Staying in the country with my parents for the duration of the festive season, yesterday I was nevertheless obliged by prior arrangement to journey to London for a meeting which had been set up some time ago, before I knew where I would be spending Christmas (if you see what I mean).
The meeting went on far longer than expected, happily because both parties (myself and the couple concerned), having previously only corresponded via email, were getting on so well.
Eventually, despite my hosts’ insistence that I should stay for tea and cake, I made my excuses and left to return to the country by then late for my evening meal. Subsequently, in the gloom and ice cold weather, I was then further delayed twice on the A3 going south by motor accidents – one near Morden and the other just short of Guildford – that can only recently have happened. I say this because there were blue lights flashing, emergency services on their way and, at the first, a motor cyclist lying in the road being attended by policemen … and, of course, much delay and chaos because the traffic was reduced to filtering into a single lane.
Earlier I had a strange experience.
On the way to my meeting, on a whim, I had decided to stop off first at my flat in order to check for any mail, collect a couple of items and have a swift comfort break. As I arrived, I had noticed a car parked in my space in the private car park beside the block of flats – a heinous crime, given that each space is specifically owned by a flat-owner. A youngish female dressed in winter clothes and a bobble hat was getting stuff out of the boot.
My natural inclination was to accost said lady, challenging her as to why she was parking in a private parking space without the permission of the owner (me). However, I thought better of it – this being Christmas after all – and simply parked in the street and went inside to go about my business.
Coming out again, I decided to pop to the car park to see what was going on. The lady had disappeared by now but, on closer inspection, I noticed that I recognised the car.
It was my daughter’s!
I then drove off to my 2.00pm meeting, now being a little pressed for time.
My point was/is this. Sometimes in life one comes across weird coincidences. In this instance my daughter, who lives out Oxford way, must have come to London for some purpose or another (shopping, or perhaps to meet up with a pal?) and, knowing that I was staying in the country, had simply used my car park space for the sake of convenience before going off on her expedition. For that brief moment – i.e. when she was getting out of her car and rummaging around in the boot – I had ‘spied’ upon my own daughter going about her life, totally unaware that her father was watching her.
[I’m saying nothing about the issue that I didn’t recognise her as my daughter – the fact I just wasn’t expecting to see her in that place at that time probably, hopefully, had something to do with it – because it may say more about my uselessness as a parent that I would care to admit.]