I am wakened early by the sound of a plane overhead, engines screaming at full power as it leaves Omaha airport, which is a perfect reminder that I have to be at the Eppley Field soon to move on to the next leg of my tour.

There is not much to prepare this morning as I had efficiently packed last night – so efficiently that I forgot to leave any clothes out to wear today.  I liberate a pair of jeans, a shirt and a sweater, before showering and getting myself ready for a day of travel.

As I drive through the dark deserted streets of Omaha I think that is remarkably like Worcester, Mass, which oddly is where my journey will take me today. The run to the airport is not a long one and in no time I am pulling into the car rental returns garage.  Suddenly, however, I realise that I have no memory of who I rented the Sonata from, and have to scrabble around for the little wallet of paperwork to find out.  Thrifty.

I pull up in the appropriate lane and, as there are no agents on duty at this hour of the morning, simply drop the key in a large bin provided for that purpose.  I walk to the little bus stop to in order wait for the shuttle that will take me into the terminal, but no wait is necessary as the bus pulls up instantly.

My check-in is swift, as is the security check and all of the extra time that I have built into my schedule to allow for potential delays is completely superfluous, meaning I have a long wait before boarding.

The first priority, of course, is breakfast and I go to the little café, where I have sat often in past years, and order a croissant and a muffin.


There is a beautiful sunrise outside the window, and the terminal has a golden glow to it as I eat.


When I have dragged out the meal for as long as possible I relocate a few yards to gate A3 and start to send a few emails home.

As the time for boarding approaches I realise that I am alone at the gate which means one of two things:  a) I am going to have a very quiet flight today, or b) the gate has been changed and I missed the announcement.  The latter seems more likely and a quick check on the departures board confirms the fact.  I have been wrapped up in my own little world, completely oblivious to what is going on around me.  Fortunately, though, I have not missed the flight!

The first leg of my journey takes me to Detroit, where after a long walk through Terminal A, I have a very short wait before boarding again to take me to Boston.  In one of those strange quirks of coincidence there are a lot of people on this second flight who had started their journey this morning in Omaha with me.  In fact I am sat across the aisle from a  family who were in the check-in line in front of me in the early hours of the morning.

The second flight takes us over Lake Erie, and then across up-state New York where I get to see the first dustings of snow on this year’s trip.  We fly over the finger lake region of the state, and somewhere beneath us, I imagine, is the Watkins Glenn race track that I visited a couple of years ago.  The journey takes us on towards Massachusetts and soon we are beginning our initial approach to Logan Airport, Boston.

The captain has been positively chatty during this flight, acting more like a tour guide than an airline pilot, but as we begin to descend over the sea he makes an announcement which I find rather alarming, for although we must still be over 10,000 feet in the air he informs us that ‘we will be on the ground momentarily!’

The airport at Boston is a familiar one to me, and as soon as I have collected my bags I am on the shuttle bus that takes me to the car rental plaza.  As I will be keeping this car for the next few weeks, and the potential for snow and ice during that period is high, I have asked to be furnished with an all wheel drive machine to keep me safe.  In the garage I am shown to a row of cars and told to take my pick – and the smartest among them is another Hyundai, a Tucson this time.   I pair my phone to the entertainment system, so that I can continue listening to Goldfinger as I drive, and then make my way into subterranean Boston (the city’s road system is made up of a vast network of tunnels).

Once back in the daylight I drive past the ramshackled stands of the Fenway Park baseball ground (home to the Red Sox), and see the signs to the Perkins School for the Blind, where Charles Dickens visited in 1843, and where I have performed on a number of occasions in the past.

The journey to Worcester takes less than an hour (although my ex-pat SatNav system takes me a rather strange route), and soon I pull up in the car park of the Beechwood Hotel with its circular tower reminiscent of a modern Windsor Castle.

My room is very large and grand, with a comfortable seating area in front of a fire, a coffee table and a work desk.


On one of the tables is a beautifully wrapped plate of fruit and cheese, accompanied by a bottle of wine.  A sticker on the wrapping proclaims that this amenity is for a ‘Platinum VIP’.  I feel very important!


I unpack my costumes and hang them in the wardrobe and nibble at the cheese and crackers as I didn’t have time for any lunch today, but soon the phone rings and I am chatting to a reporter from The Portland Press about a performance that I am giving in the city on Monday.

As soon as the interview is over I get changed and then wait for Gary Vaillancourt to arrive, as he has very kindly offered to take me to an early dinner this evening, and at 5.45 a call comes from the front desk informing me of his arrival.

It is good to back here for, like so many other event sponsors on the tour, Gary and his wife Judi have becomes close friends.

As we drive to the restaurant (111 in the heart of Worcester), Gary Judi and I catch up on each other’s news: they have now moved into their new house that was still being built to their own design last year, and they have a new grandson, Charles (what a good name!)

We talk about the film ‘The Man Who Invented Christmas’, which they also watched on the opening night, and greatly enjoyed, and about our upcoming events over the next two days..

The restaurant is superb, and I devour a delicious lamb shank, so perfectly cooked that the meat just falls from the bone.  The atmosphere is loud and buzzy and it is apparent that the season for Christmas parties (or possibly late Thanksgiving ones) is in full swing.

It is a lovely evening, and having finished our dinner we adjourn to the Beechwood where we have a nightcap before Gary and Judi leave to drive back to Sutton and I return to my room, where I watch a film, before realising that I am falling asleep.

I take myself to my Platinum VIP bathroom and from there to my Platinum VIP bed, where I drift off into a Platinum VIP night’s sleep.