Newsvine's dslsca rode into London town and I was thrilled with the opportunity of meeting him. I hadn't met a fellow Viner before, and I almost decided against it (though he didn't know that!)
To go back a little bit, I always liked his comments on my column, someone whose opinion I respected and admired. He was usually concise, on the ball and fearless in giving it. And when he took to calling me 'beloved Ms C', I knew we had a good thing going. Then he informed me he was coming to London and could I meet him for lunch one day. I had not done that before with any other Viner but, with the meeting taking place in the capital, not too far from me, I was delighted to, and we made a firm date.
And then there was the famous Newsvine relaunch. We found ourselves on different sides of the approval fence.
I was all for it, and he certainly wasn't. He probably grew tired of my Pollyanna praiseworthy pronouncements and I grew equally tired of the seemingly constant negative whingeing of how bad the new site was. I had no patience for it. We were both seeing different sides of each other, no doubt, and I tend to recoil from anything negative. Was this really the positive and fiery dslsca I had come to know and admire? How would we get on over lunch, being on opposite poles and with clearly different personalities? It was with some trepidation I awaited the lunch date. But I needn't have worried.
For anyone who has never met him, dslsca (Don) is a lovely man. He is firm in his beliefs, yes, but he is willing to listen too. We gingerly said hello on arrival at the restaurant for the first lunch. He was taller than I expected, and he seemed a bit nervous, but was 'surprised' to see how 'friendly and accommodating' I was. We had a delicious mutton curry at a Caribbean restaurant, while learning about our lives, and exchanging opposite views on Newsvine's restructure. After lunch, we managed to pass through Trafalgar Square where our good rapport was so evident, the guy who took our photos assumed we were an item! We enjoyed that first meet so much, we arranged a second date before he left. This was even better than the first because I was able to entertain him on my patch, in beautiful Berkshire, in a traditional British pub with much character. We never stopped talking, finding the interaction easy, fluent and absorbing, and clearly much more relaxed.
After lunch, we went to Windsor Castle where my neighbour, Queen Liz, resided, had some coffee there, and then he hurried to catch his train back to London.
He described the hours we spent together as 'perfect', and I can see why, because it certainly was one of the best times I had spent with a virtual stranger, and an American too. A lesson for us both in not judging from afar and in simply appreciating each other as colleagues with the same objectives, though with different approaches to life.
Thank you, Don, for your company and a memorable day. I hope the rest of your trip was magical. These pics will always be treasured.