'Don't do it kids' we say, 'How d'ya know that the cyber chums you've chatted with over the months won't turn out to be axe murderers and/or perverts?' After all, tales of sweet young things being beguiled by horny old geezers off the internet are the stuff of legend.
We've all warned our children and yet here we are, not heeding our own advice.....
'Here' was Harrogate, for a weekend with a group of intelligent, witty and kind fellow bloggers who turn out to be as good company as anticipated. We are by no means strangers, having blogged about most things over the past 3 years - homes and families, the happy, the sad, the tragic and the embarrassing. Some of us have met already and have fitted faces and real names to avatars and blog titles but there are still some surprises; the little blond lady who should be tall and dark and the brunette I envisaged as a slinky blonde. No matter. Those names now have real faces and personalities.
There was a morning for shopping and an afternoon strolling through the gardens at RHS Harlow Carr where the the autumn colours were rich and glowing. (I resolved to try harder in my own garden.) So much to see, so much to do and so much left undone. I am now a Harrogate fan.
The wonderful Betty's Tea Room drew us like a magnet. SBS and I drank tea on arrival and drooled over the patisserie and Halloween treats in the window. We had tea and cakes at Betty's Tea House at Harlow Carr and finally, on Sunday morning back in Harrogate, indulged in a big Betty's breakfast accompanied by a tinkling piano. How very, very civilised.
Then all too soon it was time to zip back to Shropshire which basked in a gloriously sunny afternoon. Back in the reality of home it was as if the weekend had never been - as if it had existed only in the vague-ness of cyber-space.
Did it really happen? Was I really there? Well yes, and I have the little felt bracelet to prove it.