The meeting place was of my choosing. There are three pubs within walking distance of
my house and I decided that the Crown & Cushion was the best of the trio and would impress Joe the most. The sixteenth century pub has a bit of history to it and sits nestled next to a cricket green and an area of woodland on the edge of Farnborough's urban sprawl.
Meeting a fellow blogger in person feels odd. A person you have got to know only via small electrical messages passed from computer to computer. HTML that sits on giant servers at Google in California is your ink on paper. Your link to another life in another country. Your readers and the authors of blogs you read yourself, are spread across the world and although you may know their lives better than some who are close to them, you rarely get to actually meet them.
I feel like I know Joe Pereria well. His adventures in the bars and clubs of Funchal, Madeira, are well documented in his personal blog and I have followed his life through the good times and bad. Through his great nights out singing and performing at The Hole In One, to the roller coaster that is his love life. Even the sad, but beautifully written posts when his mother passed away.
And so I find myself, through the marvel of the internet leaning on the bar of a country pub, sharing a drink with a Portuguese gentleman that I know through blogging, but have never met in real person. Joe is exactly as I had imagined him through his writing, which must mean that he writes from his heart. His smile beams out from his tanned face and he has a warmth that can only come from the soul rather than the heat of the Madeira sun. We propped up the bar for a couple of hours, chatting about the blogs we both read, writing and life. We talked about love, politics, woman, family and fishing (not necessarily in that order).
All too soon Joe had to go and as he dropped me off at my house in the cold English rain (thanks for the lift Joe), I was left with the feeling that we could easily have been good friends in real life had we known each other. Maybe though that is the greatest wonder of the internet? For all its faults, bugs, viruses and trolls, it puts people in touch with strangers who would never otherwise have met and turns them into friends.