If my lift had not been delayed, I would have left the station before another writer arrived. She produced a book, which I had read and enjoyed. So I asked her (although I knew the answer) whether she was a writer. We were heading for the same place. She was waiting for the author of the book in her hand.
“I don’t know what he looks like,” she said.
(He and I are friends on Facebook, but hadn’t met.)
Her lift arrived followed almost immediately by mine. The result was that five writers went for a snack together before proceeding to their destination.
Four of us were already in contact on social media. The only one of them I had met had offered me a lift. Our group consisted of four women and one man.
After being shown to our rooms we reassembled for tea and cake. I met some more people I had seen in London last October and others with whom I am connected on Twitter and/or Facebook.
On the journey I had written a poem. I think it was the following day that one of the phrases from it was used by Adrian Plass speaking from the stage. (Perhaps it wasn’t a particularly original phrase!)
Meals were served in a large dining room. For the first evening meal I was sitting near two of the people from the snack earlier. I asked the man, who writes YA novels set in an imaginary world, whether he had read Across the Nightingale Floor. He had not, but the young lady sitting between us at the end of the table had read it. She remembered that it was written by Leanne Hearn. The young lady is not a writer and was there (among other things) to help look after guests.
The person next but one to me was hidden behind the other passenger from my lift, who was talking to her. I asked who was there. We were introduced and she shook my hand enthusiastically. I remembered later that she was the person, who had commented gratefully when my piece about shyness was featured by post40bloggers.
I had visited the nearby village once before. It was a long time ago, when our grown-up children were still children, that we visited members of our family in the area. That weekend we had been to a cave with stalactites and stalagmites, where our host was a part-time tour guide. One of the people I mentioned this to had also been a guide in a different cave.
Although it was a busy weekend with a programme of talks and activities including writing exercises, I managed to meet and have useful conversations with everyone I hoped to connect with and more people besides.
One online friend had published a blog post I wanted to talk to her about as it touched on issues which really concern me. She had an interest in common with the lady from the station and their writing exercises have been published together on her blog. They are both keen that people with disabilities should be included and welcomed in churches.
Another person who sat at the edge and crocheted quietly turned out to have similar interests. Psalm 41 on which we reflected in our morning prayers was relevant to the blog post I mentioned above.
It was only afterwards that I discovered that one of the writers has a different invisible disability. I wish I had known as I have particular sympathy for deaf people. My Dad was deaf in one ear and my mother and many of my friends use hearing aids. Even with these they still experience difficulty hearing in noisy places.
There were also coincidences around places where people had lived, but that is bound to happen in any large group of people.
We enjoyed the company of a lady with a remarkable assistance dog.
We were blessed with good weather, beautiful scenery, birds to watch, good food, many stories to hear and entertainment including music and comedy combined.
As the lady from the station remarked, “There have been so many coincidences this weekend that if anyone did not believe in God, they would think there was something funny going on.”
That was the day before I chanced to meet two (unconnected) people I had not seen for years!