Sunday, 12 June 2011

Walthamstow and an Author from Southend

Two days before an exam that I would like to pass.  Is there any hope of me passing it?  Probably not, I may scrape a bare fail or whatever they call that grade just under the pass mark. It is a Saturday, and I know that I am probably going to be subjected to thumping music coming up from downstairs.  So, with the view that prevention is better than cure, I pack up my little sporty red knapsack with a few books, my revision guide, a note book and a pen and head off in search of peace.

Westcliff library has people chatting and talking loudly at the counter, it is tiny and there is a distinct lack of cafe, so I carry on walking into Southend.  It is a longer walk, it does take up a good half an hour, but it is half an hour of exercise that will make me feel better.

Southend library has a group of toddlers singing in the children's section and it is packed with students last minute cramming, all over the place!  on a Saturday!  I try not to panic and find a lovely table, smooth, large enough to hold my books and I set about making last minutes notes.  One hour in and there are parts of me that are numb from sitting in the same position.  I finish up my note-taking and head off to the cafe.  You know, the cafe on the first floor that has been there for thirty years.  The one where the lady behind the counter, Sue, knows people by name and always manages to chat as she makes the tea.  The cafe has gone!  The cafe is no more.  It has been replaced by an Art Gallery.  I am met by the Artist who is happily displaying her splurges of ink.  I try to hide my disappointment, there will be no buttered tea cake or tea.  Apparently the cafe has been replaced by a small version of Starbucks.  Yuck.  I will be lucky to get away with spending less than a fiver and it is out in the open.  Still, my muscles and my mind needs a rest so I go and find a tea that has to be, stirred with a wooden stick. The tea is weak, insipid and pretty tasteless.  I go for a tuna and cucumber bap and I get away with a £3.50 bill, (the lack of tuna and two pieces of cucumber, I should have complained under the Trade Misdescriptions).

Seeing a comfortable looking brown leather sofa though, I am cheered up that my quest for a change of scenery has brought me to padded support.  There is a little old lady and her carer sitting the other side of my table, so naturally we get talking.  Her choice of subject matter, life has changed, London is not the same.  She says her Mum lived all her life in London, in Walthamstow, I say I was born in Walthamstow. We are both pleased.  Love the coincidence. As we are chatting, another lady joins in the conversation, she is an author, from Southend and she happily tells me that she did her degree in literature with the Open University before she was published. 

I am heartened.  My exam on Tuesday is with the Open University and here I am, in need of nourishment and encouragement and I have a chance encounter with a woman who mentions my place of birth and a role model presents herself to me as a reminder why I am doing the exam with the OU.

Neither of these people have any idea that I love coincidence or my full on love affair with synchronicity and yet, here I am, having coincidences with both of them.

I thank the Universe and spirit for bringing me to the leather sofa in the library to meet with two strangers who have something in common with me.

Lots of love and light to everyone who needs it.

Tamasin x

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