We stood silently looking at a tree upended in my local park. “Hard to believe that the wind was strong enough to take this one down” I eventually remarked to a lady wearing a red crocheted hat, and carrying a plastic bag. “I know” she responded. “I’ve found all sorts of bits of crockery digging about at the base”. She looked off into the distance. “There must have been a house here a couple of hundred years ago, and a nice one at that – you can tell by the quality of this delph” she said thoughtfully.
I walked towards her. “Here” she said, rooting in the bag to bring out a small piece of blue crockery which she gently brushed the earth off before handing it to me. “They say if you find something worth having, give a bit of it away. It’s the sharing that makes it worthwhile”. I was touched and thanked her. “I wonder if it’s Wedgwood – it sort of looks like that, doesn’t it?” “Yes, I’ll look them up when I get home” she said.
She wandered off to sit on a bench and I found myself there too a minute or so later, keen for more conversation with a curious soul.
“I like that things can happen by chance” she mused. “I met my ex husband like that. I was standing under an umbrella sheltering from the rain in Leicester Square and he ducked under it – asked me if I minded. I looked at his back. He’s nice I thought, and married him. And, I was okay with that”.
“I’ll tell you a funny story. Before my neighbour went on holiday recently he was saying he’d have to do something with the garden on his return. I saw him standing out there the day before he left. There were a few builders hanging about nearby. He was holding out his palms saying to a friend in a loud voice – ‘Look what I just found in the garden – two sous! Well I never! I’ll have to have a look when I get back from Tenerife – they’re worth quite a bit you know’. Two weeks later he returned to find his garden completely dug over”.
We chuckled away as the light dimmed and a park keeper came to tell us the gates would shut soon.
“It was lovely meeting you Marie”, I said. “See you again here sometime?” “The last time I was in this park was 20 years ago and I only live up the road. Trust me, it’s better this way” she replied, smiling.