My tour of the UK continues (I am in Canterbury, Aldershot, Swindon and Milton Keynes this week â€“oh, the glamour). I was recently in Norwich, a city that I love and regularly visit. Back in the 1990s I ate some Golden Graham cereal covered in Colmanâ€™s mustard for the delight of the East Anglian crowd. The mustard factory is in the city and I will do anything for local approval.
I thought I knew the place well enough to walk from my Bed and Breakfast to the shopping centre. But I took a wrong turn and am pretty sure I passed through a Goodnight Sweetheart style passage back to the 1960.. I walked around a place called Anglia Square which would certainly have been knocked down and redeveloped if I was in the 21st Century.
My useless iphone battery had died after ten minutes of use and so I had to rely on the incorrect map in my head to get back to the (relative) future. I got quite badly lost. And as I am a man I have evolved to be incapable of asking for directions.
After an hour of wandering I was just wondering if I might bump into my friend and local celebrity Adam Buxton (from Adam and Joe, 6 Music and a new podcast that you should check out). But what were the chances of that?
Seconds later I had to stop as a car was pulling out of the parking space in front of a framing shop. An approaching mud-strewn 4 by 4 took advantage of the gap and turned off the road. The driver waved, I thought to acknowledge that he might be accused of cutting me up. But I looked again and saw the kind, bearded face of the man I had just been thinking about. I had conjured a minor celebrity up out of thin air.
You probably only get three wishes granted in a life time and I had wasted one of mine apparating a man who I had last seen a couple of weeks ago. I could have wished for Gemma Chan. But no. I got Buxton.
It was a strange coincidence, both that I had been thinking of him and that I had accidentally found myself in this rather obscure part of Norwich. We briefly chatted and Adam confirmed that I was now back on track for the city centre. It was like he was a guardian angel sent to point me in the right direction. Iâ€™d have preferred the angel Adam Buxton to have turned up an hour before and made me turn the right way out of my B&B or given me the Euromillions numbers, but you canâ€™t have it all.
It feels freaky when something like this happens, but of course even if a happenstance is a million to one then it will still occur once every million times. You will end up unexpectedly meeting someone you were just thinking about every now and again. It would only be significant if it happened every time you thought of a person or indeed if it never happened. The fact that coincidences happen, in actual fact, proves that everything it random. A better proof of a guiding hand would be if coincidences never occurred. Because some supernatural being would have to work their socks off orchestrating that nightmare.
So if you look up right now to see me smiling down at you, youâ€™re going to freak out. But it doesnâ€™t mean a thing!
But if I then give you tonightâ€™s correct lottery numbers then forget everything I said.
I had a bug last week, but I am a trooper and have only ever missed one gig due to illness so my shows went on. On stage in Wolverhampton I was sick in my mouth (a common reaction to being in Wolverhampton), but I followed the old showbiz maxim (that Iâ€™ve made up), â€śSwallow it and carry onâ€ť. Great advice for all performers in a variety of situations.