Our American friends from up the mountain (see Cabin in the Sky) came down to sea level today for lunch. He writes books about pre-colonial Africa with intriguing titles like ‘The Black Amazons of Dahomey’ and is great fun – they both are – and he identified a number of trees in our garden. He told us that one of them – a 'medlar' tree - had a very pleasant fruit but his wife doesn’t eat it. I just looked it up in the dictionary and it says its fruit is ‘not edible’. Is she up to something? Should I tell him?
When does coincidence lose its credibility?
Sometimes you read something in a work of fiction and say it relied too much on coincidence. But these two stories are true.
I was visiting an old friend once in Sarnia, Ontario. (You only need go to Sarnia once and you’re Sarnia-ed for life.) One day his next door neighbour popped in, and Dave said I was passing through on the way from New Zealand to UK and the neighbour said, as people do to make idle conversation, ‘I’ve got a brother in New Zealand’. And I said ‘Oh yes, you mean Don Bruce, he lives in the flat above mine.’
Some time later, I was driving south on Route 202 from Philadelphia to Washington when, feeling hungry, I stopped at a down-market restaurant - or was it an up-market diner? - called Cakes and Ale (I’m a sucker for Shakespearean titles). It was very crowded but one seat remained at the bar, and as one does when outside the UK, I started talking to the guy on the next stool. He asked where I came from. ‘Oh, I used to know an Englishman,’ he says, as people do to make idle conversation. ‘Yes’, I say, ‘Malachy MacIntyre’. He almost falls off his stool, and to this day he probably thinks everyone in England knows everyone else.
I've finally persuaded Herself to start a blog as a therapeutic exercise – thinking that this way she’d have less time to beat me at Scrabble. (It’s not that she’s better than me but she wins hands down at the pre-match mind games.) But now she’s getting better reviews than me. What do I do? I’m not telling you her link in case you agree.