Thursday March 10 – Friday March 11, 2016 – London
Planes, trains and automobiles plus a boat and a bus!
Flew out of Nashville today for London. It’s the C2C in London this weekend and Frankie Ballard is one of the Artist playing there. He has an off night on Saturday and is going to do a show for our troops at RAF Mildenhall. It is about an 1 1/2 hours outside of London. He and his band left yesterday so it was just me leaving out today.
Had a small delay leaving Nashville because of the rainstorm that came through, but we made up time in the air and landed only a few minutes late.. however we had to wait about 15 minutes because of a traffic jam at the gate. Still had plenty of time for my connection though. I was able to talk to mom and the kids before boarding and everything was ok. Long flight over was uneventful other than major leg cramp that had me flying out of my seat so I could stretch it out (I didn’t bring my bar of soap!)
Landed a few minutes early and had a minicab pick me up. I am staying at the Mercure Greenwich London which is only 23 miles … but 1 1/2 hour drive with London streets and traffic. My driver was nice but he is definitely over London traffic…he doesn’t understand why they have such huge sidewalks which leave only enough room for 1 lane of traffic each way on most roads.
Checked into the hotel around 1:30, talked to Frankie’s manager Christian for a second. They were out doing a CMA interview and then I decided to walk into “town”. It is about a 20 minute walk from the hotel down to the pier, park and Royal Naval Academy. I walked around there for about an hour and then took a Clipper boat Eastward toward London. It’s about a 20 minute boat ride to Embankment Pier, which is near Trafalgar Square.
So what do you do with a half day off in London. Become a total tourist and hop on a Big Red Bus for sightseeing! The tour was about 2 hours but I didn’t have time to really hop off anywhere and go in. Oh well.. maybe next time.
Decided to take the tube from Baker Street back to my hotel..which is on the DLR Line soo.. it was about a 40 minute ride back to the hotel due to all the stops and changes. Got back to the hotel around 7:30. Frankie has a late show tonight so I don’t think I will be seeing anyone until tomorrow morning when we leave for RAF Mildenhall.
This hotel has a really nice restaurant downstairs and I took full advantage of it. I hadn’t eat since the meal this morning on the plane! While at dinner I had a text from Christian saying everyone was good, they were at the show and would see me in the morning.
Going to bed now. Not an early leave time so I can sleep in a little bit 🙂
Day 3 – Saturday, March 12, 2016 – RAF Mildenhall
Up at 8:00 AM to shower and get ready before heading down for breakfast. I forgot to mention I have a really great room! It is on the top floor (9th) and on the corner so I have awesome views of Greenwich…however the elevator only goes to floor # 8. So you have to get off at the 8th floor. Go through a swinging door and then there is a glass “lift”
Lift as in it has a regular door that you open, go in then push the button to go up or down. You have to keep the button pushed to keep moving.
Went downstairs to eat and didn’t see any of the guys yet. They had a very late performance at the O2 last night so I didn’t expect to see anyone until time to go. Checked out of the room and our 2 drivers from Mildenhall were here with our 2 splitter vans. The guys started coming down and we loaded up luggage and gear. They hired most of their backline over here along with a tour manager, Val. She left early to get a tire on her van fixed but will meet us at the base gate.
It was so nice having 2 vans as the guys were tired and this allowed everyone to spread out and sleep. Very quiet 1 1/2 hour drive to Mildenhall. Val ended up about 5 mins in front of us and I had Stephanie meet her at the gate and take her van through the search barn since she had all the equipment. Our drivers took us to the stage where we met Samantha and got keys to our rooms. We are lodged in the temporary housing area so it is 2 people to a room. We each have our own bedrooms and share a common area. Not to shabby.
We dropped off luggage then walked back over to the stage for soundcheck. It is a very small base and the walk is only 5 mins. Started soundcheck a little after 1 and finished at 4. We have a hosted dinner at The Galaxy club at 5 for all of us but I lost a few to Taco Bell on the walk back…
Finished dinner, came back and freshened up then time to go back to the stage.. which is in the gym at Northside Fitness Center.  The Assistant Wing Commander came by to say hello and gave us a brief history on the base, (which is closing in the next few years) then Frankie and the guys took the stage exactly at 7 PM.
He does a fantastic and entertaining show. The production was awesome too. Everybody was very pleased 🙂
He ended the show around 8 and then came out and signed autographs and took pictures. I was very impressed with how respectful and appreciative he is. Took his time talking to everyone and shaking their hand.
Back at lodging and we have decided to leave an hour earlier than originally planned. Frankie has another performance at the O2 tomorrow evening but they threw an autograph session on him at 12:30 PM up there. So hopefully we will be on the road back by 9 AM.
Very thankful I was able to be apart of this tour. Everyone that we have been working with here has been super nice along with Frankie and his guys.
ok..shutting it down for tonight!