Take last Sunday for instance. There we were in Northampton, 150 miles from home and the token northerners at a wedding bash with people you wouldn’t necessarily expect to have much knowledge of geography beyond the barren wastes of Birmingham and find yourself being strangely surprised.
The opening conversational gambit when strangers meet is to ask where the other person is from in an attempt to establish some common ground. So it was with the first person we spoke to and as ever, we answered that we lived in Manchester, that being the nearest city, before narrowing it down to our home town of Stockport.
“Oh Stockport,” he replied, “I just sold some equipment to Werneth School. Do you know it?”
Well we did because Werneth is the nearest secondary school to our home, about half a mile away. He also confessed acquaintance with Bredbury Hall which was brave given that establishment’s reputation and the reason it happens to be popular among visiting businessmen.
Then later, an elderly neighbour of the groom’s mother introduced herself and we went through the same exchange of geographical pleasantries.
“We’ll be visiting Stockport at the end of June for my god-daughter’s wedding,” she said. “That’s in Stockport, somewhere beginning with W. Er, Woodley I think it’s called.”
Again we were surprised as Woodley is even closer to us that Werneth School. I began to wonder if we were about to be visited by Northamptonites “who just happened to be in the area.”
What could we say? Isn’t it a small world.