I am destined, I realise, never to have an illicit extramarital affair. I would be found out in no time. A couple of weeks ago I went with a male friend to a concert. I bumped into my piano tuner. Today, a different male friend took me to lunch in Bury St Edmunds. An acquaintance of his spotted us and came over to say hello; when he was introduced to me it transpired that he knows another member of the family.
It has always amazed me, the coincidental meeting of friends in odd places. My husband always has had a knack of finding old friends by chance. I upstaged him entirely on our honeymoon however; he will never surpass my feat of random synchronicity.
We were driving along a deserted country road on Mahé, the main island of the Seychelles. Rounding a corner, we saw a woman walking alone in the sunshine and we stopped to offer her a lift. She and I stared at each other, too surprised to speak. Not only had I known her all my life, but so had my father.
Her parents were my father’s godparents. When he was a little boy, towards the end of the First World War, he often spent his holidays with them and their two daughters, in their home by the river Thames at Wallingford. He was, at that time, more or less parentless – his father was away in the army and his mother was what Nancy Mitford called a ‘Bolter’ – she had skipped with a Colonel, leaving her home and little son. So Molly and her sister were the nearest he had to siblings.
Since my father died, we had lost touch somewhat and she didn’t know I was married, let alone honeymooning in the Seychelles. Not only at the same time, in the same place but even in the same random road, and we just happened to stop to speak to her.