A truly unbelievable true story
03.10.2010 15 °C
It was a dark and stormy night in deepest London..." (No...Really...It was).... when detective writer James explained his latest literary project to Caterina, his gracious host, in the elegant drawing room of her stately apartment overlooking a leafy Georgian square in Chelsea.
"I've penned many a mystery in my time," said James, turning from the rain slashing at the window, "But now I'm reduced to writing a biography of famous Canadian actor, Antony Holland."
"Oh! But I so enjoyed your mysteries," exclaimed a disappointed Caterina, pouring him a glass of Dom Perignon and sinking into the sofa beside him, "Surely there is a teensy intrique to whet my appetite."
"Alas," replied James, ignoring his host's pleading looks."I fear not ....unless?"
And at that moment dear blog reader the events set in motion were so utterly improbable ... so totally unbelievable ...so completely bizarre ... that if James had actually written this in one of his novels no one would believe it. But, apart from changing names to protect the innocent, this is precisely what occurred:
James explained to our host that in 1941, during WW2, twenty-one year-old signalman Antony Holland of the British Army formed a theatre troupe in Egypt and produced a play at the Cairo Opera House - one of the world's greatest theatres of its day. All the performances were sold out with the profits going to a seviceman's charity founded by Lady Lampson, the Ambassador's wife. Lord and Lady Lampson, who later inherited the titles of Lord and Lady Killearn, attended one show a few days after the christening of their son, Victor, and congratulated Antony on his amazing performance in the leading role.
Jump forward nearly 70 years. We were packing for our trip when Antony handed James an original copy of the Cairo Gazette from December 1941, which carried a lengthy article about the christening of the Lampson's son in addition to two large adverts for Antony's play. Antony asked that if, while in England, we were able to track down Victor - now Baronet Lord Killearn - we could offer him the newspaper.
And, with a proverbial bolt of lightning, there was a revelation worthy of Hercule Poirot and Miss Marple combined as our host said, "That's no problem. Lady Killearn lives right next door."
To cut an amazing story to blog length - we've now met several members of Lord Killearn's family, will soon be in touch with Victor, and are still flabbergasted at the unbelievably incredible coincidence; in a city of 8 million people, in a country of 60 million, we ended up in the very next apartment to Lady Killearn.
With this kind of luck we should buy lottery tickets!
Now, for the first competition of this trip:
This is not Lady Killearn with Jim. This lady is much more famous.
Name this famous celebrity and you will win a gourmet dinner for two chez hawkson on our return from India.
The competition is now closed. Congratulations to Maxine and Janet for correctly identifying Phyllida Law, (Emma Thompson's mum).
and jointly winning 1st prize - see you in March.