The email Sunny sent me was intriguing. It simply read:
“A couple came to me this morning after they read the newsletter on the website with the prayer list, where we prayed for you. I told them I will pass their contact details to you.”
It all turned out to be quite remarkable. The ‘couple’, living in Fulham only 5 minutes away from us, were called John and Angela and he had been a pupil at Ripon Grammar School (Yorkshire) from 1952 to 1960, where he particularly remembered me when I was Head Boy from 1957 to 59. He’d been doing some family genealogy and, reflecting on his schooldays, had decided to try and trace some of his schoolmasters and fellow pupils.
“It had been a difficult search as I’d uncovered little” he wrote, “until I came to your name. There I found a lot of leads due to the extraordinary life you’ve led, one of which was on the ‘Friends of Cathedral Music’ site where I spotted:
‘Peter and Angela are now living in London in an apartment overlooking the Thames at Battersea Reach. ‘We are still ‘sampling’ worship at various locations’ says Peter, ‘But we do like Southwark Cathedral (our Diocese), Westminster Abbey and St Mary’s Battersea, our nearest church”.
So I then went to St Mary’s website where I looked through the latest, July 2014, newsletter, and found there a request for prayers for you.
Living close by, in fact on a route I often used to walk on Sundays, Angela and I took ourselves round and knocked on the vestry door, leaving our names and contact details.”
And thus it was that, a week later, we met up again for the first time in 55 years and had a happy time reminiscing about our schooldays.
We’d both been boarders at the school and had plenty of shared memories of the appalling food (or, more accurately, the lack of it!), the way we played up some of the masters (remembering especially our splendid re-enactment (with flares ‘borrowed’ from the cadet hut) of the Battle of the Roses in a history lesson), and how we managed to get away with breaking many of what seemed to us to be petty school rules without getting caught (such as managing to get to the local cinema on a Saturday afternoon, having saved up our 6d a week pocket money (6d = 2.5p)). Ah, those were the days!
So praise be to St Mary’s website and newsletter for bringing two scallywags together again after all these years.
The rest you know…