Much of a muchness

Things that make you go 'hmm'…


When I was a little girl aged 9, one of my best friends was a boy called Andrew. He lived just down the road from my family, his mum was my mum’s friend and his sisters played with mine. We were friends until his family emigrated to Australia when I was 14.

Years later, when I was married and living in Hemel Hempstead, I went into London for the day with my husband and some friends. We decided not to drive into the centre of London so we parked in St John’s Wood and caught the tube. We got on the first train that arrived but quickly realised we were going in the wrong direction so we jumped off that train, ran across the platform and jumped on one going the right way. As we sat chatting, a guy who was sitting next to us, said ‘Hello, Diane’ – it was Andrew with his wife, Helen. They had come back to the UK to see if they wanted to return permanently and were living in – you’ve guessed it – Hemel Hempstead! They had just made the decision to return to Australia, and it was another 20 years until we met again for the day in London while they were on a visit in 2002 and I met them again this week. Each time we meet, it’s like we had only seen each other a few days ago – except with lots of news to catch up on.

If we had not decided to go into London that day, not decided to park in St Johns Wood, not got on the wrong train, not sat in that particular carriage….we would probably have never met up again. On the way home on the train yesterday, I sent them a text to thank them for the visit and to wish them a safe journey home, just as I pressed ‘send’ a text arrived from them saying the same thing. Spooky!

I love hearing stories of coincidences like these – synchronicity, happenstance – whatever you call it. All a bit ‘Sliding Doors’. Now that was a depressing film…and a happy one at the same time…. There was one particular quote from this film which made me laugh

‘Gerry, I’m a woman! We don’t say what we WANT! But we reserve the right to get pissed off if we don’t get it. That’s what makes us so fascinating! And not a little bit scary.’

You have been warned!

I also must recommend a great book by Carol Shields which I read years ago called ‘Happenstance’. It was the story of a marriage told from first the wife’s perspective and then when you had finished the first half of the book, you turned it over and started reading from the front again – the husband’s story, or of course, you could have started the other way round. I have always thought it was a clever way to show that there are two sides to every story and giving both of them equal importance.

By the way, the illustration at the top of the page is by Edward Monkton, who makes a range of hilarious greeting cards, based on the ‘Interesting Thoughts of Edward Monkton’.


17 responses to “Synchronicity

  1. Jenny May 16, 2008 at 1:19 am

    I adore Edward Monkton! I have a link to his site from mine, and I look at his gallery all the time! Also my “iGoogle” homepage is decorated with his art! I like the Happiness Hamsters and Zen Dog!

    I just watched Sliding Doors yesterday! I love that guy who plays James. And Gwyneth is always great. Good line delivered by Jeanne Tripplehorn too! Sooo true.

    How’s that for happenstance?

  2. Jenny May 16, 2008 at 1:23 am

    Actually it’s the “madness” hamsters, LOL! Makes way more sense.

    Every night they visit you/Every night they come/And bit by bit they steal your brain/And feed it to their MUM.

  3. Nihal May 16, 2008 at 5:33 am

    This subject really facinates me! I sometimes sit and wonder about similar things like these all the time, and yes it does sound spooky at times.

    But I believe this goes to prove that there is indeed another powerful force above us that is in existence. I sometimes think about a person so much that, eventually one day I would bump into them at the most strangest of times unexpectedly!

  4. Daddy Papersurfer May 16, 2008 at 6:33 am

    I was hoping you’d pop over yesterday which turned into ‘Poets Day’ by accident. If you had, I would have said:

    The Queen of paper is here I see
    To London she’s been without me
    Her parking is pants
    It starts off her rants
    So by train she does go – oh yippee

    How spooky is that? It isn’t at all – which in itself is anti-spooky …….. strange huh?

    ‘And not a little bit scary.’ – tell be about it!!!!

  5. Diane May 16, 2008 at 10:11 am

    Jenny – that is very spooky! So many coincidences!
    I love Edward Monkton, I have his screensaver and am particularly fond of the Penguin of Death – “he is strangely attractive because of his enigmatic smile – and he can kill you in any one of 412 different ways” :-)

    Nihal – I often wonder how many times you must just miss bumping into someone by seconds – they turn a corner a split second before you do or something like that :-)
    I would love to think I could conjure someone up just by thinking of them. I sometimes used to think I could get my ex to phone me just by thinking of him – but that was probably just because I thought about him a lot!

    Daddy P – oh tee hee, you are quite the poet
    As for ladies, in control
    You surely ought to know it.

    Lo, TG, seems to me, to have you quite sorted
    Keeps you well under her thumb
    And all your plans well thwarted. :-)

    Ta dah! I thank you…..

  6. 70steen May 16, 2008 at 10:13 am

    what a fabulous co-incidence/ happening… I wonder what would the odds be on that happening at all.

    Not seen Sliding Doors in years. may have to have a re run and I will look out for the ‘Happenstance’ I am always looking for good reads to distract from some smelly armpit in my face on packed commuter trains lol

  7. durano lawayan May 16, 2008 at 10:46 am

    Hi Diane,

    Lovely clip. I’ve always liked Gwenneth Paltrow. She looks deceivingly weak but has a lot of inner strength.

    I don’t know it I have it right, but what you call Happenstance may be the same as serendipity. :-) –Durano, done!

  8. strugglingwriter May 16, 2008 at 3:14 pm

    I liked that clip a lot. Thanks.

    That was spooky about that text message thing and all. Sounds like a great friend.

    Funny comic.

    Anyhow, we have an episode of Doctor Who playing tonight. It’s the one after The Planet of the Ood. This one has the first appearance of Martha for this season.

  9. Diane May 16, 2008 at 3:28 pm

    70steen – the chances must be infinitesimal, I would have thought. That’s why I love things like that :-)
    If you want some good books, check out my ‘I Like’ page – lots I have enjoyed there :-)

    Durano – Gwyneth is cool isn’t she? I think serendipity (lovely word!) is finding something when you are looking for something else. On second thoughts, that’s what happened with Andrew and Helen ….. :-)

    Paul – Andrew has the best memory! He remembers absolutely everyone from our childhood so it is great fun reminiscing about the good old days :-)

    Did you enjoy the Ood episode? I thought it was very moving….
    Martha is great! I’m even warming to Catherine Tate!

  10. The Rev. May 16, 2008 at 4:10 pm

    Great story! Life can be quite strange sometimes.

    I’m currently dating a girl I first met when we were fifteen at a three week long summer camp! After almost a decade, during which we kept semi-contact, I randomly invited her down to Memphis just for a friendly visit. Obviously, things didn’t go as planned, and, seven months later, I’m still thrilled.

    If we’d not happened to be at that camp or hadn’t chanced upon each other at said camp, we’d both be living different lives currently. Curious to think about.

    -The Rev.

  11. Lady Banana May 16, 2008 at 6:16 pm

    That’s an amazing coincidence.

    I love it when things happen like that.

    Only a few days ago I was thinking of someone I’d not seen in years, then walking to work there they were.. now that made me shiver… really freaky!

  12. Diane May 16, 2008 at 11:52 pm

    The Rev – I love these stories. It just makes me think that these things are meant to be and happen for a reason!

    Lady B – that is very weird isn’t it? I used to think of my boyfriend and then the phone would ring and it was him – more times than was normal I’m sure :-)

  13. tulibri May 17, 2008 at 1:56 pm

    What a touching story of a friendship. Thank you so much for sharing this!

  14. Diane May 17, 2008 at 5:44 pm

    Glad you enjoyed it. I certainly enjoyed meeting up with them again!
    Next time in Australia – woo hoo!

  15. Teresa May 19, 2008 at 4:00 pm

    That’s is very cool about your synchronous friendship with Andrew! I think you should write a book based on it. Speaking of which, I’ve placed Sliding Doors in my NetFlix queue and I’m going to borrow Happenstance from the library. :)

  16. Diane May 29, 2008 at 10:56 am

    Teresa – I hope you enjoy them – let me know!

    beachbungalow8 – glad you enjoyed it – thanks :-)

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