Thursday, December 31, 2009

Strange Meeting

It was a strange meeting, but not of the Wilfred Owen variety. We didn't escape "down some profound dull tunnel, long since scooped through granites which titanic wars had groined". But we did both step through that cobbled passage-way out of the grey-flaked midday cold and into the artificial cheer of a sixteenth century coaching inn. But no enemies were we : no battle killed corpses meeting at the gates of hell. Still, it was a strange meeting. Here was someone I knew fairly well. I had traveled with him to Paris and Italy, sat next to him as we watched Bob Dylan and The Unthanks, shared his memories of his father : and yet we had never met in our lives. We blogged. Tony, like all my other on-line friends was only ever a blog-roll away: but unlike most, in real terms, in the real world, in a non-virtual sense, in the cold light of the realistic day he lived just up the valley from me. And so, some weeks ago we decided to meet and share a pint or two at Christmas. This was the strange meeting.

There was something slightly unreal about it. It was almost like suddenly meeting one of the characters from a favourite book. You have your own idea what Jane Eyre would have sounded like or Mr Micawber would have walked like : how strange it would be to walk into a pub and come face to face with them. Or, in my blog-encrusted world, how strange to walk into the Union Cross Inn and see Poetikat pulling pints, Simpson and Lynch propping up the bar and having an argument in the corner, Betsy and Willow sharing afternoon tea and Abe Lincoln with his lens pressed up to the mullioned window looking for a robin to photograph. And here I was sat enjoying a pint with Tony as we swapped stories and shared our enthusiasm for the art of blogging. And he is just the delightful chap I expected him to be. Just as witty, just as erudite - a true personification of his blog.

And I am sure that every one of my friends out there is the personification of their blogs. They will be interesting. amusing and talented people - because their blogs are interesting, amusing and brimming with talent. That is why I read them

It is New Years' Eve. In a few hours it will be 2010. It is traditionally a time of hopes, wishes and resolutions. I will limit myself to just one hope. It is that at some point during the coming year I can meet up with other blogging friends : whether it be in Canada, the United States, England, Scotland, Wales, Ireland, Australia, France .... or wherever. To you all, whichever part of the world you live in, a very happy and peaceful new year.


  1. What a great portrait of Tony. And how magical to meet him in person. (3-D, as I like to say, about meeting bloggers in the real)

    Warmest woolly wishes, to you and yours, Alan, for a wonderful 2010. xx

  2. Anonymous8:25 PM

    Alan, welcome back! I trust you had a good travel?

    And there's something about meeting a fellow blogger, I know. Can be a bit surreal at first but then, 'tis like old times whence meeting up with a friend you've not seen in a while...sounds like you and Tony had a good time of it, yes? Cheers to you both and best wishes to you and yours in the coming year :)

  3. Happy New Year Alan! (love Wilfred Owen!)

  4. Wishing you and yours the best for 2010, Alan, and I share your hope for the new year as I am also meeting a blogging friend in California next week.

  5. I have had this very thought on my mind lately. I keep wondering if my fellow bloggers see the same person that shares himself in word. I mention one time to a fellow blogger that my youthful self conscience phobia, sneaks out once in a while and I wonder if I am not just an unwanted puppy that people can't escape. I think it is good to see one of your fellow bloggers. Adding the visual to what has always been an image in your mind of that person sitting across the table must seem a little unnerving. I am sure we are a lot more complex in personality that what we blog, but we can't be that phony when we write. It would be good to cross paths with you sometime, as I have far more questions about your person than a blog can ever share.

  6. Alan, that was moving! Here's to meeting fellow bloggers in 2010!

    Happy New Year to you and yours!

  7. SO glad to see you back again, Alan! A VERY happy new year to you and the dear lady wife -- and much prosperity in the year to come.

  8. We've missed you, Alan. Interesting thoughts on meeting a blog friend in person--like a character out of a book! I've yet to have the experience, but I think it would be fun & interesting. A very happy new year to you & yours!

  9. I'm with you. I've met some blogger friends that I feel I know better than some of my friends here at home, because we share our thoughts and talents so thoroughly here in the blogosphere. I look forward to meeting at least one of them this year. And continuing to cherish those who live farther away.

  10. I know that Wilfred Owen poem so well from knowing Benjamin Britten's War requiem... oh, what memories... 1966(?) I hit the gong for its third performance in St. Paul's...

    So long ago. Young and hopeful. Now it's 2010. Gosh. Happy New Year to all.

  11. And by the way... I do hope we have the opportunity to meet one day.

  12. What a very darling post, dear Alan. Yes, I've met a few bloggers before and each one of them has been much like I expected, even if not in looks always.

    Anyway, you ahve certainly added to my joy of bloggin adn so I wish you many happy returns this night as I jsut watched NY celebrate theirs. Again, Sydney's was the best. Wish i could watch theirs instead. DEnver's coverage though will be pathetic I'm sure as it normally is.

    Anyway, all the best. I hope one day I can sit adn drink some tea whislt you have a lager, not being a beer person myself.

  13. What a delightful experience! And yet I feel I never want to meet a blend (blog friend). The magic is meeting as wraithes!

  14. Hi Alan, I popped in to wish you a Happy New Year. May your personal sun shine brightly in the coming months. I popped in to wish you a Happy New Year. May your personal sun shine brightly in the coming months.
    I enjoyed reading this post. Not that I've met any bloggers but I did meet a few folk from the old message boards. Some were as expected, some were not. The power of words obviously works in different ways. Have a great year.

  15. Hi Alan.Thank You For Your Kind Words (*blushes*).
    Yes.It Was A Great Pleasure Meeting.
    Meeting A Blogger In-The-Flesh Is Indeed Strange At First.I Guess (i At Least) Always Have A Suspicion That Congruence Wont Exist. That The Person We Read Wont Bear A Resemblance To The Real Person In Front Of Us.
    Man! All I Can Tell Your Readers Is That Your An Even Nicer Man In 'Real Life' (aka "Yorkshire") Than On Your Blogs!
    A Road Trip Across The USA Beckons This Year!!!??? :).
    As My Alter-Ego Would Say .........."When found, make a note of."
    See You Soon.Regards .Tony.

  16. Hope the New Year went well; gorgeous crisp day out there at the moment.

  17. I confess, Alan, I didn't know if you were off on your holidays yet (or en route, as it were). I saw your photo at Tony's blog and knew you were out there somewhere.
    I loved this glimpse (and speaking of erudite, count yourself in, will you?) into the rendezvous at the coach inn. It reminded me of a scene out of a favourite mystery novel (you know, in British mysteries there are two things you can absolutely count on: there will be a vicar at some point and there will be a conversation in a snug in a pub). This was my imagining as I read your post.
    Ha ha! I CAN see myself pulling pints (albeit rather clumsily, if I know myself).

    I would love to meet you in person. With this latest airline-security travesty, I fear I won't be getting on any planes anytime soon, BUT, feel free to come on over here yourself and stay as long as you like!

    Happy New Year to you and Your family (and Amy too!)



  18. Anonymous11:33 PM

    It's so nice to hear that your meeting was fun. I also am glad to see you back and wish you a very fun filled 2010!

  19. Welcome back Alan. How wonderful that you met up. It's certainly an ambition of mine although my Aussie bloggers live in different states or well outside of Sydney. I've met a couple and all contact has been really great. I do read Tony's blog but it's not one I comment on too often. He's an interesting character alright. It's a great picture I agree with Willow. Very dramatic. And don't think you're safe tucked up there in Yorkshire. I have friends in Durham so look out! Ok off to Tony's to see what he's up to.

  20. How very, very fun! I'd love to meet some of my blog friends! Alan, when are you coming to the states? :)

  21. Anonymous12:55 AM

    What a delightful post, Alan. I too would agree with you that meeting fellow bloggers would only add to the sharing, care, and discovery of what each of us can contribute to each others lives. Thanks for a great post. So glad Tony and you were able to do this!
    Have a great first week of 2010.
    The Bach


Black Friar

For a time, during the late 1970s, I had a job leading parties of foreign visitors on tours of historic London pubs. One of my favourite sto...