Just a simple text message. Six letters – Eagles – sent to 81155. That’s all it took and I had won two tickets to see my all-time favourite band in San Francisco on the 11th April (my all-time favourite date) next year – in my dreams! Part of Radio 2’s Rockin’ in the USA competition for Children in Need, the prize included Business Class flights to and from San Francisco staying for three nights in the Intercontinental – all expenses paid. As I listened to a montage of Eagles hits, I was already there, convinced that my phone was going to ring. Alarm set for 7.30am, I went to sleep dreaming of sunshine, cheesecloth and Lyin’ Eyes realising that I would have to toss a coin to choose which one of my children would accompany me to Hotel California leaving the other behind embittered and forever subjected to the photographs and memories of the trip of a lifetime he/she so narrowly missed … San Francisco was the location of Mrs Doubtfire, for goodness sake! Oh well, perhaps I would win the lottery before April enabling me to buy another ticket for the unlucky one who called ‘Heads’ – doesn’t ‘Tails’ always win?
No! It couldn’t be 7.30am already? Did I really want to see the Eagles that badly? I’ve got all their records and I did see them – well, more specifically, heard them – at Murrayfield in 1996. Mere dots in the distance, we hadn’t a hope in hell of lip-reading but I shall never forget the crowd’s rendition of Lyin’ Eyes as we, successfully, drowned out Glenn Frey! Lucky to see/hear him, regardless. For one who always keeps her ticket stubs, however, that one is nowhere to be seen. No doubt, I’ll come across it one day– along with those of The Monkees and The Bee Gees – as I while away the hours in the home surrounded by my life’s memorabilia. Better be plenty of room for storage!
No way was I going to ignore that phonecall so, clearing my throat, I switched on the radio and pondered on the unearthly hour. How on earth does Zoe manage those 6.30am starts every morning? She must get up about 4am. Is she mad? Think about it, though. She’ll just roll out of bed, be driven to work in her jammies if she so desires, bung on the headphones and blether away in the gaps between records – well, tracks, then! She has amazing guests, live music in the studio and a lot of fun by all accounts … and all for something like half a million per year! Perfect. Jealous? Of course. I could be driven to work in my jammies – complete with no make up and hair at right angles – and happily chat into a microphone for three hours. There are those who would be very grateful if I could do just that as not only would it get it all out of my system but they could switch me off! Let me not undermine Zoe, however. In truth, she makes it sound simple. Friendly, natural, self-deprecating and ready to laugh, she is chatting to me – and therein lies her talent.
So … following the News, the phonecall was imminent. Charged, with ringer on, I knew Zoe would ask me what I was doing or whether I was getting ready for work. Thing is, how long would she have while I explained my backstory? How could I précis my seven year legal battle, my blog, my plans for the future? Should I tell her I was still in bed? Then there was the problem that the winner (and his/her plus one) was to be invited down to the studio next Friday morning … We would never make it as Thursday is Becca’s removal date from the cottage (resist!) at Glenalmond. Typical. Never mind. I’m sure we could make it another Friday – only sorry that James Blunt has already been on. There was nothing for it but to play it by ear.
This was it. Zoe was dialling. Calm, now, I waited for my screen to light up … but it never did! Instead, the dulcet tones of Lauren from Bognor emanated from the radio as the reality of winning my tickets to see the Eagles in San Francisco – on my all-time favourite date, 11th April – sank in. Why? Another blow for mankind – well, me! Tailor-made for me, I was there, in San Francisco, listening to the soundtrack of my life – Tequila Sunrise, The Last Resort. That was my heaven. It should have been me!
Funny that. The gift of hope. Invaluable. ‘After all, tomorrow is another day.’ It gave Scarlett the strength to carry on in Gone With The Wind and I, for one, subscribe to her mindset wholeheartedly. One must never stop believing that there is something good just around the corner. How I have been mocked, by some, for buying the odd lottery ticket or entering ITV competitions but, in doing so, it ignites my imagination and my dreams; the possibility of ‘what if …’. Where would one be without that? So, I was robbed of my chance to see the Eagles, live, in California but the fun it gave me just contemplating it, together with the hope that it might just come true – well, I wouldn’t have missed it.
It is Remembrance Sunday today; a day of reflection and great pride but, moreover, one of gratitude to the millions who gave their lives so that we might never lose that gift of hope.
‘As the stars that shall be bright when we are dust,
Moving in marches upon the heavenly plain;
As the stars that are starry in the time of our darkness,
To the end, to the end, they remain.’
For the Fallen, Laurence Binyon
This is Trish, signing off.