on Marriam

The faculty or phenomenon of finding valuable or agreeable things not sought for:

Serendipity is the second of my best loved words. (see post of Agapé) Serendipity is, of course better known than ‘agapé’ although it is none the less pleasing when I think of it.

A dear elderly friend of mine who passed away a couple of years ago used to call these happenings ‘God incidences.’ I like that too, as it seems to imply something which is more than just a coincidence.

My sister has been visiting my parents this week from France and we were travelling down to South West London to see another dear friend of the family. I was driving and the joined the M1 just above Luton only to see the traffic begin to build up in front of us, as the temporary restriction signs was bringing our speed steadily lower. In that snap decision between joining the
queue and taking the slip road I barely hesitated before coming off at Junction 9 heading towards St Albans.

It just so happens that we lived on the outskirts of St Albans on the other side of Verulamium Park for fifteen years as a family, until my parents moved to Kent when I was eighteen and I was on my way to college; my sister had long since left for America.

As I circled the city the car was full of happy recollections:

‘I used to walk this way from school if I finished early to meet you, mum, at St Michael’s school,’ recalled my sister.

‘We used to batman down this hill to St Micheal’s church to go bellringing. We were always late. You must remember those long capes we made one year!’ I reminded my sister.

‘Look, the path is still there, the one that went to our house,’ added mum.

‘I thought they sold the boys school playing field for houses years ago. I wonder what took them so long.’

‘We had a much better view with the field there,’ and I wasn’t talking about the boys playing rugby either!

‘Oh, there’s the King Harry. Do you remember that funny vicar who used to pop into cars at the traffic lights?’

‘Where’s the little hall where we went to Brownies and Guides?’

‘It’s hard to believe we walked all this way to Killigrew Junior school. They wouldn’t do it these days would they.’

‘Rod Argent used to buy his bread from the baker’s here at Chiswell Green.’

I know that these reminiscences mean nothing to anyone else, but with my sister living abroad and my elderly parents
living nearby me up in Bedfordshire, the few minutes we had all together in my car passing though the familiar haunts of St Albans in Hertfordshire were very precious.

Serendipity is certainly a special word for me!

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