An unlikely, but truthful, encounter
On a hot summer’s day in 1995, in a lavish garden in Fife, my supervisor and I were standing in a big hole in the ground. The hole had been dug some days previously, and we were there to start working on the swimming pool that was to eventually fill the sizeable excavation where we were now standing.
The garden, and accompanying estate, was the property of Henry Scrymgeour-Wedderburn, 11th Earl of Dundee, who had commissioned the swimming pool.
As we toiled in the blaze of the midday sun, we saw Earl Dundee walking around with someone who looked very familiar to me. The pair walked towards us and engaged us in conversation. The Earl’s companion, a much older gentleman, regaled us with a tale of an eccentric man who used to go swimming in Hyde Park every day, rain or shine. After he’d finished his tale I piped up.
‘I hope you don’t mind me asking, but you seem very familiar’ said I.
‘Oh?’ replied the man. ‘Do you have any money in your pocket?’
Thinking this was a very odd thing to ask, but aware of the peculiarities of the aristocracy (who I thought this guy must have been a member of), I pulled out a 50p piece from my pocket.
‘You see that woman?’ he asked, pointing at the coin. ‘That’s my wife.’
‘Ah,’ I said. ‘That’s how I know you.’