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Sunday, March 7, 2010


How often have you read a book or watched a film where the plot has turned on a coincidence? I bet your lip curled at the use of such a trite plot device and the credibility of the author sunk to an all time low?

Any writer worth their salt will do ANYTHING to avoid the use of coincidence in their writing and yet coincidence occurs in real life all the time.

This was brought home to me over the last weekend.

Sometime before Christmas, DH and I had booked what is now quaintly referred to as a "mini break" to our nation's capital to take in a travelling exhibition of Impressionists from the Musee D'Orsay. As the year sprinted through January and hurled itself into February our weekend away was upon us.

On the Thursday before we left, DH rang his brother in Sydney to discuss some family matters. At the conclusion of the conversation the talk turned to the weekend plans.
"We're flying up to Canberra for the weekend," DH imparted.
Pause. ""Oh, so are we! We're driving down Saturday morning with some friends."
DH:  "Great! We must catch up for dinner on Saturday night. Where are you staying?"
His brother named the same hotel where we were booked. They had only made the decision to go to Canberra the week before!

(A tip for visitors to our National Gallery, it is worth every cent to pay for "preview" tickets - no queue and we were in the front door at 9.00 am).
As we left the exhibition, the queue now stretched the full length of the hall, out the front door and down into the car park. We heard our names called out and scanned the waiting line of people to see right before us, some old friends from our Singapore days who, although they live in Melbourne, we probably only see once a year. Like us they had flown up for the weekend with some friends.

That evening, we gathered for dinner with DH's brother, wife and their Sydney friends. We chose a random restaurant (among the many) in Manuka and settled in for a pleasant evening. Just as our meals were served, DH leaned across and said "Look at the table behind you." I turned around to see an old colleague from my Army days with his wife and their Melbourne friends (I'm not sure if the whole of Melbourne had decamped to Canberrra for the weekend but it was beginning to feel like it!). We had not seen each other for well over 10 years and enjoyed a wonderful catch up over lunch the next day.

So - coincidence? Once maybe, twice but three times in two days? Imagine if those encounters had occurred in the book you are reading? You would probably have hurled it at the wall!

Strange coincidences in your life? Fact being stranger than fiction, I would love to share your stories with you.