Thursday, June 14, 2007

Day Seven: Lincoln - So Hollywood

Already received feedback from the SANDS Conference on Tuesday!

Out of 98 forms:
Please evaluate, scoring from 4 - 1
( 4 - e x c e l l e n t ; 3 - g o o d ; 2 - f a i r ; 1 - p o o r )

“I hate this” A play without the baby a solo performance – David Hansen
4 - 88.88% 3 - 9.10% 2 - 2.02% 1 - 0%
Comments: Fantastic / Amazing / Awesome/ Inspirational / All nurses should see this/ Unique and exceptional / too intense / too personal

I agree, it is too intense and personal. I'm an intense and personal guy.

Enough about London. LINCOLN. We are staying at the White Hart, which is this ... okay, I have an insufficient vocabulary for things opulent and beautiful. It is enough to say Kelly refuses to leave tomorrow, and her room is half as nice (and a quarter as large) as ours is.

The picture at your right is the view from our window. That's what we get to wake up to and go to be at night looking at, or at least I would, if I were allowed on the canopy bed which faces the window with the other three members of my family, instead of the roll-away by the fireplace.

I am not complaining. Oh no, I am not complaining, not about the roll-away, not about not having to sleep with a two year-old's foot in my crotch.

Last night at dinner at the Wig and Mitre (what's up with all the mitre's?) I noticed a number of photos of Tom Hanks from local papers, laminated and hanging on the wall in the staircase. As I was managing small feet up and down the stairs each time, I didn't read it up close, and just figured Tom Hanks had spent a vacation here.

Well, no. As Westminster Abbey refused to let Ron Howard film the relevant scenes from The Da Vinci Code that take place there in their actual location, the people of Lincoln Cathedral were only too happy to provide theirs as a substitute. And so the entire city played host to a major Hollywood picture for a few days in August, 2005.

But hey, they filmed lots and lots of Spider-Man 3 in Cleveland, right? So we know what that's like.

This morning Toni and I met with our contact Julia, who took us to the studios of BBC Lincolnshire for a noontime interview. I don't think they were planning to have Toni on the air, but we pressed for it, which I think is a good thing. Like having her participate in the post-show discussions, when we are fortunate enough for that to happen, she provides perspective that I forget ... or have difficulty articulating. I don't know what's happened to me that I have totally lost the ability to answer a simple question in a short period of time.

So the three of us were interviewed by Martin Daniels, and he asked some very intelligent and thoughtful questions. I think we got the show over pretty well. There was this amusing (to me) exchange where Julia was explaining, quite rightly, that the show is about a serious subject, and that it's not necessarily "night out" material. Later she further clarified to us that she was concerned the free ticket price may encourage folks out for a lark to check it out, and wanted to be sure people knew what they were in for. On air, Toni did her best to also point up that it is a play, and an entirely appropriate form of entertainment for people who are looking for a good drama.

Everyone is so polite here, it rubs off.

We stuck around the offices for a bit to chat - and wait for Martin Brewin (a different Martin) to get back on the air. I met Martin and his partner Suzanne at the SANDS event on Saturday, they lost their boy Barney last November, and have put together their own stillbirth awareness organization as a tribute. This week, Martin is taking six days to walk the 150 miles from his home in Grantham to London, and as Martin Daniels was trying to get him on the line with me, he was on the road, walking. The weather took a turn for the wretched in the past twenty-four hours, all over Britain, and so the wind and rain made him impossible to hear. By the time Martin B. got to a pub to have an intelligible interview, our time was already done, so I didn't get to talk to him directly.

Sorry I missed you, Martin! Hope the weather clears up for the rest of the walk! (Here's Martin's blog, all you bloggy people.)

Julia got to share with us about her daughter Holly, whom she lost seventeen years ago. She's worked so hard on this mission, has been involved with SANDS for many years. One interesting, and potentially helpful anecdote; she had occasion to relocate the meetings she was organizing. They couldn't be at her home, and having them in a church would be problematic. So she hosted it at a restaurant, a kind of a pub. And the attendance of fathers went up dramatically. She says she believes the possibility of having a drink - not the drink, per se, but the reason for being there ("I'm not going to a support group, I'm having a pint,") was probably what brought them out.

And I think she's right.

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