We're told very firmly as novelists that coincidences are not acceptable in novels because they are unbelievable. I guess that, as a reader, it's true that coincidences in fiction can be irritating. Like stumbling into that handsome man again in the supermarket/pub/park or finding your new boss is the man you indiscreetly had a one-nighter with last week.
But in life they do happen. It's really not unusual to bump into a near neighbour when you are walking along the deserted beach in the Maldives, or locking yourself out of your house and being handed a parcel from the postman containing the spare key your brother pocketed on his last visit.
Some people believe that coincidence is really synchronicity – that the oddity of something happening at the exact time and place where it it most useful (or perhaps disturbing?) is in some way 'meant' to happen. It's karma.
I don't know about that, but here's a little tale for you. Some of you will remember that last year my husband Robin and I took part in a show called Bargain Hunt on BBC television. We had a ball, and actually managed to make a small profit (£85) on our buys when they were auctioned. One item Robin fell in love with was a Murano glass vase made in the 60s. We didn't buy it, but he was thrilled to discover that our expert, Nick Hall, had purchased it as his 'bonus buy'. It made a tidy profit. We decided to keep our winnings and spend them either in Anita Manning's auction house in Glasgow (where our items were sold) or at the Antique Fair near Edinburgh where we purchased them. Today was our first chance to revisit the scene of our experiences. Coincidence one: the Bargain Hunt Team was filming again. Coincidence two: we spotted the Murano vase up for sale again!
Dear blog readers - we bought it (for less than it was sold in Glasgow). And we chatted to mein host, Tim Wonnacut, who grabbed a film crew and filmed our little story, complete with vase.
Coincidence? Synchronicity? Karma? Who knows - but I think I feel a short story coming on!
PS If we hear they will use the clip, I'll let you know in a month or two.