Two main things are different about this tour than I (Elspeth) thought they’d be when we set out in February: 1) enjoyment outweighs the sense of slog (it’s pretty good fun, I must confess!) and 2) it’s harder to keep up this blog than I expected. I did expect that in order to blog, I would need to set time aside to write and make consequent choices not to go and do/see/have the alternative thing/spectacle/nap in various locations. But I didn’t reckon on how unfeasible that would be in practice. In the future, I aim to tilt the balance of probabilities in the favour of more frequent postings by generally being that bit more organized. And by remembering that blog writing is a fun kind of a slog too.
Today, as it’s a rainy day in Pittsburgh at the end of a festival run, without any shows or travel and when we have insufficient inclination to become temporary tourists, it seems like a good time to whizz back in time to capture and share some of the last few weeks’ goodies – and soggies.
Nashville – Before the Deluge
Talk about rain! We were in Nashville for just over a week in late April and experienced some of the heaviest rain we’ve ever seen. Rain in which there was no chance of stepping out without getting drenched, whatever kind of clothes you had on (I had on a fabulous cow-patterned poncho from one of the ‘western wear’ shops). The rain came and it went. And then we went. And a few days later it rained again in Nashville and didn’t stop for two whole days. Tennessee has not been so badly flooded since anyone can remember. Thirteen inches in two days – that’s double the previous rainfall record.
Some of places we went to are now barely recognizable. The Country Music Hall of Fame in downtown Nashville was surrounded by water but the legendary country performance venue The Grand Ole Opry is submerged and will be out of action indefinitely. People we were working with at TPAC, the Tennessee Performing Arts Center, including Karen Palin, Associate Technical Director, were involved in re-staging the Opry at their War Memorial Auditorium, its home from ’39-’43. If you are on facebook, you can see a very touching album of behind-the-scenes photographs of this historic moment. And if you’re not on facebook, you can read about it here on the Grand Ole Opry’s website.
Rick was blessed with a veritable stream of visitors as Nashville is the closest we get on this particular tour to his hometown of Atlanta, Georgia. Both big sisters came, Richelle with Greg, and Robin – with her husband Lou and their four great kids, Robbie, Katy, Nicky and Michael. David Scott from Rick’s early years as a drummer in Edinburgh and Jimmy Burns from his Georgia high school days enjoyed nights out in downtown Nashville as did Felicia and Wren, who were also our daytime puddle-hopping, flip-flopping partners that soggy Saturday.
And as a treat for touring puppeteers, Nashville’s Public Library is something else. They employ several full-time puppeteers and have a long history of presenting book-inspired puppet shows. We not only had the pleasure of seeing the latest production of Mark Twain’s “Jumping Frog of Calveras Counry” but we were honoured with a tour of their incredible collection of puppets.
I prepared to celebrate my 40th birthday in Nashville with a trip to Katy K’s western wear to buy a dress – and a crazy wig. Wearing the dress but not the wig, I was accompanied to the Country Music Hall of Fame by my favourite sight-seeing accomplices, my dear husband Richard Medrington and the ever-witty Rick Conte. There’s a set of photos from the Country Music Hall of Fame here.
Finally, the Nashville week was distinguished and made especially memorable with the recording of an interview with Dog himself. Dog the celebrated thespian who reflects here upon his major influences and his illustrious career to date.
Later, dear readers, you will be hearing about our puppetry, theatrical perambulations through the rustyish belt of Philadelphia, Cleveland and Pittsburgh. Thanks for stopping by!