Saturday, 20 November 2010

Visitors and Virtual Friends


Hullo ma wee blog,

I've been off-line most of this week while my laptop has been away getting repaired and so, now that it's back, this is the first post for a while that takes place at my normal typing speed and not in a stuttering, cursing under my breath thump, thump, thump on the keyboard trying to get sticking keys to work kind of way. It feels like a new me to be honest......

The lovely G did offer me the use of her laptop while mine was away at the repair geek shop but although I did try, and used it to post any comments I've made to blogs this week, somehow it just didn't feel right and perhaps as a result I have been lacking any kind of inspiration for a post. That sad state of affairs - and missing my own laptop - actually made me feel quite down, which is disturbing in its own way, and I was glad that my week had been busy with Children's Hearings and the like. {the 'like'  included crashing the garage courtesy car that I have while my own car is also in for repairs! Twenty years driving with no accidents then two in a fortnight!!!}

My week perked up considerably though when I was contacted by Scottish Nature Boy a fellow blogger who's output on Scottish natural history I'm an avid reader of.   SNB was on a few days holiday and in the area visiting his parents and his brother CoastKid, who's fabby blog on cycling hereabouts I also follow , and asked if he could drop in and meet me as he would be out with a pal cycling nearby. It sounded too good a chance to let go so of course I agreed and on Friday morning found myself sitting here at my kitchen table sharing tea and biccies with SNB and his cycling pal.


Any similarity to SNB purely accidental!

This is the first time I've physically met anyone through the blog although I've been promising Scudder to meet for a pint for far too long and have also promised to meet up with Coastkid to talk about his blog and his blog films which are beginning to get noticed and win awards from those who know about these things. The anticipation in the lead up to the visit was actually quite an exciting time. I mean it's all very well to post a few comments about stuff you've liked on a blog and all that and to have that reciprocated, but it's truly another dimension to actually meet someone who's previously only been a virtual acquaintance. What if you just don't hit it off for some reason? What if he's a nut job or clearly thinks your not the sharpest tool in the box? And of course he was coming with back up and I would be all on my own.........

Of course none of those things applied in reality and I was pleasantly struck by the ease of conversation around the table as we explored our shared experience of blogging and the multitude of topics that end up being part of the experience of our own and other blogs. We share several similarities in attitude which were very obvious from the start and I'd like to think we were both comfortable in each others company from the off.

His cycling buddy hopefully was reassured that I didn't turn out to be the mad axe murderer he was forecasting either........... Friday's my day off on that pastime luckily for him.

Although I'd seen his picture on his blog profile, he'd never set eyes on me until I opened the door as of course I have a strict no personal photo's rule on the blog and use a cartoon { Dad and Mom from Calvin and Hobbes by Bill Waterson - or Oor Wullie } as an avatar. It was amusing that he had clearly an image in his mind and I was quite different to what he expected. I certainly look nothing like Oor Wullie or Calvin's Dad. Maybe that's a bit unfair of me but they represent part of my personality.

As you would expect we were soon deep in conversation about how we blog, what about and blogs we follow and that led us to talk about the kind of boundaries we set for our blogs and how we protect the integrity of what we are putting out there. It's something I think about a lot as my blog is a very personal one, reflecting me and my values and although I don't censor myself consciously, I'm very protective of what I am writing. We both agree that as our blogs are basically open to the world it's great that we have never had any disrespectful or inappropriate comments. { I have only once refused to post a comment - it was a spam commercial advert}

It was a nice affirmation of the blogosphere to meet such an unassuming and enthusiastic guy, obviously intelligent and thoughtful, as shows in his blog, and with a good sense of fun and it was all too soon before the lads had to saddle up and head off on the journey back west and home. Before he went SNB invited me to visit him in Stirling and go to the castle when the restoration to the banqueting hall ceiling is unveiled.

You can count me in on that one.




Now where's his brothers phone number????

See you later.

Listening to Madonna 'Frozen'

13 comments:

Kat_RN said...

Oh if only you were not so far away! Any chance of you and your Mrs visiting the Southern USA? I would love a chance for tea and cookies or maybe scones (we can't get good devon cream but my Sweet Husband still makes great scones).
Cheers
Kat

jono said...

Hey that's a really great thing that you got to meet someone via blogging. I have not yet managed to meet any of the many faceless (OK I know some faces. I even have some added on Facebook) people that I now regularly converse with because of e-clecticism. However I am hoping to next year, so I'll let you know how it goes. I'm glad your first experience went well, although from the little I know of SNB I'd have placed a bet that it would. :-)

If I ever find myself up your way and of course vice versa, white with none, thank you. :-)

Scottish Nature Boy said...

Hi Al - you have me blushing here! It was great to meet you in person and to see Crivens, Jings HQ! Thanks for the warm welcome and the hospitality (I had no doubts that we'd be made welcome!). You're right though - it is strange to meet in the flesh someone who has been hitherto a purely virtual acquaintance! The thing is, when we all read other people's blogged writings for months and months, and exchange comments on each others thoughts, we do fairly quickly come to a decision about whether we are likely to get on with these particular folks should we ever meet. I promised you I wouldn't compromise the privacy policy for your blog and so not a word will pass my lips about your whole-body tattoos and Steam Punk fashion sense (oops). I'll let you know once I hear something about the Stirling Castle project! Cheers for now, SNB

Alistair said...

Kat, I think it's fair to say that we may well be in Southern USA 'sometime' in the future, although we have nothing planned. If we are and you are within a few hundred miles then you'll very likely get a visit - and not just because Hubby's baking looks so good on the blog.

Jono - Always open house Chez Al if you're in the vicinity. Friday's and weekends are great as I tend to do the mad axe/murder thing midweek if I can fit it into my schedule.....
Funny enough, you were the subject of a fair bit of discussion as we both follow you. Don't worry though - it was all good!!!

SNB - Jings! I have an HQ! I'd never thought of that before but you're right. Lucky for you the security staff {Jess} was having a morning constitutional {nap} during the visit or you could have been badly mauled by my security system as in the picture I have added at the bottom of the post. My solicitor will be in touch about the shameful breach of my privacy policy and your inaccurate and inflamatory statement here. I still have some skin left unadorned.

It was great to meet you and from now on your comments will truly have a 'voice' to go with them. Perhaps we can meet for a pint and a longer get together with your wee bro at some time in the future - if you're allowed back across the border anyway. I'm looking forward to the castle already...

Cheers All!

Morning's Minion said...

I had a similarly pleasant experience this summer when a distant cousin was able to sopt in for a few hours.
We've exchanged literally hundreds of emails [he had an exact count] over the past four years. There were the few moments ahead of time when I wondered if we would get along as well in person as we have in our emails.
I enjoyed him greatly--I hope he liked me--we sometimes argue quite determinedly in our virtual exchanges about our shared genealogy--and did that so face to face--delightful!

Bovey Belle said...

I have met quite a few fellow bloggers and some have gone on to be very very dear friends. I am so grateful to the Internet for without it we would not have met. One of my best buddies came to work at a company I'd only just left (we missed each other by a fortnight) and they kept telling her how we would have got on like a house on fire! Then when we did meet, it was like meeting the other half of me . . .

I'm glad you got on so well with SNB and his brother - when you have read and commented on each others' blogs you get to understand someone pretty well and when you meet, it's just like carrying on a conversation where you left off . . .

Rebecca S. said...

Your meeting with your fellow Scotsman sounds grand, and it made me wonder if I will ever get to meet any of my blogging friends...and even though my blog is also of a personal nature I do agree with you about the difference between conversing through blogging and meeting face to face. We represent ourselves through the way in which we choose to write, but it can never completely equal the true, living personality. Hmmm...lots of food for thought here!
Cheers, Rebecca

Alistair said...

Thanks for the comments girls.

It's been strange to meet a fellow blogger and one that I follow and comment on his output regularly - and vice versa - and as you say BB it was like carrying on a conversation as we already had the common ground, but as Rebecca says are we truly honest in our blogs, don't we present the good side, the side we would always want others to see. To one extent or another I suppose we do because we choose when we communicate/post/comment and therefore we are in the right frame of mind and not caught off guard wanting that immediate response.

I imagine we're trying to be as honest, as representative as possible - or as well as we know ourselves. I guess the true picture always comes out in time as we post more and more of ourselves out there. If any-one's trying to be what they're not they will reveal their true selves somewhere down the line, but I don't suppose for second anyone of our small community is trying to do that. So from that perspective it's good to meet old friends for the first time.........

Rebecca S. said...

And yet again, perhaps our writing reveals more about us than we think it does. Writing is as much about what we don't say as what we do.
My husband is watching the Stoke/Manchester City football game and there is snow on the ground there. Have you got snow today, too?
Have a great weekend :)

Alistair said...

Aye - Far too much for comfort as I have to drive friends to the airport tomorrow and it's meant we have had to cancel going to a concert tonight.

Doh!!!!!

Big Swifty said...

I've met quite a few people in "real-life" through the www, blogging and facebook. I think it's marvellous to have met new people this way. It has always been a positive experience for me, and hopefully for the others who met with me!!!!!

Alistair said...

Hi Swifty, How are you? It's been a while.

I've now been in touch with SNB's brother Coastkid and arranged to go out for a drink and a chat next week. I've also had a phone call with Scudder who I also promised to meet up with soon.

Looks like my virtual friends are more of a reality than before.

Cheers!

Big Swifty said...

Yes, it has been a while. No particular reason, just lots on at work and home, and music and poetry gigs, plus I've been doing bits and pieces on my other work blogspots, and a lot on Facebook (if you're in there look for Andrew Stanley Budd and Fred Slattern!). So, yes, I'm back on here as well! Cheers.

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