From Phuket to ‘Elle’

Yesterday was a very satisfying day. I went to talk to a group of women in Radcliffe on Trent near Nottingham. A group of mostly retired women, they call their group ‘Elle’. They meet each month in the restaurant called Ashmores where they eat a splendid lunch, if mine was anything to go by, and then listen to a speaker.

I had come to share my Are You Averill? talk. My friend, Maxine, a member of ‘Elle’ had suggested me as speaker. When I arrived the organiser put me on the same table as Maxine to sit between her and a friend of ours, Pat. The amazing thing for me was that the very first time I had given a presentation about the search for and the finding of my birth mother Maxine and Pat had been in the audience.

Maxine was living with her husband in Thailand and Pat and her husband were going to visit.  This was in 2006 and we went, too. After a few days in Bangkok we flew down to Phuket where Maxine and her husband, Godfrey, picked us up and took us to stay in their delightful home. The first evening we sat around the table in the garden beside the pool in the warmth of a balmy evening. I told them the story of how I had just met my birth-mother for the first time only days before we flew out to Thailand. It was an exciting evening.

The following day, Godfrey asked me if I would tell the story I had told them the previous evening to his Rotary group. Huh! Come away on holiday and someone asks you to do something that amounts to work. But I said I would. Of course I did. On the proviso that they could supply me with a pad of lined A4 paper because giving a talk was not like chatting round a table by the pool with a glass of wine in your hand. And of course I talked to the Rotary group in spite of the fact that for most of the audience English wasn’t their first language.

So different from the Elle group yet for me it was quite splendid to be telling the story with my friends there again, members of my first audience from 10 years ago. I still had the papers I used for the notes. The story had progressed considerably from that time, of course. I met with my mother many times before her death; I had no notion of finding Zygmunt, my father, nor of writing a book. But I was able to say, in fact I held them in my hand, that from the sheaf of A4 papers the book emerged. Some things are just meant to be.

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