Thursday, November 17, 2005


Einstein said, "Coincidence is God's way of remaining anonymous" and there are certain cases of coincidence that lead you to think that a Greater Force is behind them.

I have my very own tale of an amazing coincidence and it is one of the reasons why I believe that I really must have a Guardian Angel of some nature. So, before you think I've gone completely kooky, read on and be astounded.

Back in 2002 in the throes of marital warfare which led to a decision to divorce, we were building a house. Great timing, yes I know. We had moved out of our little house which had been sold and were crammed into a flat we owned; a 1-bedroomed flat in the centre of Montpellier, which was a mighty squash for 4 people. Life was hell.

About 10 days before Christmas, our builders decided to stop work and lock us out of the new house because we were not happy with their work and would not pay them until they had righted the very obvious wrongs that were ongoing. I was thus in a total mess; not sleeping, being shouted at at home, trying to stay sane enough to work and not lose it in front of the boys.

On my way home one dark evening, a week before Christmas, I rounded a bend off a bridge to merge with the main road below, and slowed to a stop because of a stationary car in front of me, a Renault 21. I was driving the Rover 827 Sterling we had brought back from the US, an automatic. My mind was not concentrating on the matter in hand, and I thought the car in front had moved off, so I accelerated and went BANG into the car in front. Oops.

This was, naturally, the last thing I needed, but was by no means a surprise given my chaotic state of mind. I apologised profusely for the accident which was 100% my fault to the gentleman of a certain age and his wife who were very annoyed as well they might be so near to Christmas when everything closes down forever and a day.

The Renault was in a bad way. In some ways I was quite proud of the effect, simply because the Rover had practically nothing to show except the odd scratch on the chunky American bumper. Great British workmanship, I thought, as opposed to shoddy French trash.

Meanwhile back at the edge of the road, paperwork needed to be dealt with and the rather handy Accident Report had to be filled in. Mr X and I didn't have all the relevent information to hand, so he suggested we meet up the following day to finish the paperwork. I agreed, and suggested he come to my place of work.

The next afternoon, he arrives calmer and we get the Report signed and split between us. No more modifications can now be made, so we have a little chat, and I tell him that I was in a state of some magnitude because of the problems we were having with our house builders. He perks up at this and tells me that he is the Chief Expert in building at the Palais de Justice in Montpellier, and that if he can in any way be of assitance, he would be delighted to help. He is Mr Big in the building world, legally-speaking, being one of 7 experts who decide who is right and who is wrong in building disputes.

Well, talk about gobsmacked. I did naturally ask him to come and help advise (as a 'friend' he insisted, no payment) at the confrontation with the builders when we were supposed to sign off on the house as finished. The PdG of the building company arrived in his BMW with his lacky, his lawyer expecting to squash us into a pulp with legal claptrap.

We appeared with our secret weapon, Mr X who remained discreet until he could stand the claptrap no longer, declared himself and watched the slight panic pass across the face of the lackey lawyer. Was I enjoying myself? You bet. How often is it that you have THE expert of the region on YOUR side, eh?

He told the lackey that there was nothing he could say that would pass muster legally concerning our case, and negotiated with the builder to right the obvious wrongs or be taken to court where he would lose. The wrongs amounted to the princely sum of around 300Euros, so it was really a very silly argument to press for want of loss of face, but then, some men are prepared to go far into detrimental situations to avoid loss of face.

So, there you have it. Crashing into Mr X saved us probably around 2yrs in court for 300Euros worth of work, we had a highly entertaining afternoon watching the builder and his lackey get crushed beneath the Power of Right, and we got the work that needed to be done listed and signed in an official document. It was then done as promised. How cool is that?

Now, wouldn't you believe in Einstein's definition of coincidence if that had happened to you?

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