Troy, NY

Even at the grand old age of 33, I’ve retained a childlike fascination for the rare event of the 29th of February (remarkably, Eddie’s uncle was born on this day an undisclosable number of years ago, and I’m enormously envious of him). Being born on February 29th would have offered me the exact kind of glory I craved throughout my childhood (and, honestly, still do now): entirely unearned, but (to my mind) totally compelling and, therefore, an eternal talking-point.

As it happens, I’m currently midway through Midnight’s Children by Salman Rushdie, a (tremendous) book (that I probably should have read long ago) in which the main character, Saleem Sinai, ascribes himself with a quasi-deific nature because he was born at the exact moment of India’s independence (midnight on August 15th 1947, FYI). Thankfully, I’m aware that being born on this marker of a leap year would give me no essence of divinity, but it’s almost lust I feel for beautiful serendipities like being born on February 29th and the intrigue they carry with them.

Today’s remarkable for a second reason, too. We’re currently on a three-week tour of the United States, and today is day twelve – and yet yesterday, we took our final flights of the trip before travelling home next Sunday.

Why? We know that climate change is a reality – and an immediate one, at that. But touring a country like the USA that’s so large has usually required us to take at least one flight between concerts. This year, we’ve tried to approach things differently – with a lot of help and support from our North American management team at IMG. By focussing more on the routing, we have an itinerary that’s (very) consciously grouped our concerts geographically, with all of our East Coast touring at the end of the trip. Now you know we love a train journey anyway, so it’s been a joy to discover some of the longer trips you can make up and down the eastern seaboard. Courtesy of Amtrak, we’re travelling everywhere from New York to Philadelphia, Delaware to Connecticut, without having to check any bags or arrive at any airports two hours beforehand. You don’t have to stay seated with your seatbelts fastened during take-off and landing, nor do I have to bend over double to get in and out of the bathroom. In short, it’s much more glamorous and comfortable to travel by train anyway, and I’m thrilled that we get to see our travel across the United States from a new perspective, while trying to be as kind to the environment as possible at the same time.

I mentioned Eddie’s uncle at the beginning of this post. By chance, Eddie has now joined me in the breakfast room of our hotel (where I’ve been writing), and we have the quality of the gluten-free bread provision here to discuss. I’ll be thinking of you all as I gaze out of train windows over the coming week.


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