We all know what coincidences are - they are the life blood for novelists. Where would we be without them? They help us drive our plots forward.
This week I was thinking about my own life and wonder whether there is not more than coincidence in some of the things that have happened. It is almost as if someone is putting out a guiding hand. I tell you, some of the things that have happened to me have to be more than coincidence. Spritual - spooky, take your pick.
Anyway, last week I mentioned Roger and he is part of a coincidence. John and I were going to the South of France to escape the winter. It was 1971, we were carefree and looking forward to an adventure. We travelled through France in our little post office van, eventually we came to a cross road. One sign read St Maxime and the other St Tropez. We were heading to St Maxime, that is where we thought we would stay. However, John wanted to go down into St Tropez. I was a bit apprehensive, Bridget Bardot lived there, it was the haunt of the very rich and very famous. How would it look, us arriving there in our little old van. However, John won the day. "We have to see it," he reasoned.
Seeing it was believing. It was so lovely. We parked up by the harbour and sighed with pleasure.On a cool November late afternoon the Meditteranean appeared so vivid a blue, and reflected in its clear depths, were the old white buildings clustered around. We stayed sometime, just gazing out on a wonderful fingers of scarlet from the setting sun turning the view into a blaze of colour.
Suddenly, there was a knocking on the driver's window. We both started up, I can tell you, and fully expected to meet the stern gaze of a Gendarme, demanding to know what we thought we were doing, spoiling the view! However, it was not - it was a man with a lovely smile. He spoke better English than we spoke French and said he noticed we had English number plates. He went onto explain that some boys had left him with a British Leyland van in the summer. He wanted to get it going and wondered where he could buy parts...could we help?
John gave him some advive and then he got to talking about what we were doing. After we had told him, he said we should meet him in the square in an hour, and he would take us up to his home where we could freshen up and have something to eat.
When he had gone, I told John no way were we going but of course I lost out. "He's okay," John says, " and if he wants my money he will have to kill me first!" Charming! Once John gets an idea in his head there is no moving him. He was going, he liked the man.
I was thinking serial killers, white slave trafficers...all kinds of horrid images flalshed into my imagination. However, we go to meet him and he tells us to follow him. Well, I got more and more scared, the road led out of town, up a winding hill, it was pitch black and there was nothing to be seen. I pictured a gang of men in striped jerseys and black berets, knives glittering in the moonlight...
We eventually turned into the driveway of a house that stood back from the road. The front door opened and a woman stood there. She was wearing a plain brown dress, over a pinafore. No one dressed like that, I thought, was into murder and mayhem.
The story ended happily. Our guardian angel had brought us to the right place at the right time. Roger, for this is who it was, was the local handyman for the town. He needed someone to help him with electrics next day. John an Electrician said he would be happy to do so. That led onto us staying in a chalet in Roger's ground, and John working for him in the morning and in the afternoon, getting work elsewhere. We had a wonderful time. Roger was an unbelievable character and one that I must include in a story one day. His wife Fernande was kind and good to be around.
Coincidence? Choosing that particular road where there were crossroads - it being that particular day that Roger had a job to do at that house by the harbour. Who knows, I am just grateful that it happened.
Now is the time to say it. HAPPY CHRISTMAS TO YOU ALL.