Cyberless In Seattle (Updated)

We didn’t have access to the internet while we were in Seattle, hence the hiatus in our live broadcast. But we flew in to San Francisco this evening after an amazing weekend in grunge-tastic Seattle.

Thankfully (and disappointingly) the BBC weather forecast for Seattle and SeaTac airport was awry: we had no snow; we had no rain. The weather was familarly Scottish: overcast and cold. Our reception there, from both Team Lothian and Team Powell, was quite the opposite.

But not, however, by the airport security team. I’d foolishly left my Swiss Army Knife in my hand-luggage bag which, of course, got picked up on the x-ray. I felt so foolish, but the security guy was really cool about it all. I had three options: (1) check my baggage in to the hold, (2) have my knife destroyed, or (3) mail it back to where we were staying in SF. After some deliberation with Jane I took option three, and I was given an envelope onto which to write the address of the guesthouse. And a pen. Then I legged it down an escalator, past baggage reclaim to the US Post Office. Except it wasn’t what I was expecting. In the UK if it says US Post Office it implies that there will be humans there, not a massage great big, automated vending machine that sells a million different types of stamps in small packages. I took a guess, fed in a $5 bill, punched in the co-ordinates for the stamp I wanted and soon was legging it back up the corridor towards security. Did I mention I had only 15 minutes to do all of this in?

The second time I went through security I was stopped again. This time my belt had set off the door-frame metal detector. But why hadn’t it been set off the first time I went through? Surely this was worrying. If my belt had been snuck through the first time but not the second time, what else was being smuggled through security undetected? The flight was uneventful: we boarded; we sat; the plane took off; we sat some more; the plane landed; we disembarked.

Jane and I were picked up in his Honda van from the airport on Saturday afternoon by cousin Gary Lothian and driven to his house in north Seattle, where we met his lovely wife (I know they read this blog!) Megan, and her companion dog. They have an amazing house, filled with books, music and laughter; just our place. Gary is also a Tom Waits fan, so we listening to some Waits as sung by an all female group, the name of which escapes me. We drank and nibbled, and chatted and laughed. It was so good to meet them, such a delight to make a personal connection with family on the other side of the world and to get along with them so easily.

It was easy to see that we were related when the rest of the group arrived about 90 minutes after they were supposed to. The Late Lothian family meet The Late Saunders family. We were joined by John Lothian, James Lothian and family, and Shari. The drinking continued; more nibbles arrived; and the conversation flowed. Photographs were shared and new ones taken. Far too soon people had to leave, and shortly after the house was emptied Gary drove us the 3.3 miles north to Edmonds and deposited us with my old friend from National Youth Choir days: Mark T. Powell.

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Gareth Saunders

I’m Gareth J M Saunders, 52 years old, 6′ 4″, father of 3 boys (including twins). Enneagram type FOUR and introvert (INFP), I am a non-stipendiary priest in the Scottish Episcopal Church, I sing with the NYCGB alumni choir, play guitar, play mahjong, write, draw and laugh… Former Scrum master at Safeguard Global, Sky and Vision/Cegedim. Former web architect and agile project manager at the University of St Andrews and previously warden at Agnes Blackadder Hall.