Hearing from the past

Ah, how wonderful it was to hear from my former professor at the University of Guelph in Canada, Dr John Bligh. I wrote in a previous post that we had had a couple to stay as our guests approximately six weeks ago, and one of them knew his wife, whom I had of course also met in the course of my English literature studies at Guelph as she too worked in the same department. However, it was Dr Bligh who supervised me when I wrote my honours degree thesis, and in all I had been enrolled in at least three of his courses as part of my B.A. (Honours) degree requirements.

As a lone overseas student matriculated amongst my foreign peers at Guelph University, I was particularly grateful that the English Department professors took my commitment to the study of English literature seriously. I remember well that when I first applied to the University, my high school compatriots were particularly vocal in trying to dissuade me from studying for a degree course that most overseas students would avoid like the plague. However, I have never regretted enrolling for the honours degree in English literature, and in fact went on to complete another two more postgraduate degrees in the same subject.

Dr Bligh was an excellent teacher and I admired him for his teaching ability. He was also very kind to this foreign student and invited me to his home for dinner with him and his wife, Dr Bailey, a number of times. His kindness included picking me up from my lodgings and taking me back after dinner. As such, I have lovely memories of both Dr Bligh and Dr Bailey, and was therefore ever so delighted to hear from him a couple of days ago.

I would never have managed to make this rather convoluted re-connection if Hubby and I had not been running our B&B for as long as we have, until Martin and Nancy, our inestimable posties, arrived to stay with us. And we would not now be working at the guest house if we had not been forced to find alternative jobs that would enable us to be at home for our children after school. Do you not think that coincidences such as these seem almost planned, despite my having to wait thirty years from the time I graduated before being put in touch with two individuals I remember fondly from my undergraduate days?

Life seems to comprise a medley of circumstances that come together eventually through some of the most unexpected ways. I could never have planned this unexpected re-connection between my former professor and his wife and me, just as I could never have anticipated managing a guest house in Bowness-on-Windermere in the English Lake District when I was a teenager growing up in Singapore. Yet, here I am now, at a place that I had never ever dreamed of seeing with my own eyes, much less living here! It all reminds me of a verse in the Bible: “A man’s heart plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps.” (Proverbs 16:9)

Hearing from the past can both be for good or for bad. I can only hope that it will always be for good for everyone. Meanwhile, I shall enjoy the present, where the beauty of the earth does indeed proclaim the glories of the Lord!

The heavens declare the glory of God;

the skies proclaim the work of his hands.

(Psalm 19:1)

An atmospheric autumn morning view of Tarn Hows, with gorgeous blues and oranges tinged with shades of green. Tarn Hows is approximately 20 minutes’ drive from Blenheim Lodge. (Photo courtesy of www.cumbriaphoto.co.uk.)

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