It’s an ill wind …

Here’s a light-hearted little piece I wrote at Holmfirth Writers a while back.  I can’t remember what the exercise was, exactly, but the idea behind the piece was that there is no event so terrible that you can’t find somebody or other who has reason to be glad it happened.

I stress that this is a work of fiction and the views expressed are not those of the author!


Thank God for the sinking of the Titanic!  Don’t get me wrong – it was a terrible shame all those people had to drown – but if one of them in particular, the Honourable Archibald Crenshaw, had not made his unscheduled trip to the bottom of the Atlantic, my grandmother would certainly have married him and doubtless given birth to a brood of Etonians rather than the rather more down to earth litter she and my grandfather eventually produced.

Thanks are also due to Gavrilo Princip for being so kind as to murder the Archduke Franz Ferdinand, for otherwise there would have been no First World War – or at least, not quite the same one that actually happened. And where on earth would we be without the First World War and especially, of course, the Battle of the Somme. It was only due to the skill of the German machine-gunner who shot him in the hip that my grandfather found himself in the hospital where he met his future wife, who after four and a half years had finally got over the watery demise of her previous fiance. I must say, the man’s accuracy was phenomenal. A couple of inches to the left and it would have been a mere flesh wound. A couple to the right and … well, let’s just say he wouldn’t have been in a position to father any children.

Moving on a bit, acknowledgements are also due to Adolf Hitler and Hermann Goering. Were it not for the Blitz, my mother would not have been evacuated to Harrogate or encountered the shy, bespectacled youth she got to know there. Even then, things were touch and go for a while. He dithered for years, and hadn’t yet got round to asking her out by the time when, newly called-up, he was posted to the Far East and thus finally forced into action. But if the war had dragged on, who’s to say what would have happened? Would the nascent flame of love have been strong enough to survive a lengthy separation? Indeed, would my father have succeeded in avoiding the shells and bullets of the Japanese? So three cheers for the atomic bombs, I say! Had they not been dropped, I would not be here to tell this tale.

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