It all began with the prophecy of a Romany gypsy. My Mum answered a knock on the door and found herself staring into the rheumy eyes of a diminutive gypsy wrapped in a black shawl, embroidered skirt billowing in the breeze, gnarled hands clutching a woven basket containing sprigs of heather and wooden dolly pegs.
“Want to buy, Missus?”
The year was 1948. The end of the war at last. My parents had very little money and Mum didn’t really need any of the items, but there was much superstition surrounding these travellers in those days and, fearful lest a spell be put on her, Mum opted to buy the pegs for thruppence, thinking they would be the more useful.
“Shall I read your fortune?” the gypsy enquired.
Afraid it might cost more, but unwilling to say no, Mum nodded.
“You will have two daughters. One will be musical, and one will go over the seas” was all she said as she turned and trudged wearily back down the path.
“Thank you”, Mum called after her, not quite sure of what to make of this prophecy.
As there was only me at this time, playing contentedly in the back garden out of sight, and my sister was not even a twinkle in my parents’ eyes, the gypsy’s words seemed a figment of imagination, and Mum forgot about them. Little did she know, though, how true this prediction would be.
My sister, Sheila, was born in 1949 and went on to win a Scholarship to the Royal College of Music as a flautist. And I went on to become an Assistant Purser with P & O, and thereafter Ambassador’s PA with the Diplomatic Service.
Sheila and I learned all this just after Dad died and we were reminiscing. Something triggered the memory, and Mum told us then. We were flabbergasted. Whatever prompted this old lady to say such a thing? In those days both careers were not very common for women. We shall never know. Even today, I still shiver a bit when I think of this encounter. Is it spooky or what?
How I wish now, though, that I could tell this old lady how right she had been. The course of my life seems to have been mapped out for me (and for Sheila), and I embarked on a career spanning forty exciting, sometimes perilous, but always memorable years of travel, as told in my memoir “From Oceans to Embassies”.
Join me in my blogs to learn how my story unfolds and to read a few of the highlights of my itinerant life.
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