|New friends that I would have never met otherwise|
Today is one of those days. Two years ago…and to be honest I’m truly surprised that it’s been two years…I was on a train headed for Birmingham after spending a night in Bournemouth. I had seen the band the night before of course, after having gone to dinner with three new friends. It’s funny because for me, in some respects I barely remember the show. I remember the drive from Brighton to Bournemouth very well, as we were driven by our friend Michelle, and I think we laughed most of the way. That was one of the highlights of the trip for me, and it never fails to make me smile when I think of that day. We spent the afternoon walking around Bournemouth, walking through Primark (a store very similar to our JC Penneys here in California where I live) so that I could grab a zebra-striped umbrella (the rain makes me melt, you know), we had dinner and even went to a very nice (I think the correct British term is “posh”) hotel and had tea to warm up. I know the show was great, and I know that I spent most of Leopard doubled over in laughter because at that point I was so jet-lagged that I probably would have laughed at my own reflection in a mirror (and should have I am certain!)…but memories of the band playing aren’t what come immediately to mind. It’s the time I spent with friends. I would go so far as to say that I even remember the time Amanda and I spent after the show hanging out in our hotel bar more than I remember being at the show. Maybe I’m just weird that way.
|Still pretty happy, despite the pricey train fare!|
Then there is the train trip from Bournemouth to Birmingham. I don’t know if I’ve mentioned this here before, but we grabbed a cab from our hotel to the train station. Once at the station, we confidently walked into the station and went to the ticket booth where we announced our intention to go to Birmingham. The booth attendant quickly rang up the sale, and gave us our total. To this day I can’t remember exactly how much he said – but it was quite a tidy sum (to put it politely), and Amanda turned to me with her mouth open. I stood there and said “Give the man your card Amanda – because we’re not stopping now!!” Naturally, we should have bought these particular tickets in advance – but having done that six months prior in May, with those tickets going unused due to a certain lead singer not being able to sing – we had agreed that we would take our chances. So, we paid dearly for that train trip, but I think Amanda would say it was worth it. Well, probably.
|On the way to the venue in Birmingham with new friends!|
Prior to the show in Birmingham, we had arranged a meet-up at a pub. We hung out, saw friends, met new ones, and by the time we needed to get to the venue, I think Amanda and I were coming out of our skin with excitement. This show, I remember clearly. It’s hard not to remember the show because this was The Holy Grail. The Show to End All Shows for us. No disrespect intended but for Duranies, it was like going to Mecca. The Motherland. I think we’d built up the moment to be so important – that by the time the show was over, we were exhausted. We didn’t sleep much that night. We talked through every second of that show, and then some. I will never be upset that we made the trip to Birmingham twice, and to be honest – if I can find a way to go again, I will.
For me personally, the shows were literally just the tip of the iceberg. They were the catalyst, the reason I went to the UK, but once there, I just felt as though there was so much more to my trip than the band. The land I saw, the towns I experienced, the friends I met…the Winter Markets, the differences in culture…I loved every second of it. (Even when I was freezing my ass off in the venue in Glasgow!) Let’s face it: I’m from Southern California. As of this writing it is December 2nd and I’m wearing a short sleeved t-shirt and flip-flops. My youngest doesn’t remember ever being in the snow, much less touching it or tasting it, because the last time we actually went to see the snow, she was less than a year old. Where we live – it never snows. If it did, people would lose their minds. Our palm trees are decorated as though they were evergreens, and yes, it really IS hard to have the “Christmas Spirit” when it’s 80 degrees outside. The UK is a world away from anything I experience on a daily basis. As I’ve explained to my husband since that trip, seeing the band was great – but the truth is, as most Duranies know, the setlist doesn’t change that much from show to show. It’s true, I can remember the setlist differences between the shows – or the funny things that set one show apart from another, but it’s not like those change that much. What makes these trips worth it for me, especially my trip to the UK, is what I do, or what I see in each place. The people I meet, and the experiences outside of the shows. I wouldn’t trade any of that.
I’m not sure when the band might decide to tour again, and if they do – I have no idea if I might be able to travel again – or where I’ll go if I can. I’m just thankful I took the opportunity to go when I did.