If you’ve gotta know, you’ve gotta know

It’s amazing what a person will do to find out something that isn’t their business – in this instance, that person being me!

Yesterday evening, I was sitting with my friend, Yvonne, in the Café Rouge, Henley, relaxing after an early evening meal.

Café Rouge, Henley-on-Thames

While I was idly staring out of the window, I was struck by the amazing number of people going into St. Mary the Virgin. I had a good view of the church from my seat, and for about thirty minutes I watched people pour into the church, including several vicars.

Looking towards St. Mary the Virgin, Henley, as the last few people made their way towards the church

Funny, I thought. It wasn’t a Sunday; it wasn’t a Feast Day, and it was a week or so too late for Whitsun. What was going on, I wondered. And more importantly, was it something I could use in a story?

My author’s curiosity got greater and greater.

Gradually, the number of people going into the church started to dwindle. And as I realised that whatever it was was about to begin, a vicar wandered past my window with a couple of his friends. It’s now or never, I thought. Forgetting all dignity (if ever I’d had any), I leapt up, ran out into the street and (white)collared the passing vicar.

Excuse me. What’s going on, I asked the startled man.

The swearing in of the churchwardens, with the Bishop officiating, he told me.

Curiosity satisfied, I went back into the restaurant – to be greeted by a sea of faces, all staring at me, open-mouthed. Only then did I realise how strange I must have looked.

That’s the thing about writing novels – you are always alert for the latest interesting/unusual/funny thing – both for its interest value per se, and also because you might be able to use it in a novel – and you go after it without any thought about the way you might look.

And what about you?  Was there a time when you threw caution to the winds in your desire to find out what was going on?

  • Liz, I think those open mouths were because THEY wanted to know too … they were waiting for you to tell them! I love that curiosity, though… maybe that’s what separates us writers is that we follow our noses…

    • Liz:

      You could well be right! I might have missed an opportunity for holding court. Next time – and I’m sure there’ll be a next time – I’ll be more prepared. You can’t beat a primary source 🙂

  • I do it all the time…the family used to hide…now they just roll their eyes!

  • I always ask too. I kind of pretend it’s because I’m a journalist but actually it’s because I’m plain curious. The last time I asked (my daughter was very embarrassed) it turned out that we were on the film set of Les Mis!!

    • Liz:

      Les Mis!! Seen it five times on the stage, and can’t wait for the film. My daughter-in-law to be (20th October) has been working on the film with Russell Crowe and Hugh Jackman, among others.

  • I tend to ask questions when I should keep it zipped. I just can’t help myself! Years ago I was on holiday in California and we visited Mono lake. Though massive, the lake apparently is being slowly drained by the ever growing population of Los Angeles.

    How did I learn this? I heard a guide telling a group of people about the history of the area. Being nosy, I snook over to the edge of the group! Now, at the end the guide made the mistake of asking if there were any questions…so I piped up. I asked if there was an alternative water supply being sought as the wildlife was obviously suffering.

    That went down like the proverbial balloon made from heavy metal. I think it might have been the English accent and/or the fact that my husband said I had my teachery head on, because the guide argued that water had to get to Los Angeles somehow. Also if it wasn’t this lake it would be another, bla, bla etc. A dozen American heads nodded in agreement and I stepped away before they chucked me in the lake.

    So have I learned my lesson? Er…no. Like you, Liz I am very curious. I hope I don’t end up like the cat…we all know what happened to him, don’t we 🙁

    • Liz:

      That’s really interesting, Mandy. Many thanks for your comment.

      I never went to Mono Lake in the six years that I lived in California, but I like to think that had I done so, I would have realised, like you, the damage to the wild life. When you fly into LA, a reclaimed desert, you see house after house with a swimming pool. The water’s coming from somewhere, and the resources of the world are diminishing, which makes LA a disaster waiting to happen if ever that particular resource dried up.

  • John Jackson:

    Er….. I wonder if this is a gender-related issue??

    John (lol)

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