Thursday, June 8, 2017

Sands UK Tour, Day One: Glasgow

Ten years ago this month, the Stillbirth and Neonatal Death Charity (SANDS UK) sent my solo performance I Hate This (a play without the baby) on a seven date tour of Great Britain.

Friday, 8 June 2007

On the train from Glasgow to Carlisle. The girls are all making "awwww" noises at the nursing sheep on the hillside.

The girl (age 4) had a Trans-Atlantic Freak-Out last night (that's also the name of my new album, Trans-Atlantic Freak-Out!) She'd fallen asleep, but kept waking herself up, kicking my mother-in-law and whining terribly. It lasted maybe twenty minutes, she was just inconsolable until she finally fell asleep.

My wife reminded me that the exact same thing happened a year ago, last spring, when we last made this voyage. Weird. Just too much stress, exhaustion, the adrenaline rush of an anticipated trip winding down, turbulence, cramped space (the seats have gotten smaller for her, you know) and who knows what else.

Arriving was a great relief, and we soon settled into what I hope is a regular part of our journey together, which is this: not rushing to do anything. We sat around, drinking coffee for a while before we set off to catch a bus. There's too many bags and people to dash off anywhere, we almost left my wife's bag on the first bus. Heck, we almost left my passport at home.

The kids are awesome travelers. At least, they are at this age, I hope they don't lose that. We talk about all the things we see, and don't linger over stuff they don't express much interest in.

Today was a walk with death.

Any trip to a British cathedral is a festival of dead people. There are monuments to fallen soldiers, dead bodies under plaques beneath your feet, and tombs all over the place.

But St. Mungo is a very special place. Not only is there there cathedral (featuring Blackadder Aisle, but it's not what you think) but next to it is the St Mungo Museum of Religious Life and Art, which we unfortunately did not have time to really explore, though the wife did take a moment to tie a ribbon to the Couty Tree to remember Calvin and to give the tour some good juju.

And then there is the Necropolis, a cemetery that winds up a high hill overlooking Glasgow. Hundreds of prominent Glaswegians are resting there, including the William Miller, the man who wrote Wee-Willie Winkie.

Before we had even begun the trek up the hill, we came upon a small plot dedicated to dead children. The stone reads, "I will not forget you ... I have held you in the palm of my hand." - Isaiah 49:15 and there were a large number of soft animals and other soggy mementoes left there. That was an auspicious sight, and also very sweet.

Original blog post: June 8, 2007

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