The Fate of Ivan Bidditch

For no other reason than a profound taste for the absurd, Ivan Bidditch liked to trace back the important events in his life and discover the preposterous coincidences on which they depended.

At twelve …

At eighteen, he landed his first job because of a few lines in the small-ads of the local rag. The tabloid had been mistakenly dropped through his letter box by a spotty teen, who was covering for the regular paper boy, who the day before had forgotten his rain coat and had caught a chill . . .  An unexpected rainstorm had determined his whole career. And what a career that was.

At twenty four, he was pressed by an  overbearing aunt into attending an amateur-dramatics production of Alice In Wonderland at the local village hall. On his way there he was caught in a traffic jam, caused by an overturned muck-spreader, and arrived after the curtain had gone up. He was shown to an uncomfortable seat at the back and was soon joined by another late arrival, who a week later became his lover; a year later his spouse. A road plastered in liquidised cow shit determined who became his wife. And what a wife she was.

IvanBidditch.pngTo Ivan, who took a demented view of the past, it sometimes seemed as if whole hideous periods of history turned on things as innocent as an early spring or a late train.

Six million Jews, he once figured out, might have survived the 1940s if the woman who later became Hitler’s mother hadn’t stopped on the way home because she liked peonies and met the man who introduced her to the man, who . . . A simple cluster of peonies growing in a window box—what a sight that must have been.

At fifty, after a narrow escape, Ivan realised these determining coincidences were stupid things to think about, and he quit thinking about them. A million what-ifs that he no longer cared about. His next great act, he knew, would be determined by an infinite number of coincidences that came before it—he refused, however, to ponder them. But what an amazing act that would be.

As Ivan Bidditch lay dying on the floor of the twisted carriage, though, surrounded by bloodied corpses, he couldn’t help but come to the conclusion that the coincidences that preceded this final act of brutality did matter, and he wanted to get them straight in his mind—before he died.


About Paul Davey

I’m Paul from Bristol, England. I am an IELTS tutor available for face-to-face classes in Taipei and Skype classes anywhere in the world. I'm based in Yonghe, New Taipei City — very close to Taipei. I have been teaching for many years and I am good at it. I’m patient and never tire of correcting students’ mistakes. I know many good ways for students to learn quickly and make a lot of progress in a short time. You won’t be wasting your money. I especially know the difficulties faced by Chinese speakers, and I know how to overcome these difficulties. IELTS is my primary concern and over the years I have taught hundreds of students in the UK, Hong Kong, Taiwan, and other spots around the world. I know what the examiners look for and I know how to increase your band and get the grade you need to make your dream come true. I have been blogging about IELTS for about a decade. I started my first website in 2007, before beginning to blog at IELTS Tutor on the Hello UK website. Now I blog only at IELTS in Taiwan and Around the World. I majored in Environmental Sciences at the University of East Anglia, UK, graduating with a bachelor’s degree (2/1 with honours). I obtained my language-teaching qualification in 2006, which is accredited by the Royal College of Teachers. Before I began teaching, I worked in a software company in the UK, writing and selling software solutions. After teaching for many years I took a five-year break to run my own retailing business. Following that adventure, I returned to full-time teaching. For the last 11 years, I’ve been in Taiwan, where in addition to my IELTS work, I have taught corporate classes at Taipei Bank, Pfizer, and Chinese Petroleum Corporation (CPC, Taiwan). I have interests in many fields including travel, literature, science and history.
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