Pub meets

I met up with several blog-and-slog friends in England, all of whom had to make a considerable effort to connect, which was awfully kind and much appreciated.

On the first Friday, I met Baz Carter and Penny at Oxford’s White Horse. I was looking for a single fit-looking chap, and paid little attention to the couple who walked in and sat nearby (in the White Horse, everybody sits nearby). Baz was probably looking for a single fit-looking chap, too, not a lumpy ancient sinking a pint and reading a book. The upshot was that we sat next to each other for 20 minutes before Baz turned to me and said, “Are you Mark?” The tip-off was that when I’d closed Water for Elephants, he’d seen the tag “New York Times Best Seller.” Aha, a Yank! We both felt silly, but we had a terrific, if all-to-brief conversation (kit, walks, gardening…) before they had to head back home. It was wonderful to meet them both, and I’m so glad the brilliant Penny came along. Dopily, I forgot to get a photo.

On the final Saturday, I walked up the Thames to the Trout (what a sweet stroll) to meet Phil Lambert, Darren Christie, and Alan Sloman.

Phil, me, Darren, and Alan

No mistaken identities here: we’d met during the 2008 TGO Challenge. A nice lunch, a few drinks, and talk covering all the vital areas: bears, tandem bicycles, html code…you know—the usual when guys get together.

Thank you all for welcoming this American cousin . You added much joy to an already terrific trip, and I hope I’ll have the chance to return the favor someday. We’ll stay out of bear territory.


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