Saturday, July 11, 2009

Blessing Blackburn ~ Installment 5

“And it shall be that every living thing that moves, wherever the rivers go, will live. There will be a very great multitude of fish, because these waters go there; for they will be healed, and everything will live wherever the river goes.” (Ezekiel 47:9)

Saturday, 7/11/09
11:00 am in Brooklyn, New York

Did I say bye bye Blackburn? But Blackburn has followed us to Brooklyn!

Perhaps most important to all of our frugal Scottish readers (I know what you’re thinking…she’s so redundant), our T-Mobile bill has arrived. For the first four days of sporadic international calling, both incoming and outgoing, the total cost including taxes was about $55.00 for all of our calls. The ultimate redundancy is that I called Del four times, costing $0.99 each on my section of the family plan bill, and when he answered these calls he was charged another $0.99 each on his section of the bill. The basic problem is that Del is only half Scottish. EXHopefieldroad had warned me about this some time ago when he wrote, “Is he only half careful with money?”

The other T-Mobile cost was the $8.00 charge for sixty minutes of wi-fi at Edinburgh Airport, with only half of that actually used. On the other hand, the T-Mobile wi-fi at JFK was free, and the internet connections in the greater Blackburn metropolitan area were free-to-ultra-cheap. We’ll have to return to Scotland just to use up the rest of that $8.00. Can’t let anything go to waste, can we Darling?

Also spanning the globe from Blackburn to Brooklyn were the newspaper articles. We had stopped in at the weekly West Lothian Courier office in Bathgate, and they had sent a photographer and reporter the long distance of a mile or two to interview us at the Happy Valley. When we returned to Brooklyn, we saw the article online and were pleased that it was almost entirely accurate. Then the Daily Record in Glasgow picked up that article and added a few things from this blog , and we gladly spotted their report online as well. The Sunday Mirror of London had also sent a photographer, and the reporter had interviewed us by telephone. Their article was generally positive, and we appreciate their intentions, but we must say that we almost didn’t recognize ourselves in the description – quite a makeover! Ummmm….no, we’re not organizing tours; no, thousands of people didn’t contact us; no, merchandise hasn’t been approved; no, we don’t expect fans to be queuing round the block for tours; no, we never call her SuBo. We’re just two regular people who considered that in our own little way we might see the village, share the experience with fans, encourage other respectful visitors, and try to open a connection for fans to honor Susan by tangibly expressing their generosity toward her home village. We completely funded ourselves, and will always act on a 100 percent voluntary basis, without compensation, in any matters related to blessing Blackburn.

One of our internet fan friends in London went right out and purchased a copy of the Sunday Mirror and generously offered to mail it to us! On Monday, she walked the long distance to her post office, mailed the article, and we received it only two days later in Brooklyn! We can mail something to New Jersey in the same amount of time! The print article has many more pictures (eight) than the online article (one), and the whole effect is really quite cute. The major title is “Wish Su Were Here” and our little picture is perched at the bottom of the collage of photos and text. The Sunday Mirror article generated other reports and inquiries, and I was rather busy addressing those matters for a few days, trusting that the results will be all good for Susan and Blackburn.

Meanwhile, Susan was finishing her BGT tour in grand style, Simon was praising the first song on her CD, and a new sensation was developing as virtual met literal! Back at the Happy Valley in Blackburn, we had told Jackie about the virtual version of her pub, known online as Susan’s Pub on the main YouTube channel with the 70,000,000 views (now almost 71,000,000). Well, on Monday, Jackie, yes that Jackie, literally joined the online conversation! She is the first known celebrity visitor to speak up at the virtual pub! The regular pubsters became hysterically rabid with excitement and occasionally green with envy and were queuing up for virtual rabies shots and empathetic counseling, while also managing to inundate Jackie with welcomes and questions! Poor Jackie! A televised football match between the Rangers and the Celtics would be easier to handle at her pub than the eager bombardment of happy fans at the virtual pub! But – bless her heart – dear Jackie has returned several times to chat and answer questions, and the results are being dutifully reported via the pub pals as well as at least one fan site. To show even more appreciation, fans are also subscribing to Jackie’s YouTube channel – jackieakajake – and she is rising in YouTube’s subscription rankings! Soon people will be sending letters to Susan’s house in Blackburn, hoping they will get to Jackie!

Considering this whole Susan Boyle phenomenon, now only three months old, and recalling our special time in Blackburn, I am reminded of another scenario that I have been pondering for a couple of months. Someone promised long ago that a river of fresh water would spring up and flow with ever-increasing depth and power, bringing healing and abundant life to what was bitter and dead. Through one example, like a parable for the nations, we have witnessed such a thing happening in the life of a humble Scottish maiden with a heavenly voice – now with more than 425,000,000 internet views. Dear friends, what seems virtual can become literal when we see by faith. I encourage you to lift up your eyes from your screen and say to Him, “For me, too.”


  1. A fond hello from Buffalo, NY!

    Thank you, thank you, thank you. Walking your walk through the Scottish streets was fantastic.

    Love your journal entries and the subtle little "Susan-isms" you have scattered throughout the journey!

    I am so looking forward to your next installment.

    So many of us are wondering: where is Susan Boyle and what is she doing?

  2. What a wonderful description of Susan's hometown. Your writing is not only excellent, but reads like a story with a happy ending. How you remember so many details is amazing. Thank you so much for your hard work.

    Yes, we all love Susan and want the best for her.

    Everyone wants to know where she is right now. I suspect she is either back in London or at homw for a much needed rest.

    Also looking forward to you next blog.

  3. Thanks for this clarifying (as well as funny) write up, BB.
    Marie Ursula

  4. thank you so much, leslie, for being so faithful in keeping us updated with blessing blackburn. that humble "scottish maiden with a heavenly voice" is the best way to describe our susan.

    God Bless you real good!!

  5. I would like to know how to send a letter to Susan in Blackburn. All I have been told is to send it to her in Blackburn, West Lothian, Scotland. Having been there yourself would you know if that is enough to get it there?

  6. This is not a complete address for Susan, but it's the one we used a couple of months ago.

    Susan Boyle
    West Lothian
    EH47 7_ _
    Great Britain

  7. Hello from So.Abington Twp, Pa. Enjoyed your trip so much...discovered your blog on FanClub USA..thankyou for the sharing. I am especially consoled to know that people are praying for Susan. She is a very devout lady and I am concerned for her in the environment she has chosen to enter. I wish her well in her career but am much more concerned for her spiritual protection. I pray much to the Good Sheperd (sp?) for her. Gosh, I worry about the cat, too...they suffer much from separation anxiety...I hope she has her.

  8. Love this blog! And I love Susan Boyle! The vibrations in her voice have tremendous healing qualities. In the moment of our greatest need, as a people.......she appears. No pedestal for this woman. She is one of us!

    Florida, US

  9. I absolutely love your documentary. I have glimpsed the life of Susan Boyle via your experience, photos and comments. However, I don't understand the title "Blessing Blackburn". Could elaborate what that means? Thank you.


  10. Hi, squeaky_bird! Blessing Blackburn is mostly summed up in the appreciative letters that people wrote to Blackburn residents, and in the discussions that we had with Blackburn leaders regarding tangible ways for global fans to honor Susan through generosity toward her village. The blog doesn't mention many specifics at this point, because we want to respect the due deliberations of others besides ourselves.

  11. Thanks for responding. Niall O'Dowd linked your blog and if Niall thinks you're "cool" then so do I. I have a lot of respect for him and his writings.

    Anyway, I guess the concept of blessing Blackburn "boyles" down to bringing good things to Blackburn. It's unfortunate that the tabloids twisted everything. Glad you straightened it all out.

    I wish you and Del all the best.