I’ve encountered two instances of synchronicity in the last two days.

Carly (stepdaughter) sent me birthday card yesterday (thank you for that!). Included within was a postcard. She knows I like sheep. I've come across hundreds on my visits to Cumbria and they have become my favourite animal. They just get on with life. I love the way they watch me as I pass, no need to stop eating because they keep a check on me through a rectangular iris which gives them a wide field of vision. They wander the stunning landscape and produce the most magical offspring. They rarely complain and chatter away excitedly when a farmer brings fresh straw.

The postcard depicts how a Dales Shepherd tallys sheep - in case I couldn’t sleep reasoned Carly.

Number 10 stands out - Dick. In Dales speak, number ten is Dick.

Literally five minutes before I opened my birthday card, I’d received the finished artwork for the cover of my new book – called Dick Van Bike. Weird eh? I'd ummed and ahhed about even using Dick in the title. But I have!

(It's due out in a week or two).


Here’s the postcard and the cover........

The second weird coincidence came from ‘nowhere’ – as coincidences usually do I suppose.

This morning, I was writing about a character in another book explaining how he was wearing a pair of shorts not unlike Don Estelle's in It Ain’t Half Hot Mum. Remember those voluminous passion-killers?

On a whim I Googled Don Estelle. And, how peculiar…

Turns out he lived in Rochdale which is the nearest large town to Littleborough, where I live. I never knew he lived there. More surprisingly, he lived in Dunkirk Rise, a block of flats adjacent to another in which my uncle (an anaesthetist) lived.

Don buddied up with Cyril Smith, and they released a music CD - believe it or not! Cyril Smith died the same day as my father, though 33 years later in 2010. That was 3rd September, the date following the publication of this article in 2021. Each time I visit my Dad (a consultant chest physician) in the cabin of remembrance at Rochdale crematorium, I see Cyril Smith's name (I've stripped him of his Knighthood) in a glass-topped cabinet attached to my Dads, and I resent his presence.

Two men remembered, one by many reviled, one by a few loved.

Poor Don had a diminishing life after his TV fame back in the 1970s, pretty depressing really. His gloom somehow reflects the misery caused by Cyril Smith's treachery.

It's very sad that someone who bought so much laughter to so many should end up bitter and broke. But at least I've given him a jokey reference in my book, and when it's published at least there'll be a cheery twinkle that'll be around, in one form or other, for ever.

There’s a good, if brutally honest, article about him here in the Daily Telegraph.