I arrived at Evode in 1967, after the company had been floated on the London Stock Exchange. It was no longer the old-style family organisation which many of my former colleagues remember but it was a totally different environment from the one I had left. I had been newly promoted Principal Scientific Officer at AWRE, Aldermaston, engaged in some exotic aspects of the design and construction of nuclear weapons. After meeting Vasek Vohralik at an international conference on adhesives technology I was ultimately persuaded to come to Stafford to meet Dr Simon and was given the opportunity to join this comparatively small organisation.
Shortly after my arrival there was a reorganisation in the company with the separation of industrial, building and consumer businesses and to provide technical assistance to the new Industrial Division I was asked to establish the Industrial Products Laboratory.
One day I received a call to go to Dr Simon’s office, something never seen as routine! He had found that the Building Research Establishment at Garston, Watford was holding an open day and asked me to make arrangements for him and me to attend.
It had been decided that we would travel by road on the day in question. The Doctors’ Daimler, with the faithful Simms at the wheel, duly arrived at our house in Sandringham Road just before eight o’clock. My wife and (then) two young boys stood at the door and waved us off, with Dr Simon in the front passenger seat and with me in solitary splendour in the back.
I was offered the Financial Times to read as we sped down the M6. I felt very important, sitting in a chauffeur-driven limousine with the FT! Somewhere near Corley Services Dr Simon produced a brown paper bag. He said that he had picked some apples that morning and asked if I would like to have one. I said I would indeed like to have one and in no time we were both munching away. Then came the problem, what to do with the core! I could hardly stuff it in the ashtray, could I ? Neither did it seem appropriate to open the window of a Daimler, no less, and chuck the offending item onto the M1.
So I sat back and watched to see what Dr Simon would do with his core. He simply ate it, pips and all! I was left with a rapidly deteriorating apple core in my hand until we reached the car park at BRE, when I was able at last to ditch the offending thing under the Daimler.
31 January 2001