Today Jane and had a day off. The plan was to take a walk somewhere in the direction of Melton Mowbray and stop by the town on the way back to sample one of the famous pork pies at their place of origin. I hit on the Hambleton peninsula as the walking destination, which is the name of the village that sits on the land that juts out into Rutland Water. Not least, the walking directions were easy so no need for a map; just find the footpath and keep the water to the same side of you all the way round.
I’d worked out that we could park on the main street of the village and we pulled up behind an orange car. The walk was pleasant although the wind was bracing and we did have to endure a couple of squalls of driving rain and hail. Having got about half way round, we decided to slightly shorten the route and walk back from the other end of that road (which runs the length of the peninsula). We were feeling a bit hungry because various things had conspired to give a later start than original ancipated.
Getting back towards the car, I saw that someone was parked quite closely behind us, which I thought could make getting out a bit tricky but then a couple of people walked up to the orange car. Aha, I thought. If they drive off while we are taking our walking boots off, that will ease things. As I passed the chap was just coming round the back of the car and we exchanged pleasantries about the weather. I think it was the voice that clicked and I realised this was my old friend, Langley. I used to hear his voice a lot because we did an early morning radio show together for a while at university, with him as the main DJ and me on supporting roles. I hadn’t seen him, or his wife (another university friend and, as I soon realised, the other person with him) for quarter of a century but, as the penny dropped, it came flooding back.
What were the chances of that? Pretty slim. I’ve rarely bumped into people I knew at university except by prior arrangement. Both of the chance meetings that come to mind were in contexts (a Christian music event and a Bible week) that acted as filters (since I knew a lot Christians and musicians) but there was no such filter in place today. We’ve actually been living only about 40-50 miles away but for them, as well as us, it was a first visit to Hambleton. Had we not started late or cut our walk short, we would never have known who was parked in front of us.
Quite remarkable and a reminder to keep your eyes open when your timings don’t seem to be working out to plan!