When I first met my present husband, Dave, he had a book on one of his bookshelves which he had read years earlier and he recommended it to me as a good read.

It was certainly that….. very well written and a first hand account of the hard life on board the huge sailing boats which used to carry grain from Australia to Britain before the Second World War. It was ‘The Last Grain Race’ written by Eric Newby

The star of the book was the Mosholu, a four masted steel barque, on which the writer served and which he described with fascinating attention to detail.

The spooky bit only jumped out of the pages as I neared the end of the book. It described the last of the great grain races which, under sail took half a year to complete, to land a cargo of Australian grain in the British Isles, thereby securing not only the prestige, but also the best price.

The race was won by Mosholu. She left Australia on December 31st 1938…. The very day and year that my husband Dave was born. More spooky still was the fact that she arrived at Kinsale on 20th June 1939… the very day when I was born.

More was to come!

I had enjoyed the book so much that I loaned it to my father to read. He too, thoroughly enjoyed it and he felt the hairs on the back of his neck start to prickle when he saw those dates.

But he had an epilogue to add…..

The boat that came second in that race was the ‘Persea’.

Three or four years before the events in the book, she had been docked in Liverpool, where my father was living. Young single and adventurous, he had stowed away under a tarpaulin on the deck of the Persea for two days, hoping for adventure, but was disappointed to be caught and sent packing just before she sailed from port.

Now… Had he been successful in his attempt to find adventure, he would not have met and married my mother and ergo, would not have fathered me…. and so the coincidence would have been immaterial.

By the way, I no longer have the book.

I loaned it to somebody in an RYA Day Skipper or Yachtmaster Navigation Class at Swansea Yacht & Sub Aqua Club in or about 1995 or 1996 .

If the borrower should chance to read this…..?? Please contact me via this page!

6 thoughts on “Coincidence

  1. L

    Yes, I know, but Dad had added his little Epilogue, in own fair hand, so I really would appreciate its return.
    Serves me right, I suppose for lending it!

  2. L

    What is more, If Dad had not been evicted from his hiding place on the Persea, not only would I not have been around to tell the tale…. you, Rich, would not be here either!

  3. L

    And, finally, another twist to this story, and a sad one.
    On the very day that I posted this story, Eric Newby died peacefully .

  4. Tom Fearon

    Hi Lesley,
    I have just read with interest your comments on “The last grain Race” by Eric Newby and here is another coincedance. It was a book that I had as a young boy and redicovered again about ten years ago and I dont know whether you know or not but “Moshulu” is preserved in Philadelphia docklands and I had the pleasure of visiting her whilst passing through a few years ago.
    Eric Newby was a great travel writer and I have read a number of his books but the forementioned was my favourite.
    Hope you are all well,


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