Coincidences – a saga fifty-five years in the making

07 December 2018

Saga traveller Geoff Wainwright got in touch to tell us a tale of coincidences and friendships regained…



There are so many things to enjoy about Saga cruising – wonderful service from the best crews afloat; excellent food; and a ‘the answer’s yes; now what’s the question?’ mentality. What I didn’t expect was for them to arrange the biggest coincidence in my 70 plus years!

My wife Jo and I travel with Saga fairly often. She started with her mother after she was widowed, and continued with me when her mum got beyond travelling.

We were on the Northern Lights cruise a few years ago when I was told a supposedly true story (and I have no reason to doubt it) by an Australian passenger with whom I was chatting for the first time.

The Northern Lights trip was wonderful for all the right, cold, scenic, Saga reasons – but also for this tale of coincidence.

He was working in the oil industry and was based in Brazil. The hotel he was staying in was full of Petrochemical ex-pats from all over the world and he started chatting to an English engineer who was just about to relocate to Australia – specifically, to Melbourne.

“Oh, I know Melbourne,” said the Australian. “Which district are you going to?” A particular suburb was mentioned, and the Aussie said, “I know that neighbourhood quite well – what road?”

On being told the road name, the Australian went quiet and then said, “It’s not number 61 you're buying, is it?”

“How in God’s name did you know that?” asked the engineer.

“You’re buying my brother’s house!” he said.

An amazing coincidence and a great story - and I had no reason to think it wasn’t true. But I did ever so slightly wonder if that’s all it was: a great story, rather than a true one. Surely coincidences like that don’t really happen?




How does all this relate to our most recent trip in August 2018 – the excellent four-day and six-day cruises that we took together, taking in Honfleur, Caen, The Isles of Scilly, Cork and Dartmouth? The link is: coincidences.

On changeover day in Dover after the four-day cruise my wife and I popped down to the restaurant for lunch. We were shown to an empty table set for six – and were soon joined by a couple of ladies. We had just started to chat when a man and a woman were shown to the remaining places. We didn’t know each other; the seating was totally random. The only point in common was that they too were doing the two cruises back-to-back.

Chatting, as you do, we had just asked the ladies where they were from and they said Surrey. We said that we knew Surrey fairly well – hadn’t lived there for 50 or more years, but used to live near Kingston. The chap from the other couple leaned into the conversation and asked, “Which school did you go to?” Tiffin School, I replied.

At that, he sat back and asked quietly, “What years were you there?” I quickly worked out it was 1959 – 1966, at which point he said. “I’m John Hawley” to which I replied, “I’m Geoff Wainwright and we went on two cycling holidays together with two other friends – probably 1964 and 65!”

Saga trips can be wonderful for a whole host of reasons. This particular two-header is now firmly in the unforgettable category for bringing John and me together again after the best part of fifty-five years!

I had kept in touch with the other two school friends from those cycling trips. The first was around the south east of England; but the second was more adventurous, around Belgium and Holland. We had thought they would be good for biking because they were flat! This proved true, until the wind was blowing in your face.

After that, John had unfortunately just dropped off my radar – until coincidence brought us together for lunch on Saga Pearl - and, in another coincidence, in the same port from which we had set out to cycle the Low Countries all those years ago.

We won’t be leaving it another 50 years before we catch up again! We may, however, not be on bikes!

Have you experienced any remarkable coincidences on a Saga holiday or cruise? Let us know on web.editor@saga.co.uk!





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