted again and again. Still no maid. I got out of
the car and was about to open the gates myself when she appeared. I shouted at
her, then grabbed one of her pigtails and pulled her to the gates saying "Open
them" That evening she not only served me first but stood close by. As soon
as I had finished she whipped my plate away and brought the next course. After
dinner, she hovered around me. I mentioned this peculiar behaviour at the office
next day when I was told that to pull a girl's pigtails is a sign of intense love.
We asked her to leave iimmediately!
job in Lima was as Sales Director of Textiles Generales S.A., a branch of the
British firm Duncan Fox who also owned Tejidos La Union, the cloth factory. Sales
consisted mainly of cloth produced by La Union but also woollen cloth made by
a firm in Arequipa called Lanificio. There was a manager in charge of each section
ie Wool goods and Cotton goods. There were 4 or 5 Lima salesmen.. The firm also
had Agencies in Arequipa, Trujillo and Piura, one salesman for the city itself
and the other for the surrounding countryside. I had to supervise and control
the whole sales outfit.
I studied the various types of cloth. Then I went out with each salesman in turn
to meet their clients and check their method of working. One of the Lima salesmen
was Eduardo Mathews whose zone of work was towns north and south of Lima. I travelled
with him visiting such places as Chincha, Pisco and Ica, all fascinating places.
I enjoyed his company and hearing all his tales about Peru.
to Arequipa - the 'white city'
I started to visit the Agencies. The first was Arequipa and I was accompanied
by the Accountant to show me the ropes as the Manager was to go on holiday and
I would be in charge of the Agency whilst he was away. Arequipa was a wonderful
city with a backdrop of Mount Misti, a semi extinct volcano. As I had found a
year earlier many of the old houses were fashioned from a pinkish volcanic rock
beautifully carved. There were many churches. The Cathedral formed one side of
the main square and is the only church I know with the main entrance on the side
and not at one end.
I was in Arequipa, I tried the local Pisco Sour. It was so delicious that
I decided to buy a case of the brand Toquepala. The Pisco was so lovely that I
decided to preserve it purely as a straight drink. The last bottle I finished
we obtained the representation for Montecarlo stockings from a Sr Muferich. This
was quite a success and through our Agencies we obtained a whole country distribution.
One day, Muferich held a reception in Cuzco to launch a new type of stocking and
obtained the presence of ' Miss Cuzco' . It was my job to present ' Miss Cuzco
'with the first pair. I was not greatly impressed with ' Miss Cuzco ' although
my photo was taken alongside her.
had not altered much from when I saw it in 1946. Trams were still running including
the service from Plaza San Martin, down the Colmena, then down Avenida Colonial
to Callao. There was also the service to Chorrillos through Miraflores and Barranco.
There was a service from Lima to Miraflores which after leaving Plaza Mejico,
passed by Limatambo airport and then alongside cotton fields, passed a halt named
Surquillo and to Miraflores. In 1956, Sears Roebuck built a store not far from
the airport . Apart from the cotton fields, there was nothing around and people
commented "What a crazy place to build a store so far from anywhere."
Within a few years there was a Todos supermarket and numerous buildings went up.
Then came the Banks, residential blocks and before long it became a built-up area.
courtyards of Old Lima
1957, most businesses were located in the centre of Lima. Many families still
lived there in the lovely old mansions with open courtyards and first floor balconies
jutting out over the pavement. Restaurant Raymondi was the preferred place for
lunch of the business people. One lovely mansion was the Torre Tagle building
now housing the Ministry for Foreign Affairs. One day whilst peering at the entrance
courtyard, Fernando Belaunde, a future President of Peru, happened to enter and
seeing me said "Would you like to see the interior and the chapel? Naturally
I was delighted and he gave me a wonderful tour of the building.
I fell ill with pleurisy and was hospitalized at the Good Hope Hospital. When
I was better, I realised that the journey to and from Lima each day was too much
for me so we rented a house in Orrantia close to the Lima Cricket Club which I
joined. At about that time I joined the Caledonian Society being Hon Secretary
for almost 12 years. Helena and myself enjoyed Scottish dancing each week at the
Lima Cricket Club and also the very popular St Andrews Dances. As Secretary I
was usually called upon to give one of the speeches. Later I wrote a history of
journey north along the coast
day, it was arranged for me to inspect the Piura Agency. As the salesman was going
to travel along the coast to the frontier with Ecuador, I decided to accompany
him. We called at Sullana, Paita and Tumbes. Just before Tumbes was a lovely beach
so we stopped and walked down to the water's edge. I noticed a number of bubbles
coming from the sandy beach so I scoped out some sand and found a shellfish. It
looked good so I prised it open and swallowed the lovely fish. So nice that I
dug up half a dozen more. The Tourist Hotel was most comfortable and had a garden
full of flowers. I was sitting there after lunch when I felt something nudging
my behind, It was a vicuña!
leaving Tumbes, we went in the car further north until we came to Aguas Verdes
at the frontier. There were small huts alongside the road selling all sorts of
merchandise. Three were selling cloth and the salesman told me they were our clients
so we obtained orders from them. Then with few formalities we drove over the bridge
into Ecuador. A quick look around and then back and to Piura.
day it was announced that the American management training enterprise ' Dale Carnegie'
would be holding a number of ' How to speakin public ' lessons so I decided to
enrol. This was very successful and helped me tremendously when speaking at Sales
Meetings and indeed for the rest of my commercial life. To my amazement I actually
won two prizes: ' "Best Speech 'and 'Award for Achievement '.
first chance for a trip to England
1960 my first leave came round so Helena and I flew first to Buenos Aires, then
to Rio de Janeiro where we embarked on the Italian liner Augustus for Genoa
and Naples. After an enjoyable time seeing the sights, we moved to Rome and then
to London to visit my mother and brothers. Our daughter Barbara was sent from
Lima by plane in charge of a stewardess and I met her in London. She stayed with
my mother whilst Helena and I visited my several relations as well as sightseeing.
Before leaving Lima I arranged to sell my Hillman back to Peruvian Autos and in
exchange they arranged for me to pick up a new Hillman in London. We had booked
to return to Lima aboard the PSNC Reina del Mar. However, on sailing
day the crew went on strike so the firm arranged for us to have our meals at the
Adelphi Hotel. After several days, the company told us to disembark and stay at
a hotel until the strike was over. This lasted a few days, then we returned to
the ship and sailed. We had a wonderful time aboard, swimming in the pool, dancing
our return to Lima, Helena had an attack of asthma which got so bad that on one
occasion she was rushed to hospital. I came to the conclusion that we would have
to return to living in Chaclacayo. One of my salesmen told me his father had a
house to rent so I took it on the spot. With the help of Eudocia, the nursemaid
for our son Andrew we moved the following day.
plot of land, 500 square metres, came available at the corner of Los Cedros and
Las Dalias so I bought it. I found an architect. I told him I wanted a single
storey house facing the sun, with 3 bedrooms, living and dining room, a maid's
room and a workshop. Then I found a builder who estimated the cost would be S/10,000.00.
Helena's cousin, who worked in the Banco Hipoticario, obtained a mortgage payable
over 10 years at 5% p.a. Construction began. However, when much of the house had
been built, I discovered that the builder had been using part of the funds from
the bank to finance his business in the fishing industry. His foreman agreed to
complete the house with the remainder of the funds plus what he could get back
from the builder. All went well until it came to the construction of the fireplace.
I wanted a smoke free chimney and from my experience of other smoking chimneys,
I drew a plan which entailed a straight flue and a lip at the top front of the
fireplace. The foreman said it would not work and refused to carry on. Then one
of the workmen offered to do it without any responsibility. The
result. A smokeless chimney!
1962 there were political upheavals which ended in the army breaking into the
Palace and arresting Manuel Prado. General Perez Godoy took charge to be replaced
shortly afterwards by General Nicholas Lindley. Then in June 1963 elections were
held and Fernando Belaunde was elected President. As the public expenditure was
increasing, Manuel Ulloa was named Minister of Finance.
in 1963 my second home leave came up. This time we, with our daughter Barbara
now 12, flew first to Mexico and then to New York. After a sightseeing visit we
flew to London where we were met by my brother Graham. Again I decided to change
my 1960 Hillman for a new one. On the windscreen was a sticker which read ' Visitor
to Britain '. I was informed that this would help me if I got into trouble. About
two days later we were driving down Piccadilly just past the Ritz Hotel. There
was a policeman on duty in the middle of the road. Suddenly Helena said "I
don't want to go to Piccadilly Circus but to Victoria" so I did a "U"
turn around the back of the policeman. He whistled so I stopped. He came over
to the car but when he saw the sticker, he said "Sorry, Sir, but in England
you are not allowed to do "U" turns in the middle of the road."
Then he asked from where I came. When I said Peru, he mentioned that he hoped
to go there one day. Then he saluted and we drove off.
the usual rounds of meeting family relatives etc and travelling by car around
England, Helena decided to stay a little longer and return by ship whilst I, with
Barbara, returned by plane.
now bought a lovely VW car which was a joy to drive. Helena wanted to drive too
so I gave her a few lessons. Then she would drive around Chaclacayo doing the
shopping etc although she had no licence. She once gave the Chief of the Police
week ends we would go to the Bosque Club on the way to Chosica. This was a gorgeous
place. It was on the side of a small mountain with roads leading all around the
grounds so we could find a nice spot, stop the car and picnic amongst the trees.
There was also a swimming pool and restaurant'