Thirteen, fourteen and……homeward bound

An early start to miss the breakfast queues at The Edinburgh Larder and success! We were the first people in there. It’s not often we’re ahead of the rush so a small moment of smug satisfaction.

We debated what to do. Kim was feeling festivalled out while John had just got started.  Feeling fortified by breakfast we headed back to the venue of last nights final show to watch Three Men in a Boot present ‘A Sketchy History’. In post-apocalyptic Britain, ruled by Chanceller Sturgeon, they re-wrote history from the dawn of man. in less than an hour. We learned about the early story of Neanderthals and the Victoria Sponge as well as Trump’s involvement in building the Great Wall of China, Hadrians’s Wall and the Berlin Wall.
With 15 minutes between shows it was a stressful walk down the Royal Mile. Suitcases, huge crowds and lots of Street Performers really don’t mix.
Next stop was The City Art Center for Canvas No. 9…..a satire about modern art.  
We arrived late for the show staged on the top floor. It was already in full flow when we came barrelling out of the lift right into the middle of it. We had officially performed in our own Fringe spectacular!


Canvas No. 9 was a satire on art critics and modern art and only lasted 25 minutes. It’s fairly amazing how engaging the short performance was from a small theatre group from Leicester.

Free Fringe to too much Fringe…

We ventured out for dinner and found a lovely traditional Scottish restaurant called Howies and debated what to do to keep us awake until our final show at 11. Booking a show that late had seemed a good idea yesterday!

We thought we’d head for the 99 Comedy Club and take a chance that we could get into the free stand up show. We’d heard queues for Free Fringe could be enormous and the quality of shows poor – we were feeling brave.  We went up two flights of stairs and found ourselves in a cavern-like room with a granite ceiling, not something you see every day…. We saw three comedians who are quite famous, if only we could remember their names!! It was well worth a donation,


Our final show tonight was Adrian Gray and his 007 conspiracy theory! Hmm, not sure if we saw a talented young actor or someone with delusions of his own ability. As with all Conspiracy theories the plot was weak and we never did see 007 covered in Cheese. Of course we completely convinced by his theory that Unilever has more than one lever…….it didn’t get better than that!

From book loving to jazz….

We hit John’s magic 10 shows by 5pm so as Team GB are doing so well in the Olympics he feels we should do the same and he’s now moved the goalposts and we’re busily planning more……as long as they’re free!


The morning started with breakfast at The Edinburgh Larder and, despite it being only 9am, we had to queue for a table.  It was well worth it, ingredients are organic and the cafe is recognised for ‘slow food’, the cooked breakfast was fanatastic so back there tomorrow.
After breakfast it was a walk up to Edinburgh Castle. The Castle is amazing and it was interesting to see it up close after learning a smidgen of its history on yesterday’s tour. It seems a shame that the event seating created in the  Castle approach obscures the impact. We thought it might be temporary for the Tattoo although it looked fairly permanent up close.
Writers Museum


Our first ‘show’ was The Book Lovers Tour, starting outside the Writers Museum, tucked round the back of The Royal Mile (which was heaving at 11am). We set off at a brisk pace to the Southside where tourists don’t go unless lost. Most literary figures were clustered around the Medical School and University. We saw the birthplace of Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson, learned about the rivalry between Walter Scott and Mark Twain. Apparently Mark Twain blamed Scott for the American Civil War.
We wandered past the famous cafe where JK Rowling went to write the early chapters of Harry Potter.


Interestingly, we had stopped there for a cuppa yesterday and completely missed the plaque.
The next show felt like miles to walk but did provide our first glimpse of Arthur’s Seat. I’m not sure how we’d missed it before, it towers over the city! We definitely need to come back and be tourists rather than festival goers, there’s so much we haven’t got time to see. We’re here for the Festival so that’s what we’ll do!!
Our second show of the day was in yet another church hall and was a satirical comedy written by Tom Basden titled ‘Holes’ about four people stranded, on a desert island, after a plane crash. Cleverly done with very few props and quite entertaining.
A very brisk walk back to the Old Town for John Hunt at The Jazz Bar. John has been waiting for this all week, and it didn’t disappoint. John Hunt was fantastic, the cellar venue was packed and the only missing ingredient was the fug of cigarette smoke.


Our next booked show isn’t until 11pm tonight so John’s dozing in the apartment while I try and find something for us to do to keep us awake until then. The Edfringe app is brilliant at helping us to plan and get us to the venues.
Apologies for rubbish pictures, it seems rude to take them during performances in the venues and we keep forgetting to do ‘scenic’ which is a shame because the city is stunning.

From Knowing EU to Mark Watson….

Our first evening show was called ‘Knowing EU’ a political comedy on the Referendum result. We were treated to a Powepoint show, from an Aussie EU funding expert, educating us on EU facts interspersed with very bad jokes designed to insult every nationality in the EU. To be fair, he warned us about the jokes…..

With 4 hours to spare, we sat in the courtyard outside the Surgeons Hall venue and booked two more shows at the same venue… seems very lazy but neither of us fancied the long walk back to the new town.
Next show was ‘Biscuits (still) included’ and they were…. Chocolate chip cookies!   A one woman show from a comedian/writer/poet and a nice gentle way to spend an hour. John’s view: ‘The Fringe at its best’.
This was followed by Kim’s choice – ‘The Cucumber Crime’ a very hammy farce. John declined to comment on it but farcical predictability always makes Kim giggle.
For our final show of the day it was back to The Pleasance Courtyard to see Mark Watson in a show titled ‘I’m not Here’ loosely based on travelling to Australia with an invalid passport. He was fantastic and we both laughed from start to finish. We’d definitely see him again and he’s been the highlight of our trip, so far.


Old Town Tour, Arthur Smith and bubble wrap

Our day started with an early breakfast at The Thistle Stop Cafe. We are suckers for a bad pun! John tried porridge which wasn’t a good idea, it was made with water. Kim of course went for a traditional cooked breakfast including Haggis. We had booked a 10am walking tour and met our guide, Gareth the Welshman, at the foot of the castle in glorious sunshine and had a whistlestop tour of the history of Edinburgh’s Old Town.


Although, let’s be clear, the Old Town in places in newer than the new town which isn’t that new!  Confused we were…….in fact we still are.

We learned about George Heriot who was jeweller and money lender to Queen Anne – a clever business model to sell her the jewels then lend her money against them. He left the money to found the magnificent George Heriot school to educate orphans and the poor. Now it’s one of the top fee paying schools in the UK. A far cry from its roots. We also heard the story of James Barry – you’ll have to look that one up, it’s fascinating.
The tour ended in Princes Street Gardens, the boundary between old and new. Apparently covenants going back to 1750 mean that building on the south side of Princes Street is forbidden. The wealthy of 18th century Edinburgh New Town didn’t want their view across the valley spoiled. Bad news for Waverley Station that wants to build a couple of retail floors above the platforms. It’ll be interesting to see how long Edinburgh is able to hold onto its Unesco Heritage Site status. Will historic importance or financial greed win?
There are posters and adverts everywhere, the choice is overwhelmingly. There’s also a sense of guilt when you’re handed a flyer for a show, by someone desperately trying to promote it, and you have no intention of going.


Just time for tea and cake at the National Gallery before heading off to Arthur Smith and mindlessness. Arthur Smith in a skin tight body suit is an image that we stay with us!


We spent an hour learning the art of mindlessness. All you need is to breathe, put your pants on the right way and burst bubble wrap. You just have to love a show that gives you bubble wrap to pop – even Matt would have loved that one!
Three ‘shows’ down, only another seven to go to meet John’s challenge. There is a chance we’ll be counting the Queen’s coach and free fireworks in the tally.

Festival goers! Us? Who’d have thought it!

John has a view that one should arrive in Edinburch by train, reality is that it’s a lot cheaper to fly so Easy Jet it was. We arrived in a beautifully sunny Edinburgh yesterday. A fantastic journey from the airport on the top of a double decker bus but not as good as the train.

We’re staying in a small apartment right on The Royal Mile. It’s down a dark alley with a winding granite staircase. There are lovely high ceilings and big sash windows. Absolutely stunning if you could see further than two foot out of any window! The joys of Old Town living!


Pulling the suitcase up the hills to find the apartment wore John out but no time for a snooze, we were straight out to our first show. A Capella group in a converted Church in the new town. The walk there had been lovely, through grand residential streets with views of the Forth. The group, All The Kings Men, were Very clever and full of energy but we were both glad the show was only an hour. We decided A Capella was ok for about 3 songs!
We found ourselves in a small basement restaurant called Belted for dinner, which is recommended if only for the cow on wheels outside! Home grown burgers were on offer with a selection of beers and great friendly service to a backdrop of the Olympics.
We ummed and Ahmed what to do next. John says we need to do at least 10 shows before we come home. One down, 9 to go! Does it count if you walk past venues, Kim wondered?
There are buskers everywhere and The Royal Mile is full of street artists. We saw some clever juggling as well as listening to a very clever guitarist singing satires on American politics.


Our evening ended with us joining the crowd at the end of Lawnmarket, waiting for the Tattoo to finish. Not only did we get to see the Queen’s coach, we also had a great (free!) view of the fireworks. Apparently the whole Tattoo leaves past Lawnmarket but we were too tired to stay any longer.