Iím in London and have spent an extremely pleasurable evening with two lovely pbase peeps, Ray P and Gail D. Weíve had an Italian meal in a bustling, busy, if a little over-zealously staffed restaurant (picked at random from Ďtoptable.co.ukí). Food good, company way better!
I donít know what it is about the pbase thing, I suppose that you kind of build on-line friendships then it seems to slip almost seamlessly into real-life almost without a pause. Like Iíve said before, I feel as though Iíve known Gail for a lifetime, although weíve only met twice. Likewise, Ray is such a sweetie that itís hard to remember back to a time when we were strangers.
Of course, there is common ground because of the photography, but we do actually probably only spend quite a small fraction of our time together actually talking photography geek talk, the rest of the time itís gossip, general chatter and giggling, just like any other friendship.
Ray and Gail are caught (badly by me) chimping at the review screen on Rayís camera of some shots he took on the train on the way to meet us. The shot was taken in extremely low light, at high ISO and wide open (as you will see from the exif) so itís no wonder itís crappy in a way that only I seem to be able to achieve.
Ray says Ďwhy have I got my eyes shut?í But he hasnít really, heís looking down at the screen, while Gail leans in giggling.
This occurred mere moments before we were thrown onto the pavement into the cold night air (because of closing time) to go our separate ways from a real, traditional London pub with stained glass windows and full of beautifully carved wood, in a style that the trendy bars try but fail dismally to emulate.
The only shame was that the pub didnít have any traditional hand-pumped beer, thiough it did have one of my favourite tipples Ė Sam Smithís Oatmeal Stout in a traditional Sam Smith moulded bottle. Even though the beer came from way north of the Watford Gap, it seemed a fitting end to a fabulous evening.
Thanks Ray and Gail for keeping me from my fleapit of a hotel for long enough that by the time I got back there, I hardly noticed the fact that my bedroom door had been forced with a screwdriver at some point in the recent past, or the filthy, grey net curtain that didnít cover the window that overlooked an alleyway down the side of a kebab shopÖÖ.
Last year, I was getting sentimental about giving a dog a home....well, dogs actually and countless rabbits, guinea pigs and hens!