Every morning, for the next four days, was to be a case of who gets there first. I meant the tube trains or me. If I was a bit late, I risk tipping the balance that is set at 8.45am Brimsdown Station. And so, for that I learnt to walk very very fast. I've never walked very fast back home, even if I was jogging, I just wasn't fast.
The first few days I was here, I often thought to myself, these Londoners, they always seemed hurried. Scattering around, often with coffee in one hand and I-phone or the Metro paper in the other, they walked very very fast, almost running at times. They seemed to always have somewhere to be, fast. And now, I know.
PME just moved their office from Harrow Road to Brimsdown Industrial Park in Enfield. It's a journey worth 1 hour and 15 minutes of my time, every morning, on the H&C line and the East Anglia Rail Trains.
On the first day I reached Brimsdown Station, I had no idea where I was supposed to go. Armed with an address and a hand luggage full of stuff, I made my way to the main road, vaguely remembering the map someone sent me earlier. I know I was supposed to go to the right. But then what?
The road was really quiet. I was early coz it was only 8 am. There was a black dude looking at me suspiciously, as I shot a look back at him, also with suspicion. I walked on, very fast. I saw a guy somewhere near a factory and asked him how to get to no 23, Jeffreys Road. He had no idea. Oh gosh!
Well, it's a good thing the Brits can't live without their maps. He took out his thick map book, and flipped through, and there it was. Jeffreys Road. I thank the gentleman and dragging my luggage in one hand, and a Nero Coffee in another, I continue my early morning adventure, finding PME.
After what seemed like the longest walk, I saw the sign, Jeffreys Road. I looked at the address, no 23. Man!! Why can't they settle for no 2 or 3? Why 23? I was sweating on that cold summer morning.
Dragging the bag on the tarred road made the loudest noise on a quiet morning. I think I could be heard all through Brimsdown. I passed no 1, and 2 and so on and so forth. These are factories mind you. So no 1 or 2 or next covered quite a large area of their own, including parking spaces..imagine how far away no 23 is....
As I appproached no 23, a car passed by me and made a turn. A lady came down and smiled at me. Hmmmm...I thought this must be someone from PME so I said " Are you Pat?" Yes she said, are you here for the seminar? Yep!! Did you walk from the station she chirped... Yes maam, I must've loose a few kilos there, I was trying to cover up my huffs and puffs nicely...after walking for almost 40 mins, I guess didn't quite do a good job.
I was the first one there. I settled down quickly, choosing a seat right in the center. Soon after, the other students began to walk thru the door. We introduced ourselves and sat our places while Pat got busy gathering her staff.
While settling down earlier I saw a guy that looked familiar. I've seen that shy face somewhere. So when Pat introduced Lisa Slatter and Tony, I quickly gathered it was Tony Warren. Oh my oh my!! Tony Warren! He's like, one of the leading master in sugar flower. I have one or 2 of his books, particularly the one he worked on with Tombi Pecks and Alan Dunn. Wow!! Just my luck that he was recruited on board to teach PME together with Lisa, taking over from Pat, who was, of course promoted to a busier position.
I went through the rest of the day, of course dreamily. Not because I was sleepy, but because here I was, taking in all I can, from the experts, in Cake Decorating industry. It's something that I've only dreamt of, until now. I mean, who am I really?. I'm still green in the industry compared to my colleagues here who attended the seminar.
Chineze (pronounced Che Ne Ze and not chinese) from Nigeria, she had been doing Cake decorating for more than 10 years, and has one of the largest school of cake deco in Nigeria. Efua, from Ghana, she has 100s of students graduating from her school every 6 months, especially from the Wilton course.
Jens from Germany, he had been doing this seriously (and he is a serious guy) for all his life. He's starting a Cake Deco Club back home with almost 6000 club members already available to sign up..
And the rest carried more or less the same kind of resume. We have a team from Ireland who owned a bakery and school, Indonesian team and one of them, Fatma also teaches in Malaysia and has already 2 books in her belt...and the list went on. All very impressive.
So I was feeling rather small. I should just take my seat and sit somewhere in the back, at a corner...but the group was great. They are great people. Humble and always helpful, and cheerful, (goshhh, we did laugh quite a bit there now, didn't we?) they made me felt like I was one of them. When I grow up, I want to be just like them..:-)
Jens (pronounced Yens)