43 / Accident of Fate

A lovely and unexpected consequence of publishing a blog that is openly accessible has been renewal of contact with long lost friends and former colleagues - as evidenced below...

Accident, fate or merely co-incidence?

I first saw Mowbray in 1963 near Carcassonne in France.  He was hitch hiking beside the road with the castle looming in the distance.

I was also hitch hiking – on my way back from Madrid.  I’d gone to Spain since it was cheaper than France, and I had little money. I’d been working on a farm in Austria for food and board only.  I’d been sleeping rough traveling through Italy and Southern France eking my limited funds out until I could earn money in the vendange or grape harvest.  However, when I reported for work fish were swimming in the vineyards, and so the vendange was delayed until the floods receded.

Later Mowbray turned up at the youth hostel in Lezignan Corbieres where multi-national grape pickers were hungrily awaiting the the vendange.  New arrivals were easily identified by the time they spent in the primitive toilets – a consequence of stuffing themselves with the rare bunches of white grapes they had rescued from the mess covering the vines…

When Mowbray and I finally moved to the primitive little village of Roubia (our base for the grape harvest in the surrounding vineyards) we hit it off, and became friends.  After a few weeks I hitch hiked back to the UK – nearly two stones lighter - to start University but we stayed in contact.
Was our meeting an accident, fate or merely a co-incidence?

The following year I had a serious motorcycle accident and spent five weeks In hospital in Czechoslovakia.  The resulting long convalescence meant I had to postpone my University course for a year.  Without this I would not have met the girl who subsequently became my wife and mother of our three children.  

Once again was this an accident, fate or merely a co-incidence.

© Benóg Brady Bates


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