Coincidences and Connections

100_5987One of my life’s pleasures at this time of year is enjoying a cup of coffee in the garden early in the morning, about 7 am, when the sun rises above the tree line and floods the patio with warmth. It’s peaceful and calm with only the birds for company and has become my time for reflection, for planning what needs doing in the garden, what doesn’t work where and to appreciate what is now coming into full flourish. This morning I noticed the crocosmia is about to burst into flower, its orange flowers in vivid contrast to the green sword leaves. It’s not something I’ve planted, they’ve escaped from next door but I don’t mind as they always remind me of happy times as a child spent visiting a friend of my mother’s.100_5206

Years ago when I was a child we lived in Hounslow, West London. Mum is German, and one day went to the aid of another German lady who couldn’t speak English having difficulty making herself understood to a shop assistant. From then on, Mum and this lady (whose name for the life of me I can’t remember!) became firm friends and Mum would regularly go for coffee and cake at her house, often with me tagging along. She lived in Hounslow Barracks with her military husband, and whilst she and Mum sat nattering away in German far too fast for me to follow the conversation, I was left to my own devices reading and playing. In summer we would sit in her garden.  The garden was nothing more than a tiny patio and a small square of lawn with one corner given over to a large clump of crocosmia, or as we knew them then, monbretia. I thought they were fascinating, elegant flowers and, when I found them growing of their own accord in my garden, I was more than content to leave them in and enjoy them.

Here I am some 50 years later living a good hundred miles away but the connection to Hounslow, although tenuous, has manifested itself through the friendship of a fellow author, Avis Randall, who I met through the RNA chapter  in Bristol, which is how I also got to know and befriend Tricia. Avis’s husband at the time was terminally ill. It wasn’t until a few years after she was widowed that we became close friends. It transpired that her husband was in fact born in Hounslow, and spent much of his early childhood living in Hounslow Barracks, his father being a high ranking military officer stationed there. Talk of a small world! I also learned that her husband’s favourite singer, one whom he listened to constantly, is also my all-time favourite and who I usually play whilst driving the car: the folk singer Ralph McTell; and we apparently both frequented the same pub in the late 1960s and early 70s where Ralph often played.

Coincidence? Yes, but I do find it fascinating how we can find ourselves connected to people or place, often in the most obscure situations. A few years ago my husband and I went on a rare holiday (for him) to Barbados. The first morning there we ventured early onto the beach. A few palm trees away sat another couple. “I don’t believe it,” I exclaimed to my husband, “I’ve come all this way to find myself sitting next to someone wearing exactly the same swimming costume!” Dave laughed and said, “I don’t believe it either. That’s my cousin Tony and his wife!”  They were even on the same flight as us the day before but we hadn’t seen each other until that moment on the beach.

Collingbourne Ducis

Collingbourne Ducis

On another occasion, I was reading a novel one evening and came across a place called Collingbourne Ducis; a village I’d never heard of. I’m a pretty well-travelled lady in the UK, so I had assumed the author had made the name up.  The next day was one of my special days out with my husband. He ran a delivery business, covering the West Country and Wales. If ever I was on leave from my job or we had Saturday deliveries, I would frequently go with him, such as on this day. “You’re going to enjoy where we’re going today,” Dave said, loading the van with computers at the depot. Imagine my surprise when our first port of call that morning was to an address in Collingbourne Ducis! It did exist, and it’s a beautiful, quintessential English village in Wiltshire. It was eerie to find myself there having only coming across the name the evening before. Spooky!

Has anything like that ever happened to you?


11 responses to “Coincidences and Connections

  1. It has. We’ve run into people we know or grew up with but haven’t seen for years in Branson Ms. The couple we were with teased my husband they knew he knew everyone at home but… It’s a strange world sometimes.

    I love the pictures of you garden. Do you some special fertilizer. I’m trying to get a handle on this one.

  2. I use a spoon of Miracle Grow plant food in the watering can about once a month, Lavada, that’s all and sometimes add a mixture of fish and bone or chicken manure pellets to soil if planting something new. The garden was once a vegetable garden so over the years had a lot of manure and compost added so I suppose I still am reaping the benefit. And of course, plenty of rain here helps too! I did have some better photos to upload to but my camera battery died on me this morning and is still on charge. It’s taken me about six or seven years to get it to this stage. Long slow but enjoyable process.

    • So maybe with only a year here, and the yard being torn up with the new patio, I should be patient. Jack was the gardener in the family. He could make nearly anything grow. Me, I just enjoyed it after the fact but I’m finding myself enjoying even the weeding lately. Of course this yard is smaller so it doesn’t feel so overwhelming.

      • Much patience indeed needed. I’ve had many failures and plenty of plants that have turned up their toes and died despite supposedly being perennials. Most of it is trial and error. I find weeding satisfying to do, and just doing a little each day doesn’t make the task onerous and keeps it under control. 🙂

  3. This is one of my favorite times of the year at OTBF. We get to see Kit’s garden flourishing! The pictures are lovely, Kit. As for coincidences and connections, I feel like I am constantly running smack dab into coincidences in my life. However, I can’t at the moment think of a single one! (Hmmm, senior moment?) What I find fascinating, though, is you can be anywhere, chatting with anyone, and find a connection. It’s the coolest thing in the world, I think.

    • Thanks, Laurie. I did have some photos but shall save them for next time. Used to find that no matter where I went, someone always knew my brother or my father and has caused some embarrassing moments too. But I do find it fun and love finding out where people come from. 🙂

  4. Valerie J. Patterson

    It is indeed a small world. My mom always said she and my dad could travel anywhere in the world and he would ultimately come across someone who knew him. Wherever they went, they always ran into someone who knew my dad.

    Love your garden, Kit. And I enjoy reading about your time spent there. 😛

  5. It was the same with my dad too, Valerie. Someone always knew him. Garden’s come in for a little revamping and removing of old shrubs this year so not as good as I plant it to be next year – if I can find the particular plants I’m after. Trouble is they are so expensive, but do bring a lot of pleasure. 🙂

  6. I’ve been lucky enough to see Kit’s garden for real and it is stunning! So beautiful, colourful and inspirational. I always come away feeling very motivated to get to grips with my own patch after seeing yours, Kit. Am going to put some Miracle Grow on the crocosmia as only leaves at the moment. It might need your magic touch when you next visit!

    • Glad you like, Tricia. Crocosmia, as all lilies thrive on being feed and watered often during the growing season. It’s also important to continue feeding regularly once the flowers have faded in order to build up the bulbs for next year. We’ll have to work out a plan of attack for yours next year! 🙂

  7. Love, love all the Hounslow connections. That’s so cool. AND the photos are lovely, lovely.

    I think it’s awesome how you heard of the village and then went the next day. That’s really neat. Funny how that happens. It’s like sometimes I hear a new word and then suddenly, that word is everywhere. It’s serendipity! Jilian

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