I had to take a nap. My body, still tangled with the terrible cold that had been lingering like an over-infatuated groupie, begged me to stop. So I did. After all, I was all settled into my room at the guest house on Bath Street and I have been up 28 hours.
I started this day yesterday afternoon in Seattle and I flew seven hours to the capital of Iceland, Reykjavik, arriving just after 7am. After a snowy, fifty minute layover (devoid of any northern lights sighting, sadly), an apple, and a bag of crisps, I saddled up another silver bird. We flew to greet the dawn’s blushing hello. Below me were wintery hills, cuillins, and monroes (hills that aren’t tall enough to be considered mountains). They appeared to be dusted with icing sugar. The sweetness level was dependent on the rise and fall of the land. Deep brushes of greens created the valleys, swirls of cerulean blue fingered in dramatic watery lines, and the snows on snow echoed softly like an exhale. Wisps of fog lingered over the delicate dance of whites and greys. I felt as if I had slipped into a painting. Two hours later, the sound of wings came to rest in Glasgow. It was roughly 10am but my body felt as if it was 2am.
The brisk air quickly woke me up as I exited the airport. The temperature lingered around freezing and the sun was shining high in the sky, embracing my face with a warm hello.
My friend Jimi was there to pick me up. He said it was too cold for me to take the bus and he was in the neighborhood. Brilliant! My heart was brimming with gratitude! (My sincere thanks to Carol for organizing it.) We drove through the city, soaking in its perfect juxtaposition of old and jetset. Glasgow is growing! Many large new buildings are in the process of going up which means the economy must be prime.
Through the zigs and zags of the streets and building with hundreds of faces immortalized in statues, we arrived at the place that I will call home for the upcoming weeks. Adelaide’s is an eight room guest house that is attached to a beautiful auditorium that was built in the mid 1800s. The auditorium hosts events and holds service for a baptist church. I had the privilege to sing in the auditorium when I performed at Celtic Connections in 2014. It felt like a bit of a home coming.
Up to room 8, I hauled my nearly 50lb suitcase, my guitar and handbag up three flights of stairs. About half way up, I remembered that I really should have packed lighter. Hindsight is always 20/20. But alas, a girl needs options when it comes to wardrobe and I will spare you the details on hair products curly haired folks must use.
After I unpacked, I bundled myself up to take to the streets in search of a currency exchange, sign up to volunteer at the festival, and most importantly, food. I hadn’t had a proper meal since the homemade breakfast Adam cooked for me. That was over 20 hours ago and my stomach was very vocal about it.
Sauchiehall Street is a great place to adventure. One can find anything one needs while listening to various buskers along the way. The first busker I heard was playing an amplified sitar. He looked like George Harrison with is hair tussled about. He sat on a prayer rug and gave me a smile as I walked by. Down the way, there was an older man who had a James Taylor quality to his sound. He was singing about how a man can go away from Glasgow but Glasgow can never go away from the man. I felt that an appropriate welcome as I feel very much the same about this city.
I made it to the Royal Concert Hall staircase and stopped to listen to a duo playing guitar and clarinet. It was wonderful. The sun was pouring over the scene and left the stairs in a butterscotch glow. I tossed a few coins in the hat and made my way to the volunteer HQ. I quickly got that sorted while saying hellos to familiar faces. Celtic Connections has officially started! Whoo hoo!
“Growl”, said my tummy. I still hadn’t eaten so I made way next to Marks & Spencers. I have always been fond of M & S partly because it reminds me of when I first moved to Victoria, BC. My friend Melody and I would sometimes meet her mum at the Eaton’s Centre. M & S was a favorite stop then and now. Although the one in Victoria closed years ago, it’s nice to visit this one. They have a currency exchange booth which trades at an okay rate without a fee. They also have a cafe to have soup and sandwiches as well as a grocery area.
Money exchanged. Egg salad /watercress sandwich and tomato soup consumed. And flowers and some non perishable groceries for my room acquired! Done!
I was feeling a bit weary so I headed back to Adelaides. I sent a few emails, made a few calls, and cruised the web for a short while. I was in shock to hear about Alan Rickman. He was one of my favorite actors. This is hard to swallow since David Bowie passed away Sunday and I am still off kilter about that. It truly reminds me to make every moment count.
And now I am cozy with a cup of tea. I am waiting it out, keeping awake until 10:30pm Glasgow time to try to help me get beyond jet lag. I will be up a total of 31 hours (okay 30 if you deduct that hour nap).
In dreams, I will find and greet all who have gone away. In waking, I will live a bit louder because of them.