Monday, December 11, 2017

Chance meetings

Meeting new people, however briefly, is one of the pleasures of life.
You may never see them again, but in a short time you are transported to another life, new thoughts, other modes of existence, ideas foreign to your own and so on. Sometimes a longer friendship is formed from a chance meeting or encounter, and they are often the strongest.
It is generally at parties that these meetings take place, but often by absolute chance, on the street, in a queue, at an accident, a waiting room, or just with a congenial-looking stranger.
One such meeting has happened recently.
At a smart auction house’s private view we paused at one of those typical Elizabeth Frink bronze heads, near to a man who was staring at it and smiling.
This person did not seem to be quite the normal posh purchaser of expensive art. So we talked.
He came from the West Country and, as a rugby football enthusiast, had found this sculpted head to be not unlike that of a fellow member in his club’s scrum. He, too, reminded me a bit of a front row scummager.
In asking him about his life he said that he was in London to sell a Churchill. This was information that hardly registered with us in the course of our conversation. 
Anyhow, we got on splendidly. I gave him my card in case he would like a 6 o’clock drink when next he visited the big city. We thought of it no more.
Then an email arrived from our rugby-following acquaintance to say that it was so nice to talk with us at the private view and that he would, one day, take us up on our offer. He had spent several hours reading my blogs and, as he was a countryman, especially enjoyed one when I had, in an open car, been showered with cow’s urine when passing a cattle truck on the road.
A short time afterwards I read a short piece in our newspaper saying that a Sir Winston Churchill painting, with an estimate of eighty thousand pounds had been sold at auction for over three hundred and fifty thousand pounds.
Could our newly-made friend have been the very seller of the last painting done by Sir Winston Churchill, which, before the great man’s death, been given to his personal bodyguard of many years?
We looked at the surname on his email. And, sure enough, he was in all probability the seller of the painting given to his father by Sir Winston.

Yes, meeting new people, however briefly, is one of the pleasures of life.