Saturday August 17th
Wonderful good fortune… I planned this trip to put me “somewhere” in mainland Scotland on the one year anniversary of Runrig’s retirement concert, with the hope that “something” would happen on that date…and so it did!!! Heaven on earth…
[A note to Runrig fans: speaking of serendipity, “Hearts of Olden Glory”, the song that we sang together with the band that night, is playing as I write this…]
While I’d booked my flights back in May, it wasn’t until we were off-roading in Mongolia in search of a place for lunch when tickets to the premiere showing of Runrig’s concert video were released for sale. I will never forget the moment when the text alert message arrived — being jostled about while juggling SIM cards and credit cards, low on battery power, and laughing all the while — yet somehow managing to get tickets (two, because my finger initially hit the wrong seat selection and I didn’t want to take time to re-select lest time run out).
[…and just now, “Edge of the World” is playing!]
There was a fan club party beforehand which I caught the tail end of, and what a blessing to meet them for the first time! In many cases it’s quite hard to go to an event where you don’t know anyone, but with Runrig Fans there is nothing to worry about. Once I met one person, I was introduced to many and suddenly I was welcomed amongst friends. This is what makes Runrig and their fan base so special.
The premiere was emotional and exhilarating, as the band was there and during the onstage interview session, they gave us one last song: an a capela version of “Hearts of Olden Glory”. Instinctively, the audience joined in full-voice. Thankfully, this moment was recorded (link).
For the rest of the evening, we enjoyed reliving last year’s final concert through the movie, whose DVD has since gone to #1 on the music video charts in the UK and Germany as of this writing.
As Steve Martin’s character said in the movie LA Stories:
“Wonderful, wonderful, wonderful, and yet again, wonderful.”
Sunday, August 18th – Glasgow to North Uist
On the morning before heading to North Uist, I was met by longtime friends Sunita and George, who stopped by the hotel on their way home from vacation. We originally met in 1983; Sunita was a PhD student also serving as residents’ assistant at Chalmers Hall, where I lived as an engineering exchange student at the University of Dundee.
Sunita and George are a wonderful couple. They celebrated a milestone wedding anniversary by renewing their vows during a weekend reunion event being held at the University of Dundee in 2017, which I attended as well.
We had only a brief visit this time, but I was extremely happy that they went out of their way to see me.
I should mention: it was at the reunion’s alumni dinner event when I discussed going to see a Runrig performance with friends Gary and Geraldine… This conversation ultimately led to making plans to attend The Last Dance with Gary, Geraldine, Karen and Steve. Funny how things work out!
I also want to send a big ‘thank you’ to the Glasgow taxi driver who patiently heard my stories about this round-the-world tour and how it all began. They refer to Glasgow as “The Caring City”, and he provided a sympathetic listening ear followed by a genuine hug. I wish him well on his life’s adventures, too!