Following Dirk’s explanation of his injuries, escape from Germany and new position as a recruiter for the SIS, Jinnie wanted to know why he was telling her and how he knew she was starting a degree in Cambridge. But more than anything she was anxious for word of her university friends Simone, Jan and Paolo, especially Paolo. Dirk said that the last time he had seen them was just before he had left for Menton. When they had all been well but it was obvious that Paolo was missing her. He reported that Simone and Jan were growing closer and had been talking of Simone moving into the boys flat for the next university year which was starting now. Given that the fighting in England had only stopped after he had left Germany he was not fully up to date with news but assured her that he would have heard if there were any problems.
Jinnie then asked Dirk if it was him that had facilitated her interview for Cambridge. He grinned, and explained that once he started working for the intelligence services and knew he was going to work in Cambridge as a recruiter his first thoughts had been to think through who he knew there who would be a suitable recruit. The answer was no one. So he started thinking about people he knew who might be going there soon. He knew of the children of several officers he had served with and settled on indirectly encouraging two sons and a daughter to apply, then making sure they got interviewed by speaking to the members of the panel. Jinnie suddenly realised he was talking about Nigel, Jason and Carol. Jason and Carol she could understand, but Nigel the creepy geek?
Dirk must have read her mind because he said, “Nigel might appear a little weird, but he really is painfully shy and it is all his cover. However, he is a wonderfully talented mathematician. I can see him as a computer wizard and code breaker.” It was all coming together for Jinnie now, he wanted her to join MI6, but why was he revealing this to her now? Again Dirk was reading her mind, he explained that he would once again be taking her for conversational German and consequently he had to explain to her how he came to be there. The other three were not taking German so they had no need to know what he had planned for them, until the appropriate time. He needed to be sure about them before revealing what he had planned for them. He then asked Jinnie not to reveal what was in store for her roommates and she, of course, agreed.
Dirk went on to explain that all the time he was arranging interviews for those three he had something nagging in his head that he was missing something, there was somebody he knew who should be in this group. It had hit him one day when he had been reading in The Times about the funeral of Ethel Jennings. It was the headline “The Death of a Very British Heroine” that had attracted him. Once he started to read the obituary he was hooked on the story of an old lady who had spent most of her adult life fighting for a free England and how a few true friends she had organised a press campaign to get a crowd at her funeral. He had finished the article and glanced at the accompanying photo and there at the interment was Jinnie Walsh with a younger girl who just had to be her sister.
Dirk continued that he had to act quickly as officially all the offers for the Autumn had already been made. He spoke to the head of the languages department, who knew of Dirk’s dual role, and explained that Jinnie was one of the most talented students he had ever had the privilege of teaching and that she had had to abandon her course in Berlin when she was clearly on her way to a First Class Honours Degree in German. To encourage the college to consider her, he got the SIS to agree to sponsor her with a Bursary and a large contribution to college funds, but only if they accepted her. Fitzwilliam College were never one to turn away money and had negotiated a permanent annual bursary with the SIS before agreeing to interview her. After setting all this up Dirk thought he better run a background security check on her, just to be on the safe side. Jinnie passed the check with flying colours and it was only when reading the report that he had leant about Jinnie’s connection with Ethel, her inheritance, her part in the destruction of the Welwyn rail viaduct and the destruction of a German headquarters unit. The more he read the more sure he became certain that she was the right choice to become an SIS agent.
Of course, he didn’t tell Jinnie he had run the check on her, simply that he had convinced the college to interview her and that they had been impressed by her knowledge of German, her Munich accent and her maturity. The Chairman of the Panel that interviewed Jinnie had told Dirk that she was by far the best candidate they had seen in many a year and that they had unanimously agreed to offer her a place. Again Dirk was reluctant to tell this to Jinnie. However, he did tell her that on passing her degree there would be a position for her in MI6 and he thought she would make an ideal field agent.
To that end, he suggested that when the new flatmates returned she should suggest wandering around the freshers’ fair and that she should sign up for the University Officer Training Corp. As an officer cadet she would be expected to attend an evening drill once a week, make herself available for a minimum of eight training weekends a year and for a two-week summer training camp. As an officer cadet, she would be paid a monthly sum, with a bonus for every weekend, over eight, that she trained or took part in official events. Jinnie had been wondering what clubs to sign up to and realised that this could be just what she wanted to do. She decided that she would also sign up for the gym as she really enjoyed it and that the added fitness could help with the OTC.
Jinnie glanced at her watch and realised that her flatmates were due back shortly. Dirk spotted the glance and said that he would see her tomorrow at the meet the lecturers event, struggled to his feet and before he hobbled off he said to her, “Oh, by the way, I think you should learn Italian as well as German and French. You’ll have plenty of time on your hands as we can’t teach you much more German”. Jinnie watched him go and realised how different his movement was, in Berlin he had always seemed to suddenly turn away and disappear. Then his leaving remark hit her, Italian, just what did he have in mind? Jinnie drained the dregs of her cold coffee and sat there thinking back to that day in the summer when those three fateful letters had dropped through her letterbox.
She was still deep in thought when Carol and Jason returned and brought her back to her senses. They had both signed up for accounts with Barclays as they were adding £200 to their accounts balances. A lot of money to them, peanuts for Jinnie, but she was not about to tell them that! The three of them wandered off to the fresher’s fair and when they got to the OTC stall Jinnie made a point of picking up a couple of their leaflets. Carol and Jason wandered over to a nearby stall, while Jinnie was approached by a recruiting sergeant. Jinnie asked him about firearms training and the sergeant said yes, it would be part of the officer training and did she have any firearms experience. She thought better of telling him that she had been on her Berlin University shooting team and that she had shot dead a couple of Germans, so she said yes she had shot at a local club, which was true.
The sergeant said that would set her in good stead but the military training went further and included things like dissembling and reassembling a gun while blindfold. Jinnie thought she would have no problem with that as she had already done it at home with her resistance pistol when she had been hanging around in the summer. The sergeant was delighted when she signed up, he told her that he was actually the units small arms instructor and that he would be delighted to see her in the drill hall on Wednesday evening when she would be issued with her uniform. Jinnie hadn’t considered that she would have to wear a uniform and suddenly visualised herself in ill-fitting Khaki.
Jinnie rejoined Carol and Jason who expressed their shock at her signing up for the OTC, which Jinnie explained to them as a way to be paid to carry on her shooting hobby, which they seemed to accept. They didn’t express any surprise when Jinnie signed up for the university gym club, especially as Jason did the same, he also joined the rugby club. Carol surprise Jinnie as she joined the debating society and the women’s football club. Carol explained that she had learnt to play at school and had become quite a decent winger and had turned down an apprenticeship with Arsenal Women to take up her place at university. As they walked back to the flat they spotted Nigel who was at the maths society stand. After what she had been told by Dirk it didn’t come as a shock to Jinnie, but she went along with Carol when she said it seemed about right for him.
That evening the three of them decided to visit the Students Union as the drinks were said to be very cheap. They were just about to invite Nigel to join them when they heard the front door bang shut as he went out. The Students Union bar was pretty big and well-frequented for a Monday night. Service was awfully slow and there were many audible moans about it. The bar staff were very pushed and several of them were obviously new. When Jinnie went to the bar for a round, she got chatting to the bar manager who was serving her. He apologised for the slow service saying that he was very short of staff and those that he did have were new to serving behind a bar and had no idea what they were doing. Before she thought about what she was doing Jinnie told him she had bar experience and would he like an extra hand for the evening? He jumped at the offer and within a few minutes Jinnie had abandoned her new friends, was serving pints.
A short while later Jinnie was asked for cheese and onion crisps and the manager pointed her around a corner to where the boxes of crisps lived. Much to Jinnie’s astonishment who should be sitting around the corner on a bar stool but Nigel with a nearly empty pint glass in front of him. Jinnie finished serving the customer who wanted the crisps and decided to see if she could get any conversation out of Nigel the shy mathematical geek. She asked him if he wanted another drink and he asked for a pint of Doom Bar. Jinnie poured the pint and took it to him commenting that he was obviously a man of taste as the real ale was probably the best beer on offer in the bar. Nigel said yes it was OK but he was really a craft ale man and his favourite was a pint of Hooky. Jinnie replied she knew of the Hook Norton brewery but the pub she had previously worked in had been a tied house that occasionally had a guest beer. While she worked there they had never had Hooky as the guest. Nigel said that they obviously didn’t know what they were missing. Jinnie was pleased with herself, she had finally got Nigel to speak a couple of sentences. But before she could engage in any further conversation she had another customer to serve. Next time she looked around the corner of the bar, the barstool was empty and there was an empty pint glass was on the bar in front of where Nigel had been sitting.
At the end of the evening, the bar manager paid her out of the till, which she had really hadn’t expected as she thought she was just helping out, and suggested that she might like to serve a few sessions a week. However, it would have to be on the books! She had enjoyed the evening, met a lot of her fellow students, got a couple of free drinks and pocketed a few quid when she had told customers who offered to buy her a drink that she already had one but she would put the money aside for later. On top of that, she had been paid! She thought for a moment and realised that Wednesday evenings were out as it was drill night, Saturday and Sunday she wanted free for the OTC. She was about to say she would be available to work Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday evenings when she realised that perhaps she should keep Fridays free for weekend camps and early nights. The bar manager said that those three nights were perfect, they were usually the quietest and a pretty barmaid always brings the customers in.
Jinnie’s flatmates were waiting for her as she left the bar and walked back to the flat with her. On the way, she told them she had accepted a job offer. “Gosh, you don’t hang around do you?” Carol said, “Now that is the sort of job that would suit me.” Jinnie said she was back on duty from seven the next evening, if Carol was serious she should come with her and she would have a word with Steve, the bar manager, as he had said he was still looking for staff. At first, Carol wasn’t sure as the only bar experience she had was on the drinker’s side of the bar. Jinnie said for her not to worry, she would offer to train her and as she was attractive and personable, she was sure Steve would offer her a trial at least.
Jinnie then told them about her encounter with Nigel and floated the idea with them that his odd behaviour around the flat was because he was painfully shy. She explained that when she got him talking about beer he had become quite chatty and mentioned that his favourite beer was Hooky. Jason smiled and said, “Well if he likes pints of Hooky he can’t be that weird.” He went on to say that the Doom Bar had been nice but in his opinion, Hooky was far better. Now that got Jinnie thinking, tomorrow evening she would try approaching a few customers about beers and would they like a craft beer offering? If she got a decent number saying “yes” she would suggest to Steve that he should run a trial with Hooky, she already knew at least two customers would be interested!
One of the things that Jinnie loved about this flat was that all the bedrooms were en-suite, no queueing for a shared bathroom. No arguments about leaving the WC seat up or who left the shower dirty. Before getting into bed Jinnie turned the thumb lock on her bedroom door, she didn’t want a sleepwalker visiting in the night, she had been there before. Jinnie dropped off to sleep thinking over the events of the day and the beauty of moving into a brand new flat.
In Chapter 4 – Jinnie meets the Lecturers.
The Goodnight Vienna Audio file