It was the first in-person meeting. I sat outside the cafe with a bag, a book, and mobile phone. Just in case.
At that point, I had met ten people through the group, all on Skype. These included an artist who had been an extra in one of the Batman films, and someone who it turned out I’d known years ago on an online forum.
In person, I had no idea if anyone would turn up. All but one had cancelled.
The most important thing was that I turned up even if no one else did.
The all but one told me to look out for someone with purple hair, which I was very pleased about because it meant she’d be easy to spot. Turned out she was joking so I was looking round for a purple-haired woman when a blonde one approached me.
We talked for over an hour. The manager served us green tea in what he proudly introduced as a “pretentious iron teapot”.
Like the first meeting, the following two meetings were just me and another person. A new person each time. This is more new people that I might have met in an entire year during my teens and early 20s.
The third meeting I met someone at Attenborough Nature Reserve. We had hot drinks on the cold balcony of the cafe.
There were three of us on the fourth meet up, four on the fifth, and two meetings with five of us.
We usually meet at Fusion Cafe in Chilwell. It has a wall of guitars, three sofas, and the manager said we could advertise the group and reserve a sofa or two if we wanted. They do savory food and cakes if you’re peckish. Their motto is, “We’re Not Costa”.
We can bring art and crafts there.