What are the chances of bumping into a work colleague on a particular road, in a small Suffolk village miles away from your workplace in London? Well, it happened to bespoke cutter Oliver Cross and myself the other day. Oliver was on holiday, unbeknown to me, in the county with his extended family. I had not been into the shop for a week or two as my wife and me, and our infant son was in the process of upping our sticks from London to Ipswich. The digital marketing work I do at Meyer & Mortimer allows me to work remotely while still being able to come into the shop regularly.
I had spent the three previous days packing up house and home in North London and had sent my wife and son ahead so I could concentrate on the mammoth task at hand. After packing, hauling and getting to know the A12 intimately I was, to say the least, a little on the tired side. My wife, realising the monumental efforts I had gone to, decided to treat me to a pastry at the nationally renowned Pump Street Bakery at Orford, which was about half an hour drive from our new abode.
Oliver Cross & Jason Smith meet in darkest Suffolk
Having parked, and got our son into his pram, we headed towards the bakery when I heard someone shouting. Not registering and subconsciously categorising this as someone else’s business we continued walking. However, the shouting increased in intensity and the word 'Jason' started to filter in and form in my mind, along with the slow recognition of the voice emitting my name. With context falling over itself I turned to see Meyer & Mortimer’s very own bespoke tailor Oliver Cross leaning out of his black Mercedes Kompressor smiling widely at me.
Now someone well versed in the dark art of mathematics might be able to tell you the chances of bumping into a work colleague in a small village, on that particular road at that precise time. I couldn’t even begin to figure this out (but if anyone reading this would like to have a go, do please get in touch). Whatever the odds, here we were in the eye of a statistical hurricane with our faculties very much in catch-up mode. Oliver leapt out of his car, we hugged and excitingly asked each other ‘What are you doing here?’ Once this information was exchanged and our excitement had calmed to more manageable levels, we suggested meeting up at the bakery. Oliver has the lead in a three-car family convoy so he left to co-ordinate with the others while we continued to the bakery.
Excited fathers, oblivious infants
At the bakery alfresco I tucked into my second pastry and Americano (the pastries lived up to the hype) talking to my wife Lucy about what had just happened. Oliver walked around the corner with his partner, Viv’, daughter Evie and his new son, Rafferty, who was born eight days before my son Lucas. We had been planning on getting the boys together at Sackville Street but hadn’t managed it thus far. A running joke had developed at the shop about naming our boys Meyer and Mortimer, much to our respective partner’s raised eyebrows.
It was great to see Oliver and his family, talk a little more and discuss where they were staying and where they had been over the last few days. We got the pictures of Meyer and Mortimer together who were, I might add, oblivious to their father’s excitement as you can see in the images.
With Oliver, Viv, Evie and Rafferty needing to re-join the family convoy we said our fare-thee-wells and we each got on with our days.
Proud fathers: Oliver & Jason with Meyer & Mortimer
The odds would be interesting to find out, but at the end of the day they’re just numbers and don't come close to adequately explaining the level of surprise, delight and fun of seeing your colleague in circumstances you wouldn’t have imagined when you got up that day. Nor would they take into account the lift of seeing your friend, his family and finally getting the boys together while having a good old laugh in the process.