Eco warriors on tour
8 April, 2018
Helen sends dispatches from the front in the war against plastic…
“Wednesday morning saw another early wake up from most of us and I decided to take advantage of the beautiful morning sunshine and have a wander by the Savannah river. I pretty much had the place down by the wharves to myself and was surprised to see a dolphin frolicking in the water! It reminded me of the recent BBC series Blue Planet, a frequent topic of conversation on this trip as we’ve all been worried about the amount of plastic consumed on tour and then dumped in the oceans. It was seriously affecting our eco-warrior credentials. I realise how hypocritical that sounds when we’re spending two weeks clocking up the air miles! With that in mind I met Ben at the lovely Cafe M for breakfast where we smugly ate yoghurt and pastries on real plates and without a plastic fork in sight. There has been something of a competition going in within the group for who can claim the crown as the Green King of the group. Three of us have brought our own reusable coffee cups from home, a couple have gone veggie for the tour, but the prize so far has to go to Mr Dawes who has brought his own box of reusable cutlery all the way from the UK, courtesy of his Californian wife!
“It can sometimes feel like an uphill battle though. Nick stepped straight off the transatlantic flight to Newark and went in search of coffee. He asked the woman behind the desk for a coffee in his KeepCup and handed it to her. He was disappointed when she presented him with the coffee in a disposable cup and asked whether he’d like to pour it in himself… Other low points have been individually wrapped apples and hotel breakfast buffets in which they insist you take a new plastic plate for every course! It’s a good thing to get competitive about and we still have long term ambitions to manage a totally plastic-free tour at some point.
“After breakfast we hopped into our two SUVs, turned them onto economy mode, and set off on the four hour drive to Davidson. This was our fourth visit to what really has started to feel like our American home! It was a gorgeous sunny afternoon and you could smell spring in the air.
“Rehearsing for the afternoon in the light and airy Davidson Methodist Chapel was an-almost relaxing experience, and it was great to be joined by some of our old friends from the town who got a ‘behind the scenes’ experience of sitting in on the rehearsal.
“Dinner was provided with classic Southern hospitality by Chuck and Jennifer. After an excellent night’s sleep at the home of the irrepressible Mary, our Davidson mother, Becky and I headed up to the church for another few hours of rehearsal followed by the long drive to Richmond. My carload decided to blitz on through to Richmond and find dinner when we arrived. I did some last-minute research and lucked out on finding a fantastic fish restaurant near the hotel. The food was fantastic and Matthew managed to carry out some fine anatomical examination of the fish of the day.
“The next morning I was delighted to discover a split bin in my bedroom for recycling!
“Then decided I really ought to get out more, so went for a morning explore of some of Richmond’s lovely grand old buildings and the picturesque river.
“Our concert was in the Cathedral of the Sacred Heart, an impressive building with a lovely warm acoustic. The audience were similarly warm and it was a fun first outing for the full version of our new programme, Queen of Muses. We were grateful for the fantastic organisation and welcome from Daniel Sanez and his team!”