The teaching was going to plan but slowly. By the time of the second week I had a son, I had a telex from the bank in London and they assured me that all was safe with the mother and baby. As for my son’s arrival that was happy news and on telling the steward at the villa I was rewarded with eggs with full yolks. I decided to name him Louis, as I rather admired Mountbatten. I sent a telex back to his mother and awaited an answer.
The course was making progress on understanding the structure of the markets. The main thing I tried to impart about foreign exchange is that it is always a zero sum activity. That means when you buy a currency someone must sell it to you and the net result of that being zero in that currency. The difference in the price will be a profit or a loss to the seller on the other currency. If it is a profit then that amount is credited to a bank account and of course someone’s profit is another’s loss. And so it goes on and if there was an audit trail it should always come to zero on all accounts. Apart from tax havens that hid the profits. This was a concept that had to be fully understood by the group but I avoided discussing tax.
I split them into six pairs and was going to put them into separate rooms that I could connect by telephones that I had brought out with me and each phone would be linked by D10 wire going through a central switch board. That is where I would manage the exercise. D10 wire is a military grade item and I had purloined or even stolen a few reels from the stores at my Regiment in London. It was coated in black plastic and was very hard wearing. Some years earlier on Salisbury Plain I was asked to arrange and connect a 25 pounder gun battery command post back to the field headquarters, a distance of almost a mile. This was before mobile phones and was more secure, unless cows nibbled through it. As the officer I secured a Land Rover and with a hapless Trooper lying on his back he reeled out the wire. It was wound around several wooden staves and of course it hadn’t been put away correctly the previous week so was badly knotted and in a bad state. By the time we reached the guns it was obvious that the wire would not reach. It was about twenty feet short to their telephone connection. So we either had to move the gun battery back or stretch and pull the wire till it would have probably snapped or, and we were spared that alternative as a loud shout of ‘end ex’ was heard and the exercise finished. I left the Trooper with the task of getting all the wire back into another rat’s nest and went off to the Mess for lunch.
At the Head Office David and I spent the day arranging the rooms, putting the phones and wires in order and establishing the switchboard in my control room. I had another source of help. At the end of each session junior clerks who were not on the course waited outside the classrooms to take photocopied lesson notes from waste paper baskets. This was free education for them and we spent many extra hours helping those who were not asked to the class. Their enthusiasm was humbling.
Tomorrow we would start the dealing game, but for now it was back to the villa, some Star beer and an early night.