I traveled to London for the ceremony to unveil the headstone of my distant cousin, inventor Louis Brennan. Knowing that the event would be presided over by the Irish Prime Minister, known as the Taoiseach, and attended by the Castlebar mayor, several ambassadors and members of the Australian, English, and Irish military, I was naturally quite excited. (more on that another day.)
My husband and I arrived shortly before noon on March 6. As part of my research on my father’s travels, I hoped to locate the hotel where Dad’s family stayed in 1931 on their way from New Jersey to the Soviet Union as well as visit the port town of Southampton. (Finding Dad’s Hotel)
Additionally, I wanted to see the Tower of London and perhaps take in a show. After all, I couldn’t visit London without hitting some of the tourist spots prior to the big day at St. Mary’s Church and Kensal Green Cemetery. The anticipation was overwhelming.
Imagine my excitement when I opened an email on Saturday morning from my friend “Bumblebee”, the globe-trotting woman from New Zealand who had taken some photographs for me in a St. Peterburg cemetery back in October.A Bumblebee Searches for Tony-Random Act of Kindness
By sheer coincidence, or maybe serendipity, Bumblebee informed me that she was also in London, and was hoping we could meet.
At that point, I did not know what was more exciting—the knowledge that I might meet the Prime Minister of Ireland or that this very kind woman from afar had somehow ended up in London at the same time as me.
How could that have happened? Her travels were spontaneous. There appeared to be no specific itinerary. The date of the ceremony to honor a man who had died 82 years ago had been changed many times. Never in a million years did I ever believe I would be able to convey my gratitude to Bumblebee in person.
She told me she would meet us at our hotel at noon on our last full day in London. She said she would be dressed in a black knee length padded raincoat and would have a small black bag across my shoulders. It sounded so James Bond.
It turned out that she was not the only woman dressed that way, so it was a little challenging to find the right person. I eliminated anyone wearing heeled shoes, because I felt a world traveler like Bumblebee would be attired in sensible walking shoes. I was correct.
There she was. We both stared at each other for a few moments before slowly walking closer. We hugged and then spent the next eight hours together, sharing two meals and coffee.
Bumblebee promised she would begin blogging again. I told her I worried about her after she had gone silent in December when she visited Iran. She told me her story–where she had been, and where she planned to visit next.
Meeting her was an unexpected and amazing end to an adventurous trip to London. I never thought I would ever come face-to-face with her. I guess the stars were aligned that week in London!