Saturday, 17 December 2016

A chance conversation and a discovery ........ a five minute encounter on the bus

Now I know that Manchester is a cosmopolitan city but what are the chances that a casual conversation with a stranger on the bus should reveal that not only were we both from London but both grew up in Greenwich not more than a mile from each other?

Manchester 2009
Not only was that but our early years spent in Peckham again just a mile away.

It had started with the woman asking me if the bus terminated at the bus station and in the course of a few minutes we picked up on each other's London accent and the rest as they say became the surprise of the evening.

We never exchanged names but I discovered that her son lived in Chorlton and her daughter in Levenshulme and that she was moving to Southport where her brother lives.

And there I suspect the story comes to an end but if there is one thing I have discovered over the years you can never say never.

So a chance conversation and a five minute encounter on the bus have yet to run its course.

My fellow traveller lived in Lee which is just down the road from Eltham and back beyond that lived on the Old Kent Road which with a short walk down Pomeroy Street across Queens Road brings you to Lausanne Road where we lived in the 1950s and early 60s.

Eltham, 2014
Now I don’t draw any more significance from the set of coincidences other than to say it made me feel rather happy.

Manchester is my adopted city where I have lived since 1969 which means that I have been here far longer than in London and love the place.

But there is no getting away from the pull of where you started off in life.  That said all those other experiences do get overlaid.

And like many it can lead to a bit of confusion as to who I am.

Woolwich and the river 2011
Most people maintain I have a London accent and one expert correctly placed me across the river in south east London.

My sons will affectionately mimic me but forty years in the North have changed it subtly, but when my sisters are up or I get excited it reverts to that Eltham accent.

And I never quite feel at home until the train pulls across the river into Waterloo Station.

But all my grown up experiences have been here in Manchester, our kids were all born here and I get quiet pride from walking the streets and taking in the history.

Setting all that aside I can also fell a pull for the Highlands where the family originated, and Newcastle upon Tyne where they settled after crossing the border, and have even been known to reminisce about Derby where mother grew up after the family arrived from Germany.

Quite a lot really following that chance conversation.

Location; all over

Pictures; from the collection of Andrew Simpson and Elizabeth & Colin Fitzpatrick

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