It turns out that headbang8 is going to be staying at the Groucho Club in central London, so he suggests that we have dinner there. Being keen on good wine, I have a look at the Groucho Club's online wine list and send him my thoughts:
For various reasons I don't think it's super impressive, but I'll be more than happy if they've still got the 2001 Barolo 'Cannubi Boschis' from the Sandrone Luciano winery.So when headbang8 tells me that he's managed to get them to put a bottle of that wine on one side for us, I happily agree to have supper there. In the past when I've been out for dinner with other bloggers, I've always paid for both of us, on the basis that I don't expect other people to pay for my expensive wine habit! However on this occasion headbang8 is quite happy to split the bill 50:50, so everything is agreed.
Although I've been inside a few of the private member's clubs in London, I've never been inside the Groucho Club so I'm interested to see what it's like. For myself, I've never seen see the attraction of belonging to a club. I reckon it's better to wine and dine at different places, because if one's a member of any club one would feel obliged to use it, but then one would be stuck with the same food and wine list all the time!
On the day, I arrive on time and I'm just trying to work out if there's any room for us to sit in the ground floor bar when I spot a familiar face.
"Headbang8?" I ask.
"Ahhh, GB, there you are :-)," he replies.
Face to face, Headbang8 is a jovial looking chap, just as I imagined him to be from the photo that he'd shown me online.
"I don't think there's much room for us to sit down here," I say, "although perhaps it'd be possible to sit on these bar stools here."
"Let's try upstairs," replies headbang8, "there's another bar up there :-)!"
We manage to find a couple of chairs in the upstairs bar and soon we've ordered some aperitifs, a beer for headbang8 and a mojito for me. One of the first things that I ask him is about his boyfriend, who he refers to as Master Right in his blog.
"With a name like Master Right," I start, "I assume that he's much younger than you?"
"No actually, only a few years younger," replies headbang8, "He's Japanese, and the name Master Right is related to the Japanese meaning of his real name!"
I tell him about my boyfriend problems, and headbang8 is very sympathetic.
"I could tell from that post that you did in December that ex-boyfriend P was going to break your heart," he says.
"Yes," I reply with a melancholy tone in my voice, "he did :-(."
While we're chatting, the sommelier brings us the bottle of Barolo to inspect.
"Will this wine be all right, sir?" asks the sommelier.
Sitting in the bar, I can't remember the exact details of the wine that I'd seen on the web site, and spotting my confusion the sommelier seeks to reassure me.
"It's the one that was mentioned in the email :-)," he says smiling.
"Then I'm sure it'll be fine :-)," I reply.
We continue chatting in the bar while we finish our drinks, before moving into the restaurant next door. We get shown to a nice corner table, and once we're seated at the table, we get our first taste of the wine.
"It's not nearly as good as I expected," I say having taken my first sip, feeling a bit disappointed, "I think this wine will probably be excellent in a few years time, but at the moment it's a bit young!"
"Actually I remember that the wine you mentioned in the email was eight years old," says headbang8, "and this one is only 6 years old, it's the 2003!"
Using the internet access on my PDA, I manage to find the email where I mentioned the wine, and indeed the wine should be the 2001 not the 2003. We make a complaint to the sommelier, who then finds the email that headbang8 had sent him to prove to him that he hadn't specified the vintage.
"But I did specify that it's the wine mentioned on your web site!" replies headbang8.
"And in any case," I add, "surely you know that for wines of this quality the vintage is important, so if the email didn't specify you should have asked!"
Even though it's the wrong wine, the 2003 isn't a nasty or undrinkable wine, so we refuse to let the incident spoil our evening. We have a leisurely meal, and afterwards we retire back to the bar area to finish off with some Champagne.
"So do you have any other hobbies apart from blogging?" I ask while we're waiting for the drinks arrive.
"I don't usually get asked that!" replies headbang8, "just needlepoint and scrapbooking I guess!"
"Fair enough!" I laugh. "Apart from blogging, I guess my hobbies are gambling, gym, wine, and MEN of course :-)."
We carry on chatting for ages, during which time we polish off another couple of classes of Champagne! Eventually though, it's time to go home, and headbang8 kindly insists on paying for the Champagne on his account. Getting up from our seats, I give him a goodbye hug before heading downstairs to find my coat. As I'd expected, headbang8 turned out to be excellent company, so I just hope that he thought the same about me!