Wednesday, 17 February 2021

Coincidence - Thomson!

Over the next month or two I will be adding some wonderful, coincidence, stories from amazing authors. Today's story comes from award winning author, Ian Thomson.

There was a boy in my form at school with the same name as me. Exactly the same name. There was no intrusive ‘p’ in Thomson. He was called ‘Ian’ like me, not ‘Iain’ or ‘Eoin’ or any other exotic variant. Neither of us had a middle name. Quite simply, we were both called ‘Ian Thomson’.

 We were not related in any way. I was born in Colchester while Ian was born in Dumfries. However, we had both been brought up in Radcester, an unremarkable town in the East Midlands. At the age of 11, we both found ourselves in Shell 1, the top junior class, and since it was an old-fashioned kind of school, we were seated in alphabetical order across the room. I sat next to Ian and then there were Vulpage, Vines, and Wardle.

I don’t know what possessed the staff to put us in the same form. You’d have thought they’d have split us up to avoid confusion - you know, like they do with twins, who are usually separated, unless they pine for each other. There was always a laugh when the register was called and our name was called twice. Sometimes we used to swap desks and if we were challenged we would say, ‘No sir, I always sit here.’ The class would confirm this noisily and the master would be left scratching his head and doubting his sanity.

 The coincidence of our names promoted a kind of confederacy at first and then we quickly became firm friends, even though our primary interests began to diverge quite soon. Ian showed an aptitude for the sciences and was proving to be a wizard at chess. I discovered a passion for the stage after starring in a junior production of Sweeney Todd. On the back of these talents we acquired nicknames: I became known as Johnny Depp and he was Garry Kasparov. It was the other boys who invented the nicknames but the masters began to refer to us as Kasparov and Depp, no doubt relieved to have a means of distinguishing us by name in class.

Privately, and between ourselves, I called Ian ‘Synonym’ and he called me ‘Homonym’, but that’s by the way.

His logical mind took delight in patterns. He was excited by configurations in nature: symmetries, spirals, waves, tessellations, and stripes. The fact that every single snowflake was different and yet they all had six sides thrilled him. Fractals had him in ecstasy.

Our paths diverged a little further in the sixth form. He went on the science side and I went on the arts side but we always met at lunchtimes in the common room and did The Daily Telegraph crossword together. I think I was probably better at general knowledge but he was a total ninja at anagrams. He could see letter patterns at sight.

I remember him giving me a lecture on coincidences.

You see, Homonym, the fact is that, mathematically, coincidences are quite random. In reality, they happen all the time. The coincidence of our names is amusing but it’s really quite trivial. ‘Thomson’ is a very common name and so is ‘Ian’, or it was when we were born. I’ll bet the country is seething with people with our name.

 ‘Thing is, we don’t notice most coincidences and, when we do, we find them cute or strange, or we invest them with magical or spiritual qualities. The fact that, for most of the time, we don’t register the coincidences around us is why we have a low tolerance of them in books and plays.’

You may be smart, man,’ I said, ‘but you shouldn’t dismiss the magical.’

After we left school, Ian went up to Cambridge to read maths, naturally, and then he began to rise in the chess hierarchy and will one day make Grand Master. I went on to Drama School and have been moderately successful. You will have heard my VoiceOver in a number of ads and I’ve had decent roles in a couple of soaps. We still exchange Christmas cards but otherwise we sort of lost touch.

One day last summer, I was driving back to Radcester from location shooting on Dartmoor when I decided to break my journey at a country house hotel. Kearston Hall was once a rather fine Elizabethan house and I thought I deserved a bit of luxury after my sleep-deprived exertions of the previous fortnight’s filming.

The receptionist signed me in to the Thomson Room.

I expect you put me in there because of the coincidence of the names,’ I said.

Well, no, sir,’ she said, smiling. ‘It’s the only room free. We have a major function on this weekend. The rooms in that wing are all named after famous scientists. Mind you, perhaps the room was waiting for you, perhaps it’s fate.’

I laughed and went off to find the room, clutching the key with ‘Thomson’ printed on the fob.

Later, I was enjoying a vodka tonic in the bar when I was aware of a guy leaning over me.

It is you,’ he said.

It was Ian, of course.

Hey man,’ I said. ‘This really is a coincidence.’

A fairly high order one,’ he said.

I’ve got an even better one for you,’ I said. I explained that I’d been given the Thomson Room and showed him the key fob.Surely the hand of destiny is upon me,’ I said. ‘It was meant to be.’

He laughed.

It was the only room left, man,’ I said. ‘Seems there’s a wedding going on.’

Yes,’ Ian said. ‘It’s mine.

The grey suit, the mauve cravat and the buttonhole registered at last.

Oh, no shit, man?’ I cried. ‘That is just the wildest coincidence ever!’

Not quite.’

What do you mean?’

What you just said is the wildest coincidence ever.’


 ‘Oh, no shit, man is a perfect anagram of Ian Thomson.’

You can find Ian's award winning books on Amazon

If you missed the other Coincidence stories, please click on the links ...

The Piper

An Hair Raising Coincidence

The Best Laid Plans

And Did Those Feet...

A Magical Memory

A Caribbean Tale 

Six Coincidences in on evening

Thank you as always for stopping by and please come back for more.

Please, take care of yourself and each other and I hope the sun is shining on your face and in your heart.




Tuesday, 9 February 2021

Coincidence - Six Coincidences in One evening. How a Little Hairy Hobbit Transformed my Life

Over the next month or two I will be adding some wonderful, coincidence, stories from amazing authors. Today's story comes from author and illustrator, Gilli Allan.

I went to art college aged sixteen. Various factors, including my immaturity, caused me to drop-out after only two years; my intention was to get a job as an illustrator. I was willing to consider fashion, book or advertising but unsurprisingly, none of the possible employers – magazines, publishers, advertising agencies – were willing to consider me!

Croydon Art & Technology College.

During the next five years my life became a stony uphill road. To keep body and soul together I took jobs I was totally unsuited for. Although I never let go of my ambition, my self-belief fluctuated wildly. Consequently, the time and energy I devoted to keeping my portfolio of specimens up-to-date and professional, and to apply to potential art-world employers, was inconsistent. I veered between hyperactivity and lethargy. It didn’t help that my love life was also a desert. According to friends I was far too choosy.

That’s when a series of coincidences - seasoned by a sprinkling of luck - changed everything. I decided to accompany my parents to an advertising industry party, given by a photographer friend of our family. Typical of me, I scanned the assembled company and wrote them all off. But a small man, ten or more years older than me, with wild hair and a wild beard, took a marked fancy to me. That evening my parents nick-named him my ‘little hairy hobbit’. I eventually gave in to his blandishments and danced with him. Peter was South African, not long arrived in the country, and was looking for a job as a copy-writer. He certainly had a way with words
and he made me laugh. The time had come, I decided, to take my friends’ advice. I accepted his invitation to 'go out'.

From the start, Peter misread me. He saw someone bound to have far more intellectually adventurous tastes than was actually the case. His own enthusiasms tended towards esoteric jazz, foreign movies or alternative theatre. But apart from the mismatch in our tastes, I didn't find him at all physically attractive. I never slept with him. I don't recall ever even kissing him (he nicknamed me his frozen camelia!), but I knew he had higher hopes of our future than I did. He even credited me - undeservedly - with his dream job which he found in the weeks after we met! I was uncomfortable to find myself the focus of his magical thinking. And his ability to amuse me was undercut by his total failure to arrive at a date on time. 

South African Embassy

 On that fateful day I had been hawking my specimens round various artists’ agents and magazines with no reward.  I therefore had my portfolio tucked under my arm (1st coincidence) when I arrived on time outside the South African Embassy on Trafalgar Square, to meet Peter.  Nearly half an hour passed. I was tired, fed-up and decided to give him one more minute. When he arrived just in-the-nick-of-time, (2nd coincidence) the lucky star that might have whizzed past if I’d lost patience and gone home, juddered to a halt above me.  Peter told me plans had changed and we’d been invited for a meal at his friend’s place. (4th coincidence.)

My lucky star now amplified its beam to full strength. I’d never before met, nor even knew about Alan. It turned out he worked in an advertising design studio as a senior illustrator (5th coincidence). He looked at the portfolio I still had with me and advised me to call his studio manager asap. Their junior illustrator had just walked out (6th coincidence)! I phoned the following morning, and an almost immediate appointment was made. I was offered the job at the interview, and I started the following Monday. At last! I was in my proper place in the world, at ease in my own skin.  

Peter had long gone when my husband-to-be came into my life. I arrived home after work and discovered an impromptu gathering at the flat I shared with my sister. The good-looking stranger I met in my own kitchen was called Geoffrey, and it became immediately apparent he was deeply interested in, and very knowledgeable about, art. So, the self-assured artist
he encountered that evening (even though commercial rather than fine) had to make more of an impression on him than a depressed and demoralized shop girl.

And it is Geoff who has supported me, been my best friend and given me the life that has enabled me to become a writer.  But I do wonder - would he have pursued me with such determination had the transformation which began outside the South African Embassy, and involved a little hairy hobbit, never happened? 


For a fuller account of this story go to:


Find Gilli’s other books TORN, LIFE CLASS and FLY or FALL at

Contact Gilli at

If you missed the other Coincidence stories, please click on the links ...

The Piper

An Hair Raising Coincidence

The Best Laid Plans

And Did Those Feet...

A Magical Memory

A Caribbean Tale 

Thank you as always for stopping by and please come back for more.

Please, take care of yourself and each other and I hope the sun is shining on your face and in your heart.




Monday, 1 February 2021

Coincidence - A Caribbean Tale by Kit Domino

Over the next month or two I will be adding some wonderful, coincidence, stories from amazing authors. Today's story comes from author and artist, Kit Domino

“You’ll never believe it,” my husband Dave said. “I’ve booked us on holiday, to Barbados, with a crowd from the cricket club. You’ve four months to sort out your passport and clothes.”

And it took me all of those months to put together my wardrobe for our first holiday together in 20 years. I didn’t even own a decent swimsuit! Departure day arrived: up at 5 am, a 3-hour coach journey to Manchester (our Gatwick flight switched for some reason), another 3 hours hanging around the airport and an 8-hour flight to reach Barbados. But it was worth it for that first sight of the island as the plane banked and circled coming into land.

Dave dumped our cases onto the hotel bed. “Forget the unpacking for now. I want a swim right away.” He had already stripped out of his clothes while I dithered over which of my three new swimsuits to wear first. He grabbed one, thrust it at me. “Wear that!”

Minutes later we were hot-footing it across the scorching white sand, running into the warm azure blue Caribbean. If you’ve never seen or swam in that sea I can’t begin to describe it. Only that it was pure bliss. We didn’t stay in long, we were exhausted but, suitably refreshed, laughing we tumbled onto the soft sand to take in our surroundings, still not quite believing we were actually there. The palm tree lined beach of the wide bay was narrow, a few couples and families there but none from our group yet. A few yards to our right, a woman rose from her sunlounger. 

“I don’t believe it,” I said. “I spent weeks picking my costumes then come all this way to find someone wearing the identical one as I’ve got on now!”

Dave sat up to look. “Never mind. It looks far better on you.” As he spoke, the man with her also got off his lounger and gathered up their beach towels. “And you won’t believe this, either,” Dave added. “That’s my cousin Frank and his wife, Gwen. Haven’t seen them for nearly 25 years.”

“You’re kidding!”

He wasn’t. As the couple approached, Frank’s face fell into a wide grin as he recognised Dave. “Well I’ll be blowed. It is you, isn’t it? Thought it was when you were in the water but wasn’t sure.”

There followed the inevitable handshakes, hugs, shoulder slapping and introductions.

“When did you get here?” Dave asked.

“Today. Only just arrived. About half-an-hour ago.”

“Yes, had a horrendous journey,” Gwen told us. “Our flight from Gatwick was altered at the last minute and our son had to drive us up to Manchester. We nearly missed the flight.”

“Not the 11 o’clock Monarch?”

Frank and Gwen both nodded. Yes, you’ve guessed it. They were on the same flight as us too. Small world or coincidence? I’ll let you decide which. 

Kit Domino’s Website

Author of White Stones

and Every Step of the Way

If you missed the other Coincidence stories, please click on the links ...

The Piper

An Hair Raising Coincidence

The Best Laid Plans

And Did Those Feet...

A Magical Memory

Thank you as always for stopping by and please come back for more.

Please, take care of yourself and each other and I hope the sun is shining on your face and in your heart.




Monday, 25 January 2021

Coincidence - A Magical Memory from Annie Whitehead

Over the next month I will be adding some wonderful, coincidence, stories from amazing authors. Today's story comes from top selling author, Annie Whitehead.

Do we all have a time in our childhood that we hold onto in our memories because it was especially magical? For me it was the years when we lived in the Netherlands. My dad was working at the NATO base there and I attended the international school, which had bleachers around the sports track, and a mini town laid out for when we took our cycling proficiency test. I was only 8 when we moved there, staying until I was not quite 11, and had mad, innocent crushes on the 12th-grade US students who had long hair and wore cool clothes. I still recall the names of my friends, and my best friend Julie especially; in the forces we made friends quickly and cherished them, knowing that at any moment our dads could be posted and we’d have to move away.

Our first house there was a kind of farmhouse on the very edge of the village, and it boasted a mini pig sty - great for my guinea pig! - a chicken house which served me as a Wendy House, and a little orchard at the end of the garden with a gate to open fields beyond. Our second house was an ultra-modern flat-roofed affair, with a spiral staircase and bare brick feature walls. Christmases were perfect, with parties for all the children at the base, and I was there when THE Christmas song by Slade first came out. I still remember my gifts: a green pogo stick and a jigsaw depicting historical scenes photographed at Castle Howard. (History and mad forms of exercise still play a huge part in my life!)

Was this time special to me because, with my elder siblings at school in England, I had my mum all to myself for a while? Or is being a very-nearly-but-not-quite-teenager just a great age to be anyway? Were the people more friendly, the winters more frosty and clear, or is that my memory playing tricks? Even though I was young, I noticed the astonishing beauty of the countryside. This was not the Netherlands of the canals and tulip fields; this was a village nestling on the German border, and years later when I saw the painting
Avenue at Middelharnis by Hobbema, I recognised it.

Schools from then on weren’t army schools and new girls like me weren’t so readily accepted. Often I’d find myself confronted by local pupils who didn’t understand my nomadic life. I didn’t often fit in and then, if and when I did, I began to hate the moves that took me hundreds of miles away from all I knew.

Still, I managed. I grew up. And after taking a year out, I went off to study for my degree. I made friends, firstly with the girl in the room opposite mine who had the art book where I saw the Hobbema painting for the first time. I said, “That’s just like where I used to live.” We looked it up and discovered that the painting was indeed of a village in the Netherlands. Years later I learned that my grandfather had a copy of it and I’d never been aware. And no, this isn’t the only, or even main, coincidence of this story. I also made friends with a guy on my course. He made me laugh, and we shared the same taste in music which, I remember, was always an essential. I didn’t realise how much I had fallen for him until he went home for a few days. Lectures were suddenly a bit lonely. The bar was a bit empty. When he came back to college he had a smile that suggested he was pleased to see me. I knew then how I really felt about him. But did he feel the same way?

Christmas time helped. That Slade song still played but now the parties were a bit more raucous, with Students’ Union Bar prices rather than free jelly and ice cream. 

We got together. A few days later we met up in the canteen for a quick cuppa after lectures and before he went off to play football. I looked at the bag that had his kit in it. It was emblazoned with the name of that international school in the Netherlands. Yes, he said, he’d been there too - his dad had been in the forces.

A connection with my happiest past. And I didn’t even know about it until I’d already fallen in love.

 And yes, this is a true story.


Here are all my links:








If you missed the other Coincidence stories, please click on the links ...

The Piper

An Hair Raising Coincidence

The Best Laid Plans

And Did Those Feet...

 Thank you as always for stopping by and please come back for more.

Take care of yourself and each other and I hope the sun is shining on your face and in your heart.




Thursday, 21 January 2021

Dementia - A Devastating Disease

Today, I have the amazing Debbie Johnston talking about her father-in-law, it is a story that will break your heart and lift your spirits in equal measures.


In Memory of John - My Run for Dementia


Dementia is just for old people. Right? Wrong! I discovered this when I first met my husband’s father John. Of course Tim wasn’t my husband then and we were just starting out on our relationship but when he told me his father had Early Onset Alzheimer's I didn’t fully understand what that meant. Looking back now, I realise that John was roughly the same age I am now when he was ill. I just turned 50 in July. It’s a sobering thought.

 As an outsider looking in on this lovely family I could see the devastation that this disease was having on them. Here was a much loved and respected man who was stolen away from them by a disease that robbed them of someone who meant so much. A man who had grandchildren, a wife and a son and daughter who loved him dearly. He had many friends and was a valued member of his church community.  By this stage he barely knew who they were and was a mere shell of the man I’d heard so much about. He’d aged overnight. I think the first time I ever met him was at a family dinner out. By this stage he was having problems with speaking and had difficulty managing a knife and fork to feed himself. Not long after that John had to go into full time nursing care and the further heartbreak this caused is something that's very difficult to put into words.  A family worn down by their heartache as they watched him deteriorate even further and yet their dedication to him was breathtaking. But, not only did the disease rob John of his life, it also robbed them of the future they might have had with him. John sadly died on 21st January 2006, aged just 58 years old.  And, this is why this year I am taking part in Run for Dementia.

 I never knew John when he was well and I wish I’d met him under happier circumstances. I love listening to the stories his family tell of him. Never was anyone more loved than John. Never was anyone more respected that he was. His funeral was testament to that with a massive gathering of people all mourning the terrible gap that was left in their lives now that he was gone.

 Run for Dementia, organised by the Alzheimer’s Society is a challenge to run either 50 or 100 miles in a month while gathering sponsorship. So, I took up the challenge and I’m hoping to run 50 miles in the month of January. I’ve set a target of £300 to raise and I’m just over halfway there. I’m a fairly fledgling runner, only taking up running in July but as it turns out I find it quite enjoyable so it seemed the most logical way to raise money. In order to reach my running goal I need to be running at least 5 kilometres 4 times a week in January which doesn’t sound a lot but when working in a fairly stressful job in the middle of a pandemic, or if it’s raining or freezing cold outside sometimes running just doesn’t seem much of an enjoyable way to spend time outdoors. Sometimes I’m just tired. But, I tell myself it's a small sacrifice for an amazing cause and absolutely nothing in comparison to the years of difficulty those families living with dementia go through.

 The Alzheimer’s Society offered support and advice to my mother in law and she valued it so much that she is now a volunteer with them. Hearing about the amazing projects she has been involved in to help support people with a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s and their carers has been inspiring. At times during John’s illness I felt helpless and unsure of what I could do to help. I was new to the family and was always worried about overstepping the mark. There was little I could do from a practical side except offer them support when I could. It's very difficult because there are no words that are going to change a diagnosis. But sometimes a listening ear is all people really need or someone to offer ideas on how to manage a situation. That’s what the Alzheimer’s Society does and that’s why it's important for me to support the charity. To be able to give something back. In the middle of a global pandemic many charities are not able to fundraise the way they used to so it’s even more important now to support them as much as we can.

 A couple of years ago I also co-wrote a children’s book with some amazing authors to help raise funds so go check out Little Kitty: The Cat Burglar. It’s  a fun read with your kids. All proceeds of the book went to Alzheimers Research UK. We know there is so much research still to be done in the quest to eradicate this horrible illness if possible. Since John’s death there have been advancements in medications but more still needs to be done.

The book can be bought on Amazon

 If anyone would like to sponsor my Run For Dementia cause the Just Giving page can be found at

Thank you all for taking the time to read about my running challenge. Even if you aren’t in a position to donate please find the time to educate yourself about Dementia and find ways to support those charities that are helping families who at times are struggling so badly. At the heart of every diagnosis of dementia is a person. A family member. A loved one. 


JB Johnston, real name Debbie is an aspiring writer. She is a member of the Romantic Novelist’s Association New Writers scheme and is currently working on her second novel which has the working title of The Road to You.  She’s still trying to find a publisher for her first novel Room Among The Stars but writing has taken a little bit of a backseat during the pandemic as she’s a frontline worker so has been kept fairly busy. JB is also a book blogger and runs Brook Cottage Books book blog. She’s been heavily involved in the writing community for some time now, including being a PA for an author, running virtual book tours, critiquing manuscripts and in the past has had her own column in an online magazine and had a slot on a book themed radio show. She’s also been an intern for a publisher where she had a stint as an editor. Back in 2013 she was shortlisted for Romance Blogger of the Year in the Romance Industry Awards. She’s passionate about supporting authors and publishers and is a member and co-founder of her local writing group The Bangor Scribes.


Twitter: @BrookCottagebks

 If anyone would like to sponsor my Run For Dementia cause the Just Giving page can be found at


Monday, 18 January 2021

Coincidence - And Did Those Feet? by Richard Tearle

Over the next month I will be adding some wonderful, coincidence, stories from amazing authors. Today's story comes from Richard Tearle.



Park House has gone now. Demolished just after World War II.

It had an interesting history. It stood on a small plateau, known as The Bulwarks, on the brow of North Hill, Highgate, north London. Once it would have been part of the great Bishop's Forest which stretched, in modern terms, from Muswell Hill, through Highgate and into Hampstead Heath.

Prior to its demolition, Park House and the grounds it stood in had been a succession of Institutes for 'Fallen Women' where the poet Christina Rosetti once served as a volunteer. Before that it had been a brewery and excavations on the present site revealed not only tunnels that were part of the brewery but also areas that had been used to hide troops in preparation for the very real threat of and invasion by Napoleon!

The brewery was founded and built by a man called John Cooper. Cooper was also the Lord of the Manor for Toddington (Bedfordshire) and his Manor House still stands today, albeit in private hands. Cooper eventually sold the brewery, which moved to a different part of Hornsey, and he built Park House as his personal town house. A succession of Coopers lived there until the last one died without issue in 1905 when the house was turned into an Institute 'for Idiots'. All of the John Cooper's successors were Lords of the Manor at Toddington as well, though, bizarrely, a son in law of his had to take the additional name of Cooper as part of the marriage agreement – giving him the magnificent (?) handle of William Dodge Heap Cooper Cooper! Those wacky Victorians, eh!

 My grandfather spoke rarely about his family, but I do recall that he mentioned, from time to time, his 'Uncle Mo'. Family research much later revealed that this was indeed correct. Moses Tearle was listed as an 'Agricultural Labourer' and worked for the Lord of the Manor of Toddington. So, pretty lowly in the general order of things.

And yet …

Moses Tearle married – under what circumstances we do not know – Amelia Cooper Cooper, granddaughter of John Cooper. They were married in Hornsey and would have spent much time at Park House, including, possibly, their wedding night.


As mentioned before, Park House was demolished and the land purchased by Hornsey Council. Just after World War II they built seven 'blocks' of flats on the land, leaving a number of green areas and even a small wooded section. It was an innovative project; it was intended to house families and ex-service men who had lost their homes during the bombings. The various houses were named after military commanders prominent in the war: Alexander, Montgomery, Tedder, Cunningham, Dowding, Mountbatten and Wavell. It was completed in 1948.

In 1949 my father, Leslie Tearle, moved into No. 6 Wavell House and I recall a very happy childhood there. We played football (illegally!) on the 'greens', cricket on the concreted 'playground'. We had bicycle races in the wooded area, massive bonfires on Guy Fawkes Day and there was a tremendous Community Spirit about the place.

 Little did we know then that nearly a hundred years before, one of our ancestors had walked around the very same grounds ….nor could Moses Tearle have known that we would tread in his footsteps so many years afterwards!


Today the estate has changed little, though the playground that we used is now fully given over to car parking, many of the flats are now privately owned and the entrance doors to each block need a security code to gain admission. In 1994, the estate featured in a couple of scenes in the spoof horror film, Shaun of the Dead.


The Hillcrest Estate features in my Short Story 'The Highgate Vampire' as part of my book, Melody Mayhem: 2nd Movement available on:

If you missed the other Coincidence stories, please click on the links ...

The Piper

An Hair Raising Coincidence

The Best Laid Plans

 Thank you as always for stopping by and please come back for more.

Take care of yourself and each other and I hope the sun is shining on your face and in your heart.




Thursday, 14 January 2021

Authors who help Authors....

 Today, I am talking on the wonderful Blog of, top selling author, Annie Whitehead about Chill Awards for independent authors, I hope you will join us...

Authors who help Authors: Pauline Barclay 

and Chill with a Book

The last post in this mini-series about supportive authors discussed

 reviews for historical fiction but of course, not all fiction fits into that category. 

This week I'm delighted to welcome as my guest Pauline Barclay, 

the instigator and owner of Chill Awards and a prolific author in her own right.


Welcome to the blog Pauline!


Hello Annie, a HUGE thank you for inviting me to your wonderful Blog

 and asking me talk about my other baby, Chill Awards for independent authors

I hope I don’t get too carried away... 😊


 I'm sure you won't! Enthusiasm is always catching so please feel free

 to tell us all about what you do. Firstly can I ask, what inspired you to set u

Chill with a Book Awards and how does it work?

Click HERE to read more

Monday, 11 January 2021

Coincidence - The Best Laid Plans by Jeannie McLean

 Over the next month I will be adding some wonderful, coincidence, stories from amazing authors. Today, we have a wonderful story from Jeannie McLean.

The Best Laid Plans

I was heading out the door one summer’s day and my twenty year old daughter asked where I was going. I said ‘out’ with a friend. I wasn’t yet ready to tell her that I was meeting a man I had met through work and I was going on a date. It did cross my mind that as a divorced woman of nearly fifty with adult children, I didn’t need to be secretive, but it was a new experience for me – my first ‘date’ since my divorce some years earlier.

She was preparing to leave the house as well and when I asked her where she was going, she replied as I had, ‘out with a friend’.

My date was my age, also divorced. I was joining him at a local park where a jazz band was playing as part of a summer concert in the park series. I mixed with few people who were interested in jazz and even though the park was local, I thought I was unlikely to come across anyone I knew.

I met him in the car park and together we headed towards the music. A little distance away were two people, their backs to us, but I recognised one of the people instantly. It was my daughter. She must have sensed something as she turned around.

She waved and began to stand up, but the young man she was with pulled her down and whispered to her.  She hadn’t mentioned that she was seeing anyone in particular and my first reaction was if this man objected to meeting his date’s mother, then he wasn’t good enough for her anyway.

I wasn’t going to be ignored so I indicated to my date we’d go over to my daughter. But he hesitated.

 What was it with these men?

I was about to introduce myself to the young man, when my date said “Hello James,” and the young man replied, “Hello Mr Barnes.”

It turned out that James was a very good friend of one of my date’s sons! So much for my daughter and I keeping our ‘new’ relationships quiet until we felt there might be something to mention!

After some awkwardness and laughter, we all enjoyed the music. Later, my date assured me that James was a very nice young man, just as my daughter’s date assured her, he liked Mr Barnes!  

Which was just as well, as within a few years, my daughter and I married those men.


By Jeannie McLean, author: her latest crime novel ‘Caught Between’

Is available on Amazon Kindle.

If you missed the other Coincidence stories, please click on the links ...

The Piper

An Hair Raising Coincidence

 Thank you as always for stopping by and please come back for more.

Take care of yourself and each other and I hope the sun is shining on your face and in your heart.




Monday, 4 January 2021

Coincidence - An Hair Raising Coincidence by Janet Few

 Over the next month I will be adding some wonderful, coincidence, stories from amazing authors. Today, we have a story that will send a shiver down your spine. Please meet Janet Few and this is her coincidence story...

In the early 1980s, I set off with my new-born daughter to house-hunt in Buckinghamshire, as my late husband had been posted there for work. Neither of us had any Buckinghamshire connections. As we did not have a car at the time, we concentrated our search on the town of Aylesbury, where my husband was to be working.  We viewed half a dozen houses. There was one that warranted a second visit but was on the main road, another older property that was opposite a school, one modern house on Bedgrove Estate, one that backed on to the wall of the local prison and one that seemed to have been built on a flood plain. None were quite right. Inevitably, estate agents ignored our ‘wish list’ which specified that we wanted to be in the town and also sent details of properties in the surrounding villages. At the last minute, one of my husband’s new colleagues offered to drive us to a viewing out of town and this one resonated. So, we moved into Green End Street, Aston Clinton, a few miles from Aylesbury. The road name always reminded me of something that Enid Blyton might have invented. We spent three years living there and my daughter was christened in the local church.

Then, another job move allowed us to return to the Isle of Wight, where our hearts were. Another daughter was born and was christened in a Devon church with family associations. My elder daughter was sad that her baptism had not been in a similarly significant ancestral location.

I had been tracing my family history for a number of years, researching families in London, Sussex, The West Country and Northumberland. This was long before genealogy was the online experience that it is today. Research involved visits to London and with two small children, was a protracted process. Imagine my surprise when, a few years after leaving Aston Clinton, I discovered that my great grandmother had been born in Buckinghamshire. This despite my uncle’s insistence that the family came from Cumbria. As I delved deeper into this family’s story, it became apparent that they did not just come from Buckinghamshire but from Aston Clinton itself. Gradually, I learned more about my great great grandmother, Ann Stratford, who was born about 1835 and who earned a living plaiting straw for bonnets. 

Eagerly I set off for a London research trip, planning to locate Ann in the 1851 census. In those days, census returns were accessed by winding one’s way through microfilms, impatiently scanning down the lists of names for the one that was sought. There she was! Ann Stratford, aged 15, a plaiter, born in Aston Clinton, living with her father and step-mother. I cast my eyes to the left-hand column. Would there be a precise address, or would this be one of those instances where it merely gave the village name? As I looked at the address column, hairs stood up on the back of my neck – Green End Street! My elder daughter had been baptised in the same church as her great great great grandmother and several ancestors from earlier generations.

Was it then coincidence that led us to live in Green End Street? Perhaps. Or was it some deep buried genetic memory that drew us there?

Janet Few

net Few is an internationally known family and community historian who has written several non-fiction books and two historical novels. Further details can be found on her website

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