I've been lucky enough to meet a lot of bloggers over the past four or so years - one of these days I must compile a list and see quite how many I have met - but the award for furthest-flung blogger has to go to Karyn of A Penguin A Week, whom I met in Oxford today. Karyn has come all the way from Australia to Penguin-hunt, as you are probably aware if you read her fab blog. Well, when I saw that she was heading to these shores, I decided we should definitely have lunch and scour some bookshops together - and she thought it sounded like a good plan too.
I arrived a little early at The Nosebag, my favourite lunch place in Oxford, and wandered around to see if Karyn was there yet. She wasn't, but I did bump into an old housemate, and had to explain that I was meeting somebody off the internet, and only had the small photograph from their site by which to identify them. Liz (the said housemate) is familiar with my blogging excursions to some extent, but I think I made an 'interesting' impression on the guy with whom she was having lunch...
So I popped outside, and there Karyn was, browsing through the books of the shop next door: I had chosen the eaterie not solely for its good food, but for its proximity to Arcadia, which specialises in Penguins. We sat, ate, and nattered. As always when I meet bloggers, it feels like I've known them forever, and I gab away nineteen-to-the-dozen.
Then off we went, to Arcadia, Oxfam, and the Albion Beatnik bookshop. In all three, we both bought at least one book - in the first, Karyn very kindly bought me the book I'd eyed: Molly Keane's Young Entry. She also told me how great The Quest For Corvo by A.J.A. Symons was, which reminded me that I borrowed a copy about eight years ago...
Later I got a few more - as always, I love to share my spoils, so here be they:
They Were Defeated - Rose Macaulay
Bachelors Anonymous - P.G. Wodehouse
A Man With A Horn - Dorothy Baker
The Far Cry - Emma Smith
Smoke and other early stories - Djuna Barnes
Young Entry - M.J. Farrell/Molly Keane
I didn't keep track of what Karyn was finding, but I'm sure they'll appear on her blog in due course. It was a really fun afternoon, and yet another reason to be grateful for that day when I decided starting a blog could be a fun idea - who knew all the people I'd get to meet?
Oh, and my favourite moment of the day? When the owner of one bookshop suddenly asked me: "Do you know how to make jelly?"