Sunday 14 March 2021

My Grandad, Vintage Coincidence & Reincarnation

I'm off subject for today's post. Instead of Cornwall it's about coincidence, life and my maternal grandfather. He was a man I never met as he died way before I was born. For some reason, though, I have always felt a closeness to him. I can't explain why.

I have several items which belonged to him, including his tiepins and spurs as in the photo above. The pin to the left of the photo is said to be the tooth of his favourite horse.

The British census for 1891 shows that, at that time,  he worked as a groom at Egglestone Hall, which dates back to the 19th century. That's him posing at the bottom of the photo below. 

Grandad, Frederick William English, was a widower when he married my grandmother, so there was quite an age difference. They had several children including Alfred, Wilfred and my mother Winifred. They must have run out of 'Fred' names as they also had Ella and Florence.

He died in 1940, below is the telegram informing my mother of his death - how communication has changed nowadays.

There's another photo of my grandad below - the man with the red ring. Of course, it's thanks to my grandad that I was born. If he hadn't have met my gran, then the world would be slightly different in a small way. 

Life at times seems to be one big coincidence. 

If, Frederick William English hadn't met my grandmother, I wouldn't be writing this now as I wouldn't exist - nor would my son, grandchildren etc. etc. And it would also have affected my wife's life as she would never have met me, so would have different children.

We therefore appear on first glance to be creatures of pure chance - unless, that is, life is all pre-planned, which doesn't really seem possible - or does it!

From a very early age I've always been interested in Buddha. No idea why, as this was far removed from my upbringing. But there is a connection with my grandfather as you will see later in the post.

When I moved into my very first home one of the first things I bought was a small Buddha as an ornament. I didn't know anything about Buddhism at the time. 

Later in life, when I was married, I saw a Buddha in a shop while visiting Spain. I just had to buy it. "Why?" asked my wife, but I couldn't really give an answer. It was simply something I felt I had to do. 

Below is the Buddha I bought. It has been on the mantelpiece of each of my homes.

Moving forward many years my mother had a severe stroke and had to move to a Nursing Home. It was such a sad and difficult time. Just before she died we managed to transport her to our house for a visit. It was very emotional as she thought she would never see our house again.

As she sat in our living room she looked at my Buddha on the mantelpiece, photo above, where it had sat for many years, including all the while my mother was fit and well.

Out of the blue, she said, "It's strange, my father always had a Buddha on the fireplace mantelpiece as well." My mother went on to tell me that her father was a Buddhist. 

I was amazed at this, as it was something I never knew and was something my mother had never mentioned previously.

As I said at the beginning of this post I have always felt a closeness to my grandad. A friend suggested to me that this is all down to reincarnation - but I guess that's another whole discussion, perhaps for a later date. 

Thanks for visiting my blog - back to Cornwall again for the next post. All good wishes ~ Mike.


  1. Wow, what an amazing story Mike! I am interested in the things our distant relatives manage to pass down to us in mysterious ways. I never understood my love of engineering and invention growing up; it was not something girls 'got into'. Then, upon doing a bit of family research recently, I discovered a whole family line of mechanical engineers (mostly railway). It was a real 'click' moment. Lulu x

    1. Hello Lulu. It's interesting how we all have certain talents, perhaps they are handed down from our ancestors. Have a good week.

  2. A fascinating story Mike and an example of how our own lives are predetermined by past events. Also, how a small change of events can have repercussions, a bit like the film "Sliding doors".

    1. Thanks David, somehow there does seem to be links, almost inbuilt, to our ancestors. It's an interesting subject that has puzzled me for many years.

  3. What an interesting and great post, Mike. You know I love family stories of all sorts. Your mother’s special visit that day must hold very special memories for you. I’m glad you have some of your grandfather’s things, for they are a precious connection. I wonder whatever became of the Buddha he kept on his mantelpiece.

  4. I don't know what happened to the Buddha. My maternal grandparents lived in the north of England, many miles from where I was born in west London. It appears that my mother and uncles and aunts moved south to find work - and then, of course, World War 2 changed everything. Thanks Ann.

  5. I think there is a definitely a thread that links us all.
    My maternal grandfather died when my mum was 12 so I never met him but it is amazing how much my brother looks like him.
    My children's paternal grandfather died when my husband was 12 so we never met him but two of my boys are the spitting image of his brother.
    I love the Buddha link

    1. Hello, it does seem that the way we look is passed on. My mother often told me how, when I was born, I had black hair. When I saw my grandson for the first time, four hours after he was born, there he was with lots of black hair and I felt as if I'd known him forever.
      Strange old world, so much we don't know.




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