Sunday, 5 September 2010


Well, I've caught up with all the washing, caught up with harvesting and storing or freezing the vegetables and caught up with weeding the vegetable garden. And I've been enjoying the sunshine we've had this week, taking plenty of time to sit in the garden and read. But today I've woken up to heavy rain, so I've decided to take it easy, stay in bed and write about our trip to Edinburgh.

Beware - this is a long post with lots of photographs. I want to write about our holiday all in one go or I may never get round to finishing it. And I've got lots to write about.

Edinburgh is a fine old city, but I can imagine that it would look very grey and dour for most of the year, especially in poor weather. During the Festival season it's absolutely crammed with visitors and covered in flyers and posters for all the show, not to mention all the costumed and made-up performers heading to and from their shows or staking out the Royal Mile to hand out leaflets about their shows.

This first slideshow is of photographs of Edinburgh. The castle is built on a high hill which bisects the city, with the older part on one side, the newer part on the other. In order to get anywhere in the city you have to climb steep hills, or go up staircases tucked away in narrow alleys. I certainly felt as if I was getting fitter by the minute walking around from show to show!

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There are several Festivals running during August, the Book Festival, the Television Festival, The International Festival and the Fringe Festival and probably some others. The International Festival was the original and the Fringe followed on as more and more performers wanted to take part. The International Festival uses large theatres with large audience capacity and brings in expensive plays, dance groups and musicians from all over the world. The Fringe on the other hand uses venues all over the city ranging from tiny cellars which hold no more than 12 audience members to bar rooms, churches, lecture halls, student bars, hotel rooms, marquees and tents, to name but a few. Anywhere that can be turned into a performance space with the use of a few black curtains and some lights gets used. But performers still come from all over the world.

We travelled up by train with our elder son, which took us about eight hours, and as soon as we arrived at our rented flat we dropped our bags and went straight out again. The place to start is the Royal Mile, which is cordoned off from traffic and taken over by the Fringe Festival. Anyone who isn't performing gathers there to hand out leaflets promoting their own shows, so it's a good place to begin to get a feel for what's going on. There are also several outdoor performance areas with free street shows, dancers, singers, jugglers, magicians, fire eaters, acrobats.

This next slideshow shows just some of the performers seen on the Royal Mile on one walk down there.
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So, what did we get up to in the six days we were there? Hold on to your hats and here's the list, day by day.

Monday           12.30      Alcatraz       A play about the occupants of a single hotel room over the course         of  a year
                         3.15       Piff the Magic Dragon      A magical show for adults
                         8.00       Grupo Corpo        A dance group from Brazil

Tuesday           2.00        Suspicious Package        An interactive show in which the audience (no more than six) played all the parts, and were told what to do via an iPod. We walked around the Grassmarket area of Edinburgh, occasionally meeting with other members of the 'cast' to solve a mystery
                         4.00       Extinguish      A monologue about racism and death. Absolute rubbish, but brilliantly performed
                        7.45       Dr Faustus       A cut down version of the play by Christopher Marolowe
                       10.00      Smoke and Mirrors       A burlesque variety show
Wednesday      In the morning I visited an exhibition of Impressionist paintings at the Scottish Academy of Art
                        2.55      Thought Thief        A mind reader, and we had absolutely no idea how he did any of his tricks
                        6.15      Henry VIII and his Six Wives         A comedy
                        8.30      Nina Conti           A rather rude and extremely funny ventriloquist

Thursday        In the morning I visited another art exhibition of modern art by Martin Creed
                       In the afternoon I went for a walk around Edinburgh
                       4.15       The Way to Keep Him        A Restoration comedy written in 1760
                       7.30        Piano Divalicious             A one woman show by Amy Abler

Friday      11.00       The Cape Academy of Performing Arts         A dance show
                      2.30          Cape Dance Company              Another dance show
                      4.00         Paul Merton and his Impro Chums          An improvisation show along the lines of Whose Line is it Anyway?
                       7.45        Under the Black Light          A play about two women doing the props for a Broadway show

Saturday        1.00         Joyce Grenfell          A Joyce Grenfell impressionist doing some of her songs and sketches
                       3.10        Eric's Tales of the Sea        An ex-sub-mariner telling tales of his life at sea
                       5.00        Edinburgh Tonight        A review chat show with some of the performers from the Fringe
                       8.15        Francis Ruffelle        A singer with a band, nightclub style

And there you have it, 20 shows and 2 art galleries in six days! DH and DS managed even more since they went out at night after I'd gone to bed and in the mornings whilst I was still resting. Without exception we enjoyed all of the shows to a greater or lesser extent; some were brilliant, some okay, the rest in between. But we had a terrific time, and I'd certainly go again.

And now, if you're still with me and can face yet another slideshow, here's one of the Martin Creed exhibition that I went to. I wonder what you'll think of it? I rather enjoyed it.
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If you've stuck with me all the way through this, many, many thanks and I hope you've enjoyed sharing in my Edinburgh Adventures.


Amelia said...

Enjoyed the trip to Edinburgh with you and your camera...only thing you left out was what you ate and where...or perhaps you ate at your flat? The art show had some "interesting" aspects - talent - debatable.

Can certainly tell there was something for everyone.

Kay said...

I really enjoyed that Martin Creed exhibition. That's really creative. I would think that Lego tower would be really, really tempting for somebody to knock over. I'm looking at my marker pens quite differently now.

I can hardly believe your INCREDIBLE schedule!!! Wow! I am totally awed by your energy and ability to get so much done in a trip.

orchidlover said...

What a great time you must have had. No wonder you feel like staying inbed. I would have been exhausted aswell.
Glad you enjoyed yourself

Love and hugs Gina xxx

Candace said...

Wow, what a vacation. Enjoyed the pictures, but I must confess that I don't understand some of the art. I guess that it is seeing beauty in simple things, and if so I think we must all be artists to some degree.

suz said...

thank you so much for sharing your trip! Wow, you certainly accomplished quite a bit in a short time. Funny, but my son and I were talking about Edinburgh this past weekend. It's one of the places we'd like to visit if we go abroad (my son is Scots on his paternal grandmother's side). We should definitely think about going in August! The Martin Creed was quite interesting. I suspect it's definitely a right brain/left brain thing. When I saw the stack of chairs I could hear my art teacher talking about negative space!

Gretchen said...

Sounds like a wonderful, fun time! The photo slideshows were great and what a busy festival schedule you had. Edinburgh is definitely on my list of places to go someday. The terraced buildings and castle are amazing!