You probably know by now that I belong to our local writers' group, which meets in our local Quaker Meeting House on the first Wednesday in each month. We are a nice group of around a dozen, but this being the holiday season there were only eight of us this morning. It really is such a lovely group of like minded people - we have a theme, which we broadly speaking stick to, we read out our work and then we discuss it. Today, as there we so few of us, we had plenty of time, and I must say that most of the discussion was about content rather than about technique. But that made a change and we really had a most stimulating morning.
The subject which was the starting point for today's writing was to do something connected with Astrology and horoscopes. The result was wide-ranging. My particular favourites were a piece by L about hoarding treasures or clearing the decks - it rang so many bells for me; and a piece by H, in which she researched 'The glorious first of June' (her birthday) - absolutely fascinating.
Here is my effort - part fact and part fiction.
I don't believe in Astrology. Does anyone? How could you possibly believe that the movement of the stars and planets across the night sky could exert an influence on peoples' lives, or on the characteristics of their personalities? That sort of thing, along with Phrenology, surely belongs to an age when we really knew so very little about the workings of the scientific world.
And yet once, when I belonged to a so-called 'select' group of women, all of whom held positions of responsibility within an organisation, we were attending a meeting where, after the business, the subject of horoscopes came up. I am a Scorpio - Scorpios are reputedly bossy, like to be in charge, like to be the one organising things. There were twelve of us at the meeting and we found that eleven of us were Scorpios!
Did that change my attitude? Well no, but I confess to reading my horoscope if I come across it in the newspaper. But don't we all do that?
So when I read my horoscope on this particular morning and it said that something momentous was going to happen to me that day, I smiled and thought to myself, 'Yes, probably one of my Premium Bonds is going to come up.'
Of course, by the time I was ready to take my dog for his daily constitutional, I had completely forgotten about the whole thing. We set off across the fields on our usual route. It was a lovely day. The sky was a beautiful blue with white puffy clouds. There was a pleasant Autumn breeze blowing and it felt good to be alive. I had been a widow for just two years and was as last beginning to feel 'normal' again.
The walk followed its usual pattern. We walked on the footpath - the dog got well in front of me, then I would pass him and he would get well behind me. But he always caught up. He was a good dog and a great companion even if he did dash off after the occasional rabbit (he never caught one and would not have know what to do with it if he had.)
We were both enjoying ourselves; so much so that I didn't notice the approaching black clouds, nor did I hear the rumble of thunder until it got quite close. In fact it was a flash of lightning that alerted me to an approaching storm.
I looked around. I had no coat with me and no umbrella. Just across the field was a barn and I realised that the best thing to do was to make for that and shelter inside until the storm had passed.
I just reached it as big heavy drops of rain began to fall. I pulled open the door and shut it behind me as the din of torrential rain rattled on the corrugated iron roof. I was safe and dry.
It was then that I saw the bull. Alright, he was in a pen so I was safe enough, but it was a bit of a shock. Actually he took no notice of me whatsoever and carried on eating the hay in his rack, his back towards me. Then someone spoke. That did make me jump.
The farmer was standing inside the barn, also sheltering from the rain. It was only as my eyes adjusted to the dim light that I saw him. We had met many times on the footpath but suddenly we were face to face.
We chatted about the weather, about the bull, about farming in general. But there was something about the meeting that was different, something that only struck me as I was walking home after the storm had passed. I really liked this man. I had really enjoyed our chat in the barn.
Two years later we were married and we have now been happily married for twenty years. So yes, something momentous really did happen that day.
Oh, and by the way, although I don't believe in astrology, I do still read my horoscope. And no, there wasn't a Premium Bond prize waiting for me when I got home that day.