Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Blogging Meetups: A London Story (Nick Green + the Queen)

One of the best things about blogging about books is that you can meet bloggers and writers where ever you travel. Today I had the chance to meet Nick Green, writer (The Cat Kin, Cat's Paw) and blog friend in London. (By the way, Nick is now blogging with several U.K. children's writers at a great new blog called An Awfully Big Blog Adventure. Is the ABBA acronym significant?)

Nick suggested we meet at the Crypt Cafe at St. Paul's Cathedral for a coffee. We scheduled our meeting for 1pm. My daughter, who is a fan of Nick's books, was very excited. The kids behaved themselves and we had a great conversation.

Here's the obligatory meetup photo, taken by Kid2. I wanted Kid1 to be in the picture, but she was too shy. (Also, had I known I'd look so, well, pedantic in this photo, I would have requested that Kid2 take a second. Sheesh! I look like I'm going to launch into a lecture or something.)

Our meeting with Nick was fabulous, but it wasn't our only adventure of the morning. The kids and I decided to go to the British Museum before lunch in order to expand our wanderings beyond the Egypt wings. A good plan until I realized I didn't have a watch. I spent a good forty minutes trying to read the wristwatches of fellow museum goers. Finally, score! Only, it was 12:30 and we were upstairs in the Cypriot section.

Kids and I race out of the museum and flag a taxi. Traffic was so bad, though, we got off halfway to walk. Suddenly I notice a church clock and it says 12:00. I confirm with a fellow pedestrian, who checks his cellphone (of course) and, yep, museum tourist's watch was set an hour ahead. French, probably.

As we stroll up leisurely to St. Paul's Cathedral, I notice there are no tourists inside the gates. Odd. We walk around the perimeter to find the Crypt Cafe, but everything is deadly silent. Finally, we turn a bend and there's a barrier set up. Police and Secret Service types swarm. We're now forty minutes early, so kids and I join the scrum like lemmings. A few minutes later, the Queen walks out of St. Paul's Cathedral.

Unfortunately...I'm a terrible photographer, so my visual record is blurry. Also, I don't really know how to use the zoom. But here she is. (And if you want some actual proof, here's the St. Paul's announcement.) Seriously, though. It was cool to stumble into the Queen when out and about in London. Like any good American, I was suitably awestruck for a moment or two.

Since we had so much time remaining before the meetup, we stayed and watched ladies in hats march by.

Finally, have you ever wondered how the Beefeater Guards tool about town? Here's your answer: