“Look out for two grey-haired, not-very-tall people in green anoraks”.

This was how Mrs Devos described herself and her husband. We had arranged to meet at London City Airport, although we had only known each other through the Internet, and for a mere five weeks.

Mr Devos had put ‘Deseronto’ into Google in February and had come across this blog. He got in touch by email on February 18, to tell me about his father’s photograph album, which I’ve described in an earlier post. We were delighted to get copies of the photographs, but as Mr Devos lives in Worcestershire, England, our interaction has been purely through email.

Last Friday I posted a ‘Thank you’ letter to Worcestershire from Manchester, where I was attending the Archives 2.0 conference and talking about the work we’re doing in Deseronto using online resources such as Blogger and Flickr (including, I might add, the story behind the Devos photo album). Noticing that the letter was posted in England, Mr Devos emailed to say that he would be in London this week and to see if there was any chance of meeting up. As it happened, I would be on my way from Edinburgh to Kent via London today.

So we arranged our rendezvous (despite misgivings of friends of both parties, who were automatically suspicious of meetings arranged with strangers over the Internet!). We found each other without mishap (the green anoraks were instantly recognisable) and had a lovely chat over a cup of coffee in the airport café. We’ve gone from a chance international online encounter to a face-to-face meeting in London in just over a month!

When I talked about our accession of the Devos photo album in Manchester last week, as one of the consequences of putting materials online, I didn’t know that I would actually be getting to meet Mr Devos and his wife. It is another example of the fact that you never know quite where these online initiatives are going to take you, if you are willing to let them.