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Magical Thinking

We hurtled along tree-lined lanes, in my niece's sparkling sports car. Her driving was assured but her remarks were reckless. An attempt, no doubt, to lighten my mood.

Annie and the balmy morning, succeeded. By the time we reached our mystery destination, I was almost animated.

'We need a drink', she said. - But the White Lion's restaurant was not quite ready.

'There's always the churchyard', I joked.

She grinned, 'Why not? - I've got some booze in the boot.' Seeing my reaction, she explained, 'It's only cans of shandy!'

Annie sat by the church door while I studied architecture. Some of the stonework seemed very old, Saxon even. I was impressed. The door wasn't locked, so we went in - having carefully binned those cans.

It felt friendly and welcoming. My niece lit a candle in her late mother's memory - and I began to explore the small, well-cared-for nave.

Under a side aisle window, I viewed a simple display about the building's history - plans, elevations, old engravings and photographs. Unremarkable items except for an alarming, bronze-like head or mask. Some obscure parish worthy's death-mask, perhaps?

I read aloud, 'Sir Isaac Newton (1642-1726) was baptised here in St John the Baptist's Church, Colsterworth.'

Excited, I sped across to Annie. Did you know about this? I gushed. I’ve been reading about him online. He was not just a great scientist. He was probably schizoid or autistic - or both. And he was serious about alchemy and the occult.

Showing little interest in my discovery, Annie remarked, 'The pub will be ready by now. But, as we go, make sure not to walk under any apple trees!'

While we waited in the pub's beer garden, I rambled on about Newton, the magus - and about dreams and meaningful coincidences. Those steep concrete steps over there, for instance. They feel familiar. Deja vue.'

'In one of your 'vivid dreams'?'

- 'Yes, I think so.'

Rapidly changing the subject, Annie began reminiscing about the pets she and her brother had owned as children - birds and kittens - and a beautiful black Labrador bitch.

While she was saying this, slowly descending - like some glorious deus ex machina - a handsome, self assured black Labrador carefully stepped down the concrete flight, padded across to us and gently placed its soft muzzle on my open palm.

'Now what do you think about meaningful coincidences?'

Annie was only half-listening. 'Uncle Jack, are you going to buy me some of the White Lion's special honey, to take home with us?

Enough said...

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