Serendipity. It’s one of my favourite words.
It’s the very opposite, you see, of having everything planned to
the last minute. It’s about just going with the flow and unexpected delights arising as a result. The Youngest of the Darling Daughters and I both believe fervently in serendipity.
Take our journey to the funeral of a dear family friend last Thursday. Apart from knowing the time we had to arrive at the church, we felt we were heading into the unknown. As in Tier Three Country with all the restrictions that implied.
Would we find a loo when we needed one? Being blessed with the Usher Gene, we knew we would need one, sometime, somewhere. Would we find somewhere for a takeaway coffee? My addiction to the coffee bean has been well documented in the Daily Blog so regular
readers will understand the importance of this question. Would we, moreover, come to regret our decision not to make ourselves a packed lunch before leaving home? Would my Stomach (of which, as you know, I Am Always Thinking) ever forgive me for this failure
in our preparations?
We set off at 10.30 a.m. leaving the Really Rather Wonderful Rosalie in charge of Mr B. Google Maps informed us that the journey would take
us around 1 hour and 45 minutes, depending on traffic. I told my daughter, confidently, that I knew the journey well, having had to make it every weekend when I started a new job in West Sussex, taking me away from my family during the week. In fact, the journey
would be much easier today, I continued, as road improvements meant we wouldn’t have to negotiate Brighton town centre. The Youngest of the Darling Daughters, in the driving seat in more ways than one, refrained from reminding me that it was over thirty
years since I was making that journey every weekend and that I might just have forgotten the way.
Travelling to a funeral was never going to be a merry business
- but it was a blessing to have time to chat about anything and everything on the way. Even while keeping an ear peeled for the annoying voice on Google Maps bossily telling us which way to go, there was no danger of our jaws rusting...
“I think we are going the wrong way,” I said. The Youngest of the Darling Daughters pointed out that she was only doing what Google Maps was telling her. Should she turn
round and head back in the other direction, trusting in my failing memory? No, she didn’t actually say that about my failing memory - that was me, doubting myself. Carry on, MacDuff, I told her (it’s sort-of Shakespearean, didn’t you know?)
A little while afterwards we found ourselves in Lamberhurst where, miracle upon miracles, my daughter spotted a sign declaring “WC.” It might, of course, be closed,
we warned ourselves against disappointment but we parked up anyway and headed across the road towards the sign. All I can say is, what a relief!
more, we had parked almost directly outside a tea shop called “Tiese and Coffee” which positively beckoned us inside, so welcoming was it, an archway of balloons adding to the sense of excitement. Did they sell sandwiches? I asked the sweet woman
behind a shop counter laden with takeaway goodies of a mouth-watering nature. My stomach was literally growling with pleasurable anticipation. The answer was apologetic - sadly, they didn’t sell sandwiches. They could, however, make us each a bacon bap?
A bacon bap!? What could possibly be better on a cold morning, on a sad journey, in the middle of a pandemic which had closed off most of the eateries in the county?
I love to support local businesses, especially those whose owners are trying so, so hard in the most difficult of circumstances, to make ends meet. “Tiese and Coffee” (so named because it is situated near the banks of the River Tiese) was
marking its second anniversary on the day we dropped in. If you’re ever in Lamberhurst, pay it a visit and say hello from me.
We couldn’t eat
in, restrictions being what they are - so we sat in the car, supping coffee and munching on some of the best bacon baps I’ve ever sampled. So full we were, that we saved our Danish pastries for later. What a good thing we had taken the wrong route, I
said, or we would never have had such a delicious lunch purchased from such delightful surroundings.
We went home by the alternative route, the one I would have
taken. It seemed to take quite a lot longer than the way there though I blamed the traffic. The Youngest of the Darling Daughters forebore to argue, though she could have pointed out that it was Google Maps that had taken us the way of Lamberhurst and the
Tasty Stop which brought some welcome and unexpected cheer to our sad journey.
I prefer to think it was serendipity...