Sunday, November 28, 2010

Hello from England

I decided on the plane that the posts I would make during this trip would be more than just informational. I think I owe it to the people who have made this journey possible (that's YOU!) to dig a little deeper and let you know what I'm feeling and thinking. So here we go....

The past couple of days have been a blur as I rushed to make final preparations for the journey. Such a combination of emotions: excitement, worry, and sadness as I knew it would be nearly a month before I saw my whole family again. I cried a lot more than I thought I would over this mix of feelings swirling around. I've never been away from my family during the Christmas season, but we all discussed this some months ago and agreed that it was worth the risk if the goal, to make The House on Christmas Street a mainstream hit, was achieved.

The first concert of the tour got off to a rough start on Saturday night as we discovered a piece of equipment missing. The radio receiver which would have allowed my sound system to broadcast the music from the decorators' computer systems was missing. It's still missing. We've looked EVERYWHERE but it seems to have vaporized. This was especially awkward and upsetting as it had been a gift from my first host, Brian Mitchell. Brian is a very nice man and sort of a man of few words, so he didn't say much but I'm sure he was upset, and of course the whole situation was not the best way to begin a performance. Then, just as I was about to begin with the first song, the music wouldn't start. I'd been looking for two weeks to replace the piece of equipment that caused THIS problem but had been unable to find anything suitable. Finally it started and the show was off and running and I felt good and smiley. There were, I thought, a good number of people there but I found out later that the snow squall that had happened while I was driving to Claremont had iced over the roads and because Brian lives at the top of the hill there were many who had to turn around because they couldn't get up that hill.
The next disaster happened when I made the poor decision to sing a song I'd only learned over the past two days. It was "All I Want for Christmas is You," and though I thought I knew it, all of the lyrics just FLEW out of my head nearly immediately. I couldn't see the faces of the audience in the dark and so I don't know if they were laughing or disgusted. I was quite angry with myself. The last time I saw a performer botch a song that badly I talked about it for weeks, and now here I was guilty of it myself. Anyhow, things got back on track after that and the lovely little girl who came up to sing "Frosty" with me was a delight!
This was my third annual concert at the Mitchell home and they are the nicest people in the world. If you folks are reading this I want you to know I am very grateful for the opportunity and thankful for your friendship.
NEWS FLASH: just read a great write-up in the e-ticker news of Claremont. You can read it here (you have to scroll down to p. 8) and they have a video on their facebook page here
Sunday I had a fun ride to NYC with my daughter and two of her friends, and I got to the airport in plenty of time. The flight left at 5:40pm and it was a seven hour flight, then I had an hour layover in Dublin and another flight of a little over an hour to get to Birmingham, England, where I was greeted by Paul and his partner Chris. They were just delightful and we hit it off immediately during our two hour drive to Wells (which I learned is called Wells because of the wells! Makes sense, huh?). I visited Paul's home and met his lovely mother and got to see his display and have a photo op there. I also had a telephone interview with someone from the local paper. Then they brought me over to the beautiful b&b where I am staying. I'm in the master bedroom with an amazing canopy bed that looks like something fit for a Queen. There's even a cradle in here in case I decide to have a baby while I'm here! HA HA! The bathtub is must be six feet long...and nice and deep so I decided to have a bath and I fell asleep in the tub. Here we are five hours ahead of the eastern US so it is about 10am as I write this but 5:00 EST. OH yes, and there's a bidet in the bathroom but I have no idea how to use it and I'm afraid to turn it on lest it spray all over the bathroom. Perhaps, if I am feeling adventurous, I'll try to turn it on later just to see how it works.
Paul and Chris are very gracious and even provided me with a cell phone to call home because mine does not work internationally, so I got to speak to Philip but was unable to reach Emma or Louisa.
In the late afternoon we visited the Wells Cathedral which I'm sure is the oldest building I've ever been in. Walking through it felt like walking back in time. Plus there was the added bonus of meeting the Cathedral cat, Louis, who was curled up by a radiator and was very happy to be petted. The Cathedral is built by the well of St. Andrew, and I found it an amazing coincidence that Google just informed me when I signed on that today is St. Andrew's Feast Day.
Paul and Chris are quite knowledgeable about the history here and they've just filled me up with facts. Today I am waiting for them to arrive for our trip to Stonehenge and Glastonbury. It's snowing lightly outside which they say is very unusual. It snowed when I was in Claremont too. Do you think it will snow in Texas when I am there??????

1 comment:

  1. Glad you are enjoying the west country and chris and paul are great guys see you all tomorrow