Friday 31 August 2012

A bloggers' rendezvous

A short while ago I had the privilege of meeting "in the flesh" a couple of fellow bloggers with whom I have interacted over the internet for nearly two years now.  I must say I was a bit apprehensive about this. You never know how things might turn out. People can have an internet presence that is completely at odds with their real persona. I'm happy to say that this didn't apply in this case!

The bloggers in question are Egretta Wells of both Cottage Creative Living and Paintings by Egretta Wells; and Kelli Boyles of Kelli's Northern Ireland Garden.

Me with Kelli (left) and Egretta (right)

Kelli set up her blog at very much the same time that I started Mark's Veg Plot, so we have had a very similar journey through the blogging world, and we compare notes via blog comments more or less on a daily basis. Amongst other achievements she has recently had an article called "The Art of Gardening" published on the website of Culture Northern Ireland. In this she explains why she loves gardening and how she became keen on it. Well worth a read, because I expect many of you will have had similar experiences.

Egretta is a very accomplished artist, working in a variety of media such as watercolours, oils and pastels and she is a generally all-round artistic person - as well as being an enthusiastic amateur gardener. She is forever setting her hand to some new creative venture. She once did a painting of Mallard drake based on one of my photos, which she saw on my blog. I bought this picture from her and it now hangs in my Living Room alongside the original photo.

Egretta and Kelli, accompanied by their husbands Bob and Mark, were over in England for a few days, on a coach tour centred on Stratford-on-Avon, from where they were to visit the Costwold hills and surrounding areas, and their proximity was an opportunity too good to miss so Jane and I drove up to Stratford to meet them. Maybe they used my blogposts from earlier this year called "Stratford on Avon" and "Minster Lovell and the Cotswolds" to do some prior research?!

Kelli's husband Mark is quite interested in entering competitions (aka contests), which is of course the area in which Jane specialises, so he and she had plenty to talk about too. Just in case you didn't already know this, Jane is the editor of the well-known comping magazine The Competition Grape Vine. If you're interested in this sort of thing, why not visit her website or her blog and find out more?

Here's a group photo, taken in the lounge of the visitors' hotel.

Mark (Boyles), Kelli, Egretta, Bob, Jane
Of course Kelli and I talked about gardening a fair bit, for instance comparing notes on our tomato-growing efforts. Kelli, this photo is specially for you:

The container is a re-purposed 1-litre ice-cream tub, and it currently contains approx 500g of cherry tomatoes, which is what I am picking from my 4 plants about every 2 -3 days.

Nice to meet you all, Kelli, Egretta, Mark, and Bob. I hope the coach tour turned out well; I hope you liked the Cotswolds area, and I hope to see some pictures of it on your blogs before very long!


  1. How nice! I would love to meet some fellow bloggers.

  2. How wonderful to get to meet some fellow bloggers. I've never met any blog friends 'in the flesh', I'm such a shy person in real life that I don't know if I'd have the nerve.

  3. Great that you met some fellow bloggers and it turned out well. I would definitely share your hesitation, blogging and real life persona's can be totally different.

  4. Great to meet up with you and Jane recently! We had a terrific stay in the Cotswolds and were glad we got to see and do so much in our limited time there. A beautiful area and Egretta and I hope to share some of our trip on our blogs at some stage. Thanks so much for the tomato samples, very tasty! I came home to ripened tomatoes (although not getting quite the quantity you are!). Thanks for meeting up with us, very enjoyable!

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  6. It is strange to meet someone that you have only 'met' through the written word. I started writing to a French girl when i was 11 and at 21 she turned up with a friend on my doorstep unannounced but I knew her straight away. Even with a language barrier we hit it off and still exchange the occasional letter. Unfortunately she went to work in French Guyana and was never anywhere near to visit during my many holidays in France.

    Then when I was a teacher I arranged a link between my school and one in our twin town of Castres. We stayed with the person who taught English at the school (and her husband) after meeting for the first time in the middle of Castres and like you were a bit wary but thngs turned out well.

    Unfortunately I tend to keep my holidays under wraps until I come back so I never have the chance to arrange to meet up. I'm a bit wary of revealing when I am away from home as you never know who reads your blog do you?

  7. How lovely to have a chance to meet! Sounds like a pleasant visit.

  8. How nice to get to sit down and meet each other.

  9. Hi Mark,
    I am safely home now from that wonderful vacation and am recovering from jet lag! One of the highlights of our trip was getting to meet you and Jane. We enjoyed our too short of a visit with seemed as if we had known you for a long time and indeed, I think we have, through blogging! Thanks for taking time to visit with us. We had a lovely coach tour through the Cotswolds and visited the better known places as well as off the beaten path, which was really interesting. I took tons of photos and hope to paint from them. Now I must catch up with your blog! All the best to you and Jane.


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