The ipod and I caught the tube from Ealing to South Kensington and made our way through the sub-way to the beautiful, fossil-filled Natural History Museum: the agreed location for our rendez-vous with Stephanie and her 'riding shot-gun' friend, Ridhi (benign I may be, but I'm still a stranger off the internet).
We met inside, as arranged, in the little cafe just behind the main staircase (is it them?.... yes it is). We all shook hands (you can't really go up to complete strangers and hug them, can you? - well, not unless they're celebrities) and then, thanks to the talisman of friendship, the Watson-ipod, we quickly broke the ice and found plenty to chat about - including Mark himself (of course) and how we had each discovered him/ his work/his comedy/his novels/his blogging, etc.
It was very hot in the Museum, so I compromised and instead of a hot coffee opted for a chilled latte - not sure it was quite my 'cup of tea' though (I had to push from my mind its similarlity to drinking the dregs of a mug of coffee that has gone cold) While I drank my iffy latte, the three of us chatted and laughed (meanwhile the ipod had gone all shy, and just smiled in silence as Stephanie admired both it and its accompanying team-mates: the booklet and memory 'key')
Eventually, after a nice long chat and, in my case, a not-so-nice latte, we decided to move to a more suitably photogenic location for the actual hand-over. Steph's friend kindly offered to do the honours with the cameras (both mine and Steph's).
To the puzzlement of several tourists, a certain Mr Charles Darwin became the not-so-missing link between myself and Steph for the passing of the ipod. (I wonder what piece of music Charles himself would've chosen to add, if he hadn't been so.... 'stoned'!)
We parted with hugs rather than hand-shakes (that's the friendly power of the Watsonian ipod challenge)
Farewell, sweet little ipod, I wish you well as you travel ever onward towards your final destination - never complaining, never tiring, never ceasing in your quest to better yourself and to inspire friendship between all who meet on your account.
PS: For more on the hand-over experience, and the rest of that day from Stephanie's angle, scoot over and have a look at her blog: