Paddington (and ABBA)

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With a mind’s eye image of Paddington, that dear little bear, taking tea with Her Majesty the Queen yesterday, I walked in sunshine past the Scottish Parliament and onwards up Calton Road to Edinburgh’s Waverley Station this morning. I was quite sure that this was to be a magical day.

It was.

Jubilee Weekend. I was headed to the ABBA Arena in London for ‘Voyage’ (link) [official website here] – their spectacular show of a lifetime, winding up at evening in Paddington for dinner, sleep that I know will be punctuated by a million memories, and songs that make the hairs on your arms stand up.

Photography and recording were not allowed during the show itself, of course, but I think the few photos of the 3000 capacity purpose-built stadium hint at what was to be a truly electrifying and thrilling return to joys of more than forty years ago and to innumerable evocative memories – with both old and familiar, coupled with some exquisitely brand new.

And now I’m bowled over, at a complete loss even to begin to describe the encounter. What I can report is that our little party, together with everyone we heard within earshot afterwards, felt honour bound to encourage all who can to experience it for themselves.

After dinner, dispersing to our own hotel rooms, my brother gave a perfect rendition of the beautiful and soulful ‘I wonder’ – and at the end of an emotion-filled Jubilee Thanksgiving we’ve retired for the night with the words ‘there are SO many connections’ ringing and singing in our ears. There are. And SO very many of them evoke profound thankfulness. Northwards again for Holyrood in the morning, still foot-tapping, with moist eyes, humming.

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