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Annie’s Big Adventure

Annie and I have been travelling around Britain looking at colleges.

My delightful step-daughter wants to continue her theatre education abroad. Not acting – whew! Her future lies in stage management. We’ve been to Glasgow, Cardiff and London.

I had to miss the latest events on the Kitten Academy live stream. The newest kittens were born while we were in the air.

In Glasgow, we had an amazing three-hour tour of the Conservatoire – music, drama, ballet and opera are all under one roof. We saw theatres and rehearsal rooms, sound and lighting systems, wardrobe and props departments. There’s a whole room for hats. We even saw where the sets are made.

It’s Annie’s top choice.

We stayed the weekend in Glasgow. Annie said it’s friendly, like Dublin. The weather was awful, but we did some damp sightseeing. The Necropolis is a fantastical array of lugubrious sculptures on a hill over-looking the city. Unfortunately, the Cathedral beside it was closed when we got there. So was the beautiful Chamber of Commerce building on George Square.

I thought we were having a lovely spontaneous trip, our Big Adventure, but as we wandered around yet again looking for somewhere to eat, Annie commented that it was the most unplanned trip she’d ever been on. Stage managers are so organised!

Panicked, I marched us into the next restaurant I saw, which just happened to be extremely expensive.

We did get to Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum and met my sister and family who live nearby.

Annie routinely blanks out anything to do with health, but I was interested to hear about the new Super-Hospital in Glasgow. It cost £1 billion but has had constant problems with over-crowding. Apparently, it has fewer inpatient beds than the three hospitals it replaced. That sounds a lot like our new National Children’s Hospital.

Then off to Cardiff: more rain, another Conservatoire and an interview. Annie liked that the course emphasises touring with theatrical productions. She liked Cardiff too.

Afterwards, we had a nice relaxing afternoon tea, then decided to look at Cardiff Castle. Oh dear! It closed just as we got there. My reputation was in tatters.

In Cardiff the health news was about lost NHS correspondence. Over 500,000 hospital discharge letters and test results were never sent to GPs; for several years they sat in a warehouse instead. I bet there are lots of GPs wondering if there’s an Irish warehouse somewhere with all their missing letters.

The next Big Adventure was London, staying with old friends of mine for two interviews. Annie doesn’t know London at all. I did my geriatric medicine training there, but I haven’t been back for years.

It was really a business trip, but I was stung by the “unplanned” comment and the various tourist mishaps. I discussed lists of attractions, how to get to Royal Palaces, the British Museum and the Tower of London.

Annie was keen to see The Lion King. I wasn’t thrilled at the idea, but it’s her adventure, so I went online looking at pricey tickets. But it was hard to choose a matinee or evening show not knowing when she’d be free. I decided to book on the day.

On the morning of the Guildhall interview there was devastating news: Cardiff says “No.” Sombrely we headed to the college and got another shock. The interview was all day. That’s right – ALL DAY. The clipboard person raised an eyebrow at my surprise; it was in the email apparently.

I mumbled some explanation and left. In a rage. Feeling murderous. Wondering what else did Annie miss in the email. I had a cathartic rant to my friends about Young People Today and that Stage Managers should practice stage managing their own lives. Etc, etc.

Annie emerged happy and exhausted at 5pm. We did not go to a show. We didn’t do any London sights.

Next day off to Rose Bruford College, outside London. After a tour of modern buildings and a lovely old house, Annie went off for her interview while I sat listening to birdsong and looking out on a park. It was very soothing.

Back home, I caught up with Kitten Academy. Annie checked her emails. Guildhall is asking about Leaving Cert English results. Glasgow wants a questionnaire filled in. Rose Bruford? OMG! They’re offering an unconditional place! Hurray! It’s so exciting! Her mum is in tears in Dublin.

Only Annie remains unmoved. The war is not over, she says. Glasgow is her first choice. The interview is after Easter.

The Big Adventure continues.

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