Chapter II. Aged 45 Continued. An Epistolary Tale of a Blossoming Friendship

This is the fourth page in a longer blog entitled Antiquing–The Literary Way (A Book and Its Travels)Do click on this link and read the first page (and then the second and third), if you have come to this page without doing so.

As I said in the previous chapter, I emailed Graham and the universe took over…

email_number_one-edited

See how polite and formal I was? I didn’t know if an English bookbinder would be stuffy or cool, so I played it safe. I was pleased with the response I received the next day.

email_number_two-edited

I instantly liked Graham.

  • I could tell there was an intelligence and sense of humor.
  • He was quick to respond
  • and he had agreed to work with me.

What’s not to like? I was a bit slow on responding. Nearly a week later, I wrote him:

email_number_three-edited

And three days later…

email_four_edited_twice

From the opening line, I found Graham hysterical. My first impressions were correct.

Now despite my usual wariness of strangers, I instantly knew I would accept his offer to see Behn’s play at Shakespeare’s birth place. For some odd reason, though (a reason I can’t recall if I had a reason instead of just being my usual slow to correspond), I made Graham sweat it out for five days before telling him I accepted his invite.

I was sitting at my computer at Valencia College, checking the dates for the Royal Shakespeare Company’s production of Aphra Behn’s The Rover…

And thus began an exchange of literary chats I will let you go through, or you can skip in this slide show…

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The date I suggested didn’t work for Graham but he offered the 13th or 15th. I booked two tickets for the 13th for myself and basically a complete stranger.

His question,“Do you often book to see a play with someone you’ve never met – you seem very matter of fact about it :)!,” made me stop and think for the first time.  Yet I did not stop to think about the possible dangers of doing something like this, but was, rather, surprised at how open I was to it. No reservations. None.

  • He mentioned Margaret Atwood (one of my favorite authors)
  • he wanted a copy of my dissertation to read.

Again, what’s not to like? Plus…

On July 26 I mentioned Mary Leapor, the poet on which I focused in one of my dissertation chapters:

“Not surprising you don’t know Leapor. She’s a lesser known, working-class poet and none of her work was published until after her death. I need to put her place of birth on my list of places to go, as well as Edgcote house, for her poem ‘Crumble Hall’ was based upon it.”

My friend, please don’t think less of me, but I did a quick search of Mary Leapor and Edgcote house on Wikipedia. I know. I know. But I was doing a quick search and this did the trick. Little did I know where exactly Edgcote house was, nor Mary Leapor’s birth place.  I pinned both places to my sabbatical Pinterest board and thought to get back to looking at the details later.

As you may have noticed in our correspondence, it was Graham who offered to take me Leapor visiting. Apparently, the Universe extended its magical hand in my direction once again; both places as well as my new bookbinder friend, Graham, all were in Northamptonshire.

What are the odds???

I firmly grasped the universe’s hand in my own and jumped forward in my literary adventures. Once again, I would be traveling with a total stranger, down quiet country roads, and I gave it no thought. I was completely in the universe’s hands.

I was more and more excited about my trip. I finally had a friend in the UK. And my beloved book was going to have a makeover!

Graham emailed me a few days before my departure to wish me safe travels. I emailed him from the waiting area at the airport, minutes before my flight. And I was off to the UK in search of more adventures, many of which you, my friend, have already read about.

You haven’t?

Try these until I can write my next installment of An American Introvert in London’s, now Northampton, literary adventures because, no, this is not the end of this story.

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