Tea with an Irish Guard...

Rewind to Monday, May 17th - the day we met Lee Allen for our first cup of tea...

We felt good. Accomplished. The quest had begun - one cup in the bag. We sat, slightly tired, but content on our train ride back to Windsor, talking excitedly about all the people we would soon be meeting, about all the ways we could find these people, about the potential for adventure that lay ahead.

A bloke a few rows down from us caught Kiwi's eye - rather, the bloke's hat caught Kiwi's eye - it was a Bearskin - the tall, black, fuzzy hats worn by the soldiers who guard the Queen of England. This was no imitation however, this was the real thing - and a few minutes later, we were wearing it.

(Greg & Kiwi looking very official in the Bearskin hat!)

After a brief conversation with Sean, the train arrived in Windsor and we prepared to part ways - but, I couldn't resist the urge. So soon after our first cup - a chance encounter was practically handed to us - I had to take advantage of it. And that's part of the point isn't it? I mean, life gives us opportunities to connect with other people each and every day - in the end though, it is entirely up to us as individuals whether or not we take advantage of these opportunities, these meetings born of chance.

"This might seem a little odd," I said to Sean awkwardly, "But would you want to grab a cup of tea with us sometime?"

"Uhhh, yeah... sure."

A few months passed, and Sean and I texted back and forth a few times - but a second meeting didn't happen - not for a while anyway. September was approaching, and I knew Sean would be due to ship off to Afghanistan soon - so with a brief and apologetic text, I offered up a place and time to meet, hoping Sean would still be interested. Thankfully, yes, he was still keen to meet - and so we arrange to meet on the upcoming Monday - at the Carpenter's Arms pub in Windsor.

Now, here's where I let you know that we cheated a little. We didn't actually have tea that Monday night at the Carpenter's Arms. Oh, Sean still met with us - and we still did attend the pub - but as the 3 of us walked in, a spot of tea didn't seem appropriate some how...

So we had beer.

And yes, it still counts!

In fact, we had a few beers, and fish and chips too. And we just talked. Like 3 old friends getting together to catch up. Sean told us about life in the military, about life in Northern Ireland before the military (including some not so pleasant tales of the UDA and IRA - and chapter of his life he has since left behind); about his plans for the future, his excitement to head off to Afghanistan - and we shared our similar stories with Sean. Though, I think our stories were a little less exciting, if I'm honest...

(Left to Right - Greg, Sean Burns, and Kiwi)

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