It was after the second World War when the ‘Urney’ family, (and as everyone knows that means ‘first’ in ancient Greek) along with their young son ‘Jo,’ moved away from their motherland of Greece and settled in the U.K. Up to that period and for three generations before, they were recognised as business people in dairy farming.
Following their losses at the hands of the invader of their homeland they salvaged what they could and managed to set up a similar business in Southern England.
As the British in the nineteen fifties struggled to recover from the period of conflict, of the previous decade and were starting to flourish, so did the Greek family. They were very proud of the fast delivery service of dairy products where their milk carts would go out daily to serve their customer, it was often said “Urney’s had the fastest milk carts in the West.”
Their son ‘Jo’ was a sad disappointment to his parents as he refused to follow in their footsteps and became the first ‘Urney’ to ignore the family business and go out in the world and earn a living other than in the dairy industry. As a child, and as a result of the original travelling away from the family’s homeland, the desire to travel had been induced in him.
Jo scoured the newspapers looking for work that included travelling and was content when he managed to gain a post as a ‘Client Service Manager’ with a shipping company. He was not too disappointed when he realised it was a ferry company and what he thought was a very important job turned out to be a steward standing behind a bar serving drinks, and all the other chores of clearing up that went with it. Nevertheless, he persevered with his employment.
From a very young boy Jo had been fastidious in keeping a diary and each day before retiring he would make notes of the activities hour by hour. The ferry, with him on board, travelled back and forth to France on a daily basis. Jo, besides serving, made notes of the actions and deeds of the travelling public.
In his twentieth year of working on the ship and finally being promoted to Purser, he gathered up his writings and put them into book form. It was A5 in size with an attractive red cover and the name ‘Journey’ flourished in Gold print across the front of the finished item. It looked impressive.
He had a large number of them printed and travelled around the small shops delivering them, on the understanding the owners of each individual business would pay him, when he called on them at a later time, for the ones they had sold.
The first week came to an end and he set off to collect the revenue. At the first small shop on a corner, with its wares displayed to the front also adverts plastered over the windows describing its stock, he pushed the door, as it opened it set off a bell attached to the top of it on a spring,.
Behind the counter was Mr Singh, wearing a coloured turban on his head and who was serving a customer. He looked up at the sound and with a long face and shaking his head saying in broken English “Journey! not taken.”
Story Telling at Percy Chattey Books