I bough this old postcard for a few pence at an Antiques Fair last week. There was no reason behind my choice. Faced with a box stuffed with two or three hundred old photographs and postcards and time constraints set by a higher authority (the Good Lady Wife had set me free for thirty minutes whilst she explored Marks and Spencer's in York), I had to make some rapid decisions. I could have used reason, established a set of clear criteria, and painstakingly worked my way through the cards, applying criteria, establishing priorities and painstaking building up a short-list of possible purchases. I could have, but I didn't. I said a silent prayer to St Serendipity and plunged in, extracting a half-dozen cards at random. I didn't even examine them, I just paid my £2 and took them home to explore them at a later date.
I am a great lover of reason and a great believer in its' power for universal good. When it comes to the "big" decisions in life - decisions about political systems, economic structures, competing beer choices - I will go with reason every time. Back in the days when there used to be a question about "religious beliefs" on official forms I would always write "rationalist", only giving the practice up because too many people mis-read my handwriting and feared (or in some cases hoped) I had written "nationalist". But just like an Arsenal fan might occasionally admire the graceful footwork of Didier Drogber, or a jazz-head might hum a Abba tune, I sometimes welcome fickle, non-rational, serendipitous chance into my life.
Whilst trying to think of something to write for this week's Theme Thursday, I decided to review my chance purchases of last week. The postcard isn't particularly special. It is about 100 years old and it shows a view of the Indian Lounge in Blackpool's Winter Gardens. The card is torn and dog-eared and has seen very many better days. From what can be interpreted from the message from Madge on the reverse of the card, she too had seen better days than the ones she was spending in Blackpool. "Will you come to tea with us tomorrow?" she asks the unnamed recipient. "There isn't much pleasure in going away anywhere on these holidays, is there? Except if you havent any other time". I do rather sympathise with Madge, but I would urge her - if she is still there in Blackpool, in the rain - to abandon reason and welcome St Serendipity into her life. Don't think too much about things, just go out there and take a chance.
This is a THEME THURSDAY post. Take a look at the other Theme Thursday posts by following the links from the Theme Thursday Blog.