People, Places & Dates
This week has been jam packed of unexpected, emotional coincidences.
I wrote last weekend that I have finally found my Uncle Frank. I’ve since discovered that the institution he was in for the last two years of his life has been converted into luxury flats. All the surrounding buildings and area, including the graveyard, were knocked down and built over in the mid 1990s.
This coming Friday is the training event in Derby where I will meet up with Justice Peter Jackson for our first encounter since that day in the High Court in 2011. As the day approaches, my nerves and emotional state increase. The other day I was checking out the Google directions from my hotel to the training venue and noticed a road name that sounded very familiar. It turned out that the conference venue is about 10 minutes from where Uncle Frank was buried. I’m travelling up to Derby the day before and have decided to laminate Uncle Frank’s part of the family tree, buy some flowers and go and find a suitable spot in the grounds to leave my marks of respect. It’s going to be quite a two days!
On Wednesday, I took a call from someone who wanted to invite me to tell the Get Steven Home story at another conference in the North towards the end of March. I accepted and she said she would email me the details. Two things – the conference is being held in the town of Steven’s birth and the date is the exact day, 22 years ago when we found out that we had been shortlisted to become Steven’s parents. We had to endure a further three months of assessments before we were finally chosen.
And then blow me down, last night at my flat, I watched Brian Blessed’s episode of Who Do You Think You Are. He had managed to trace his great grandfather but at some time in the mid 1800s, the family up sticks from Portsmouth and moved North to a small market town. It was the town where Steven was in foster care. At one point in the programme, Blessed met up with a local historian and it was at the same hotel that Julie and I stayed in during our week of introductions to Steven. They sat at the very same table we sat at in the lounge because I remember Steven spilling a drink all over the brown leather sofa. I’d never heard of the town before that introductions week and I have never seen it on TV since.
I suspect that when I travel up for the conference in March, I may have to make two stop offs along the way.
I tend to live by the rule, “never go back” and neither of these two visits feels like a retrograde step.
More like, it feels like these significant moments from my past have reignited for me to offer a grateful and fond thank you.