Tuesday, 6 October 2015


Do you believe in fate?

Can it really be the case that the position of the stars above our heads at birth, some divine being, or our actions in past lives, can determine the way our futures unfold?

I find the idea that we are not masters of our own fate, captains of our own souls, rather unnerving. I prefer to see the future as an unfolding, featureless landscape that only we can design and mould.

But then I thought back recently to a night, almost exactly twenty years ago, in New York City.

Back then I was in my mid twenties. I was living in London, burning the candle at both ends, and working in one of the hottest Ad Agencies in town.

My new, young, CEO must have been reading up on staff motivation and retention, because he decided to award a prize for the team that created the best ad campaign of the year. My team won. The prize was an all expenses paid trip for two to Manhattan for a long weekend, staying at the newly opened, seriously hip, W Hotel.

I invited one of my best girlfriends, who was completely crazy, a real hoot, and, like me, a bad girl. She also happened to be a Countess.

Back in those days, travelling with someone with an aristocratic title was a serious bonus. We were upgraded to Business Class, and the hotel sent a stretch limo to collect us at the airport. We had a ball.

New York, years ahead of London, had instituted a ban on smoking in public places. We were both serious chimneys, and were not at all happy about this turn of events. Luckily I'd done my homework, and I found a restaurant which still, for some reason, had a smoking area. It was called Raoul's, in Soho.

The other reason I loved the sound of this place was that there was a resident fortune teller who you could consult after dinner. (I just looked up their website. It's still there, but no mention of a fortune teller any more. Shame).

French cooking, copious cigarettes and a palm reader - what's not to like? I thought. (Although that expression hadn't been invented back then).

We went to the top of a huge skyscraper first, where we sat at a chrome and glass bar and had a martini each looking over the city, then we had a wonderful dinner at Raoul's with a bottle of fine red wine.

After dinner I went and found the fortune teller. I had recently started dating Mr SM, and wanted to know if he was 'The One.'

The fortune teller was sketchy on this point. He could well be, she said, without much detail or interest.

What she did want to talk about, however, was alcohol. She said that my future involved writing and alcohol, and that I would help lots of people. She could tell I was confused, because she said that it wouldn't make any sense to me for a long time.

I wasn't just confused, I was insulted! I wasn't drunk. In those days I was a total 'normie.' Yes, I drank a fair amount, but cigarettes were my addiction back then, not booze. It would be another decade before I'd be on first name terms with the wine witch. So why was this lady banging on about booze???

Well, now it makes sense.

So was all of this just written in the stars? Was Juliet always destined to die young (see When the Wine Witch Wins)? Was I always going to become a lush?

And what next?

I still like to think that we can shape our own destiny, so long as we don't leave it in the hands of the wine witch....

What do you think?

Love SM x


  1. Hello! I've been lurking here for months and love your blog. ...but I have to ask, how can you be so casual about the fortune teller??!! That is just down right freaky. P.S. - I'm from NY and had a few late drunken nights at Raoul's in my day ( never saw a fortune teller though - rats)

  2. It is freaky, isn't it frenchrose? If you ever do track down that fortune teller, do ask her what's in store! I've had enough weird things happen in life, though, to believe that there are lots of things that we don't properly understand.... Glad you unlurked! Welcome! xxx

  3. Interesting topic. I believe that there is fate. Certain events, certain roads cannot be avoided. I call them major events. But I also believe that we are free to make choices. And a choice that we make will define how we arrive to a major event. I also believe that some fortune tellers are crooks, and some are really good. Seems like the one from NY was a good one.

  4. Oh how exciting! Love it! This blog has really cheered me up on a dreary rainy day up here. I agree with above. Some things are fate but we can change our paths along the way. Or maybe that is our true fate. Oh well that's what we're all trying to do with alcohol anyway. Your positivity is infectious!

  5. I also don't believe fate is pre-determined, but maybe when all the variables are taken into account for each individual certain outcomes and events are less easily derailed and changed by free will than we like to think. Fortune tellers often make very general statements, but that was pretty freaky - it was quite specific wasn't it? You said you worked on accounts for big (alcoholic) drinks in the ad agency, but the fact she said you'd help lots of people, and that it wouldn't make sense for a long time only fits in with what you're doing now...really not easy to explain away. :) x

  6. I don't believe in fate, no, but I'm getting too old to discount anything. Have you even considered that the woman SET you on this course with her words? I really believe in the power of our subconscious, and she can have programmed 'writing' and 'drinking' into you.

  7. Would have totally poo-pooed the idea until I was accosted in the car park of a Leclerc hypermarket in Toulouse about 10 years ago. This toothless, hoop earringed crone (seriously, a more complete stereotype you couldn't make up) grabbed my hand, flipped it over and told me some very personal stuff (like being burned as a child, the only scars are on my leg so couldn't be seen) she then told me some interesting things before asking for 20euro "pour les enfants de Sainte Marie sur Mer" and being most irate at me only having a fiver cash on me but quand même!

  8. I believe, I believe. But...I think when we fight our fate, we take longer to arrive at our destiny. I seriously love "woo-woo" stories so I seriously love this post. Kary

  9. I don't know if things are pre-destined or you viewing them through different glasses at different times can bring different conclusions BUT here and now it all lines up - and it is nice when things come together and start to make sense

  10. I believe we are exactly where we are supposed to be.
    And that each obstacle we run into is a lesson meant for us. Sometimes it takes a long time to learn it. That's our free will.
    Perhaps some of us need the practice to make the results that much more significant.

    I love your story. Woo woo.