The end of the Fringe as we know it?

Thirteen days ago The Times had a front page headline Two weeks to save the Fringe from oblivion, erm, so is this really it for the Fringe?! The chief executive of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society, Shona McCarthy has been asking the Scottish government to lower the two metre rule to one metre in venues to ensure at least some shows will be viable. She said acts that would usually come to Edinburgh in August are already arranging stuff in England because, well, they can. Quite why the two week deadline I can’t figure out, yes time is seriously running out for anything to happen in August, but why by 12th June? Or is that paper emphasising the clock ticking timebomb more than the chief exec?

Is there really a danger that two years without a full-on Fringe will mean the demise of the Edinburgh Fringe? The article states that “an alliance of ten venues recently warned that the Fringe was in danger of sinking without trace”. Oh boy, I know I’ve pondered such a thing, but I’m a top level catastrophist! I keep checking the BBC online news for updates but all I’ve read recently is that the Scottish government intend to extend their temporary emergency powers (that really doesn’t sound promising!). These temporary emergency powers were meant to expire in September but they want them extending until March next year, with an option to extend further until September 2022 if they deem it necessary. Wow. Cautious or controlling? Opposition parties have expressed concern that the government is trying to rush the bill through before the summer recess which means there won’t be time to properly scrutinise the details and fully debate it – call me cynical but I smell something fishy!

I haven’t seen anything that even hints the Sturgeon will agree to cut the two metres down to one. There have been a number of large trial events in England that have had good results, as in only few positive cases found linked to the events. Yes, there are new variants, some that spread quickly but they don’t seem to be as harmful (which come to think of it, way back last year some scientist said that as viruses mutate to survive they become less virulent as part of that survival process). There’s enough evidence to show that one metre distancing is good enough if the rules are followed. Many countries have gone down to one metre and seem to be doing okay, many businesses here are unmanageable and unviable at two metres. If businesses here have to abide by stricter guidelines, then the government could at least give enough assistance to alleviate some of the hardship caused by them.

I’ll leave you with a quote I saw this week from Scotland’s chief medical office, one Dr Gregor Smith, talking to a committee he said, “…. and if you are at one metre your risk is much greater than if you are at two metres ….” No shit, Sherlock! Who’d’ve thunk it! Of course there’s a higher risk, higher, but higher than what? What is the risk now and each day as more people get vaccinated? And much greater? I wonder the percentage that adds the “much”. In times gone by, folk carried snuffboxes about their person, these days we need saltboxes for a ready pinch to hand!

Toodle pip!

Resting on the Nethers

The first Saturday in June, no Meadows Fair again so I headed to the Park and clambered up Raven’s Rock on to the Nether Hill. That is a knackering climb up on a warm day (okay, so warm for Edinburgh so far this year), a lie down was definitely in order. There’s worse places to stretch on and enjoy the sunshine! The occasional breeze was nicely warm, even though overhead there did seem to be a number of dark clouds massing (the rain gods possibly thought, first weekend in June? – we should at least threaten rain).

The Nether Hill is a good place to be still; it’s neighbour Arthur’s Seat is more popular and everyone knows it’s name, but it’s all about getting up there, a quick pic for evidence and back down, busy busy. On Nether Hill I could lay back and watch swallows swooping around and about, the odd crow would enjoy a glide on the thermals. Just a smattering of chatter could be heard wafting over from the Seat and the usual background hum of traffic in the town, but plenty birdsong distracted from them. Oh, and there was a piper playing somewhere in the distance for a while. That’s how pipers should be heard – at a distance!

As I lay there it occurred to me to share with you just what I could see at that moment, so, a head turn to the right and it’s Arthur’s Seat, and above me some rather worrying clouds (glad to say they all just moved along without shedding their loads).

Sitting up I could see the Castle and the Palace. One of those, wow, and I live here moments. If I’d stood up and turned left I could have made out the top of another castle, I didn’t, I stayed sitting marvelling at the views. The two observatories on Calton Hill and Blackford Hill, the three bridges spanning the Forth, well, just bits of them, Cramond Island with the causeway just visible. For all that humans can make things hard and drain the joy out of life, seeing my adopted town spread out before me always gives me a sense of wonder and hope. All the lives that have been lived here, are being lived here, weaving into the rich, colourful tapestry that is Edinburgh. I may feel on the fringe of it all at times, but there’s no place I’d rather live.

Aaand, back in the room. I eventually shifted my butt and toodled over the hill down to Dunsapie Loch, where much to my surprise, a heron was busy fishing on the road side of the loch (they usually stay on the far side, well away from people). I’ll leave you with the view over to Fife as I headed down and the heron doing his best to ignore me.

Toodle pip!

Three films and a lot of haar

What a cracking weekend it’s been! I don’t think the weather gods realised it was a bank holiday weekend, way too sunny! Well, sunny once the sun burnt off the haar each day. Sunday morning I enjoyed a ramble up into a haar swathed park, no sign of Arthur’s Seat at the top, total white, er, grey out. It was almost noon before the Seat was visible and the sky blue, even then, looking down at Portobello the haar was still clinging to the coastline.

Joys! The cinemas are open again. Just as well I had a ganders last Wednesday evening, Judas and the Black Messiah was showing just one more day, phew, ticket booked. Two more films caught my attention, Raya and the Last Dragon and Demon Slayer: Mugen Train, tickets booked, god, I love having an Unlimited pass. So, just like the old normal I had to trot quite smartly to get to the cinema on time on Thursday afternoon! Even with the social distancing of empty rows and seats, as I often go when films have been on a while it looked almost normal to me – apart from all the masks.

Judas and the Black Messiah is a stunning film, so glad I caught it. Daniel Kaluuya was brilliant, now I see why he received so many nominations and won many awards for his portrayal of Fred Hampton. Lakeith Stanfield as Bill O’Neal had me constantly wondering how he’d play the situations O’Neal found himself in; the use of the real Bill O’Neal in interview and other historical from the time really brought up how real this all actual was. I found it a rivetting and chilling film, so much to take in and digest.

Saturday morning I was back in for Raya and the Last Dragon, a very different movie! I actually knew very little about it but hey, it’s Disney and there’s a dragon. There’s also a strange creature called Tuk Tuk, a giant armadilloey type thing, useful as a mode of transport for our heroine Raya and also her cute animal sidekick (a Disney staple); and in a quick googling sess, I discovered he’s voiced by the excellent Alan Tudyk! That guy has done so much stuff, looks like he’s Disney’s new version of Pixar’s John Ratzenberger, just more animal noises! The dragon’s voice wasn’t what I expected but my initial surprise was soon forgotten as I sat back and enjoyed the visuals and some fairly quick, funny dialogue. There were a few gripes but overall it was a fine film; the whole “trust” thing running through it may really confuse some kids, parents may find themselves in some tricky discussions afterwards.

Saturday night and back again for Demon Slayer: Mugen Train and this time I knew nothing, except that it’s anime and according to a couple of reviews it wouldn’t be too tricky to pick up without seeing the previous tv series. They were right, I just went with it, the best way with Japanese films in general! Another visual treat, very different for a newcomer to watch. I’d gone to a subtitled showing as dubbed versions are generally not as good in my opinion. Would I go see more anime films? Yeah, probably.

By the time I was walking home from the cinema the pubs were shut obviously not long shut as there were plenty of folk about, many steaming drunk! The Grassmarket was seeming more like it’s old self, only, it seemed to me there were more streams of piss running from doorway corners, like even more men than would be usual had forgotten the art of taking a piss before leaving the pub (well, it has been a while). I was surprised then when The Three Sisters was still open, and with a queue waiting to get in! Brewdog next door was closed and all locked up for the night.

Oo, I just noticed the time, and there was me planning to have an early night! I’ll tell you the latest on the Fringe next time. I shall leave you with a couple of pics of the Meadows on Sunday morning. Toodle pip!

At ten on Sunday morning there weren’t many about except sporty types.
The Meadows with the rooftops of Marchmont peeping through the trees.

If you can’t win, lose spectacularly!

I don’t know about you, but personally I really enjoyed Eurovision 2021, well done to the Netherlands for pulling it off so well! The staging of Eurovision can never be easy, but all the extra faff whilst keeping up the spectacularity of it too? It was a real triumph after the last year and all it’s toils, people coming together and working towards a unifying goal. The cheers and support in the room when James Newman decided to stand up and own his nul points clearly showed the solidarity felt by all those there. The tension as the results of the public vote locked one country after another into their final scores; the shock, the disbelief, the elation on display was electric (probably the biggest surprise for me was the lack of public votes for Malta, only 47 points!). I just really didn’t want the Swiss song to win, so that was my moment of joy, I quite fancied France to win, but hey, I’m happy Italy took it home.

Afterwards, on Sunday the autopsy began, too late of course for the Sunday papers, but online the vultures were up and circling around, by Monday the pitchforks were out. You could be forgiven for thinking the UK, as a one, hates Eurovision if you look at the comments on social media – funny how the haters always shout the loudest, or seem to, the rest of us just don’t really bother responding to their bile, like it would change their minds, ha! They’re not the smartest bunch but they are often very egotistical. Dearies, Europe doesn’t hate you, Europe voted for songs they liked, Europe was indifferent to the UK entry, to say Europe hates us is rather conceited to think they think that much about us!

Many were taking our nul points very personally. Why didn’t the UK get anything from the Judges Panels? Well, there were 26 countries competing in the Final and each panel had 10 scores to award, so every time 16 countries received nul points; it’s not that inconceivable that at least one country won’t get any points. Germany and Spain didn’t make it to double figures, and they got nul points from the Public same as us. I really felt for the Netherlands – our genial hosts and they didn’t muster any love from the Public. I wonder, are the Press and social media in other countries as bad as ours? Looking for someone to blame for a poor showing. Brexit, of course, was mentioned time and time again as the reason for all the “hate”, as one wag said, “Some people would blame Brexit for it raining in a British summer”, he’s right, they would.

There’s always the moan that it’s all political now (duh, it’s been political for ages), and, oh, those countries always vote for their neighbours (agreed Greece and Cyprus always get full marks from each other). So it couldn’t just be that songs on the continent get heard more widely? The singers and bands chosen to represent their countries will also be popular in neighbouring countries, the songs will have had plenty of radio airtime spreading them far and wide. Watching how the scores panned out I actually think there was less political voting than there’s ever been, this was Eurovision back on, people were just voting for what they liked. The UK song only made 22nd on my score sheet! It wasn’t good Eurovision fare, it wasn’t ticking many of the necessary boxes (like, how could I give much for what he was wearing?! performance ok, panache, none).

The boxes? Well, this year I had boxes for the song, the visuals (outfit and backgrounds), the performance and pazzazz; out of 15 each for the first three, 5 points max for pazzazz, so a total of 50 to go for. No, Eurovision isn’t just about the songs, it’s about the spectacle, the look, performance, a special sparkle, well it is for me. A great song may not shine because of a poor performance, but a poor song delivered with oomph and panache can soar. As Billy Flynn sings in Chicago, “Give ’em the old razzle dazzle, razzle dazzle ’em.” Yes, I do happen to take my scoring seriously, go ahead, my friends always ribbed me about it. I also make little notes about particulars….

Russia had, “Ye gods! The start!” Norway got, “Captain Sensible with wings and devil guards” Germany has a scrawled,”Yay! Sparkly ukulele, quirky, tap dancing” (see there’s performance and pazzazz there), Finland was, “V different, a good moshing song.” I took snapshots of the telly showing the results of the Judges scores and the Final scores, and I noted the Public scores. Interesting facts that appeared before my eyes – Greece performed 10th and then came 10th with the Judges, Public and Overall (I broke the run with 7th); the Netherlands did the same in 23rd (24th for me). My top 3? Portugal 3rd, Malta 2nd and France 1st.

So can the UK ever win again? Not while they try to write a Eurovision song, just a good pop song would be better. And not sung by the usual type, go for someone fun, known in Europe, not a ballad, good old rock’n’roll, a toe-tapper. If we have to go big and ballady, then get Jack Savoretti to do it! Come on, Candlelight would have been perfect! Otherwise, I reckon I know a great wee band who write cracking songs with wide appeal, a throwback sound of the 60s beloved by many on the continent as the band’s trips over to Germany, Italy and Netherlands can attest. Hey, and when Scotland gets independence, if Scotland wants it’s own Eurovision entry, the lads would be the perfect choice. Would they do it? Hmmm. See, I’m ready for it, Eurovision goes psychedelic!

Groovy, baby!

Fifteen minutes to go!!!

Oo I’m so excited and I just can’t hide it 😆 Been playing old Eurovision favourites on Spotify the last two days. Just got a pizza in, sad news it wasn’t Alex at Moratti, glad news he will be back! My take on a Maltese rabbit tapas dish is ready, merguez sausages, a venison thingy, tzatziki, more yogurt based dips, a mixed salad, garlic bread and alcohol. I’m ready! Oh, and score sheet printed out too.

Good luck to all participants, may the best song win! Don’t worry, it won’t be the UK and I’m fine with that. It’s much easier to enjoy when you accept the inevitable 😊

They’re back, well, 2 out of 3, anyways

How nice to see the lights back on inside The Waverley as I strolled past yesterday evening! Mind, whilst it was good to see the pubs on the Royal Mile open again, it looked kinda sad, the few occupied tables in each one. A few more establishments have followed on The Scotsman’s Lounge example and built large wooden structures for their outdoor clientele, these looked quite busy, well, it was quite a pleasant evening. Yes, even though it was a Monday night, folk were out to celebrate the latest easing of restrictions, ironic that most were drinking outside rather than inside. The pubs with little or no space for outdoor drinkers must have been rather pissed off!

The Grassmarket was feeling it bit more like it’s old self, a few gaggles of shrieking females, drunken friends hugging each other goodbye, a lass sat crying while her mates tried to console her. Yeah, almost like the old days, well, nights, almost, the pubs had to close by half past ten.

I did check that half ten was correct on the BBC newsite on my mobile – just in from there, the Edinburgh Tattoo has been cancelled again. Despite spending a lot of time and effort to make it work this year, the organisers have said the financial risks are too great and could have put the entire future of the Tattoo in jeopardy. Sad but not really surprising news.

Other news, it’s Eurovision on Saturday, yay! The first semi-final is on telly tonight, the second on Thursday, guess I’ll have a good ganders at those, then probably be very disappointed about songs that don’t make it through to the Final. I have to share these pics with you, taken on Saturday, this high street shop seems to be embracing a retro Eurovision style (the young shop assistant couldn’t figure what was so amusing about these dresses and why I was taking photos of them, bless).

A market, a mystery and a mess

Saturday evening in Auld Reekie, the aroma of hogget curry is still wafting through from the kitchen, I’ve poured myself another glass of Dance Commander from Ascension (that’s sour cherry cider from the Jolly Judge), outside it’s a clear, breezy night. Yes, I’m back up from darkest Yorkshire, toddled back on Thursday, I was hoping Moratti on St Mary Street would have opened again, but sadly not, so I went and got a fish supper in stead, no pizza if it’s not from Moratti! Mind, even when (or if!) they open again, will Alex the pizza guy be back? He’d be a hard act to follow, the best pizzas and great chat.

Being a regular at the Farmers Market on Castle Terrace on Saturday mornings means plenty of chat; over the last year sometimes it was the only time in a week I would have a face to face, well, mask to mask, conversation with anyone. Annanwater are sheep farmers from near Moffat, theirs is the hogget I’m having for tea (hogget is older than lamb but younger than mutton); Brewsters, once “the egg lady”, are now a smallholding with sheep, pigs, beef and honey, all very tasty! Oh joys, this week Ridley’s Game had wild hill goat back in season, I have a haunch bone-in now in my freezer.

Since the Farmers Market became a stallholders cooperative last August there’s been a slow but steady increase in stalls and variety; looking for a hot chilli sauce, delicious cheesecakes, fancy mushrooms, local beers, an occasional cider? And up from Dumfries, Co Co Co. sell the most divine chocolates, okay so they’re not cheap but by’eck they’re bloody good! All handmade and their own recipes, there’s a variety of chocolate slabs or packs of six chocolates, oh, yeah, hot chocolate stirrers too (a large square of flavoured chocolate with a wooden spoon set in it, stir in a mug of hot milk). I really like the passion fruit chocolates but they’ve recently been pipped by the Eton Mess, exquisite! Apparently they’re going to try to come with a strawberry cheesecake chocolate, oh my heartses, can’t wait for that one!

Edinburgh is already noticeably busier, mind any amount of people would make it seem busier. This morning I couldn’t quite credit the amount of people around the Old Town. I wondered at four ladies all holding magnifying glasses – was this a hen party making a withering statement about male genitalia? Then it struck me that there seem to be rather a lot of deerstalkers being worn (after I walked past the twentieth person wearing one), bowler and homburg hats too, and then women with black moustaches?! Hang on, deerstalkers and magnifying glasses, homburgs and black moustaches? That’s Sherlock Holmes and Hercule Poirot! By george, I’d finally got it, it was teams trying to follow a puzzle trail of some sort. That explained all the little gangs charging around/looking blankly around, and all the odd garbs, like the middle aged blokes in t-shirts with CIA emblazoned on the front, the four wandering round in cheap-looking biohazard suits, the Mystery Machine side cutout parked as the Scooby gang drank lattes. I assume the two kids I thought were dressed up as Blues Brothers were actually Men In Black (their parents had made no effort at all) and the dudes in cowboy hats, agents of Statesman? It was like an Edinburgh Saturday pre-Covid, awash with hen and stag dos, all very entertaining to watch.

I shall leave you with a little puzzle of my own. The picture below, can you identify what it is? My mother says she’s been making it for years – never have I seen this dish before, ever. She’d asked if I wanted one, like I knew what one was, sorry but those ingredients don’t go together in my recipe book and I’m pretty sure I’d remember such an anomaly of gastronomy if I’d heard of it previously.

Toodle pip!

What will the future bring? I wonder…..

To paraphrase an old favourite from The Sound of Music which has been wiggling through my head all morning. You may, or may not be aware that the Scottish Parliament votes have now all been counted and the Scottish National Party is still in power. No surprises there, but what now? I awoke this morning with my head immediately buzzing with thoughts, niggles, questions; probably because late last night when I should have already switched off and gone to bed, I stumbled upon a Facebook page that, well, frankly it disturbed me. It was late, I was tired though stubbornly still up, I guess the words clung around as I finally went off.

The words? You know how some folk make mean, jibey comments on Facebook but you know they’d never actually say any of that stuff out loud, face to face? Well, this particular thread was written by nationalists who quite likely would say all of it and more, pitchforks at the ready to drive the English south and crowdfund to build a new wall. Actually, they kinda make me think of the Brexiteers, mmm, some nationalists are very sure on kicking out anyone English and/or unionist, I wonder if they’re aware that Scotland needs incomers? In England the PM has announced a deal which will allow students from India to live and work in the UK for two years after graduation, bet plenty there will have lots to say about that (the deal is reciprocated by India but I doubt certain factions will read that far).

Maybe I should reiterate at this point that I do love Scotland and the Scottish (well mostly). I know and like many nationalists, as I said last post, vive la différence, humans will be humans with all their foibles, just different foibles for different folk. God knows, a room full of yorkshiremen would have more foibles in it than some small countries! Scottish independence is inevitable now and while that makes me sad, I totally get why some many want it especially now. I don’t want Scotland to leave the UK but at the same time, the world of politics seems to going batshit crazy these last few years, English politics have gone right down the pan, yeah, why not? Bring it on, how much worse can things be?! Well, it won’t be utopia, a land of milk and honey, lambs will not be frolicking with wolves in the meadows. Scotland may throw out the can full of English government worms, but be sure there’ll be plenty of other worms in plenty of other cans just waiting for a can opener to come along.

I blame Trump for all this mess with political leaders. Okay, so there’s always been a cult of personality thing around like forever, but it seems to have escalated with Trump. It seemed ludicrous that he could become president, but that was just the starters! The cult of Trump showed how much a big personality can get away with and, well, Boris Johnson decided it was time for his big play. I reckon that he played everyone, even when things weren’t looking his way, he was playing the longer game moving all the pieces into place so that one by one they’d be removed from the board leaving him at the top.

This morning it occurred to me that maybe we’re all in just another play he’s manoeuvring now; see, this may sound daft, but, what if in actual fact Johnson does want rid of Scotland? He can’t say that directly but by manipulation and misdirection he can make it look like it was none of his doing! Indeed, a dear friend of mine endured some seriously passive aggressive behaviour by an Ex for months and months when he tried to manipulate her into being the “bad guy” ending their relationship, oh, she figured it out afterwards, after her unrelenting optimism (that he’d get over whatever was making him act mean) finally drove him to admitting he wanted to break up. Yeah, some good guys don’t like having to do things that’ll tarnish the image, they don’t realise that just being truthful will merely cause a blemish that will soon be gone as folk come around and respect their honesty.

Will Nicola Sturgeon take a moment, pause for thought, reflect on how the world has turned these last few years? Promises made can be shown empty when it turns out they were only on supposition that agreements would be reached to one’s own benefit. Will anyone remember that pride always has a fall following on behind? However things pan out I hope Scotland comes through, stronger and wiser. May my dark night fears of tiny minds, ego-led politicians and Kafkaesque bureaucracies just stay in the recesses of my mind, banished away by sunshine and smiles. To paraphrase from another classic film, It’s Springtime for Sturgeon and Scotland 😆

I shall leave you with another picture from my walks down here. The local river, I’ve spent many, many hours through the years beside it 💛

It’s downhill all the way

After doing my civic duty yesterday, I skidaddled down the road to the old country (so much quicker going down the way, as my old dad used to say). First morning woke early, ye gods, frost! And I’d thought, what a waste of time, when I had to cover a multitude of young plants around the garden with various objects yesterday evening. Apparently it’s been back to wintery coldness down here recently, but now I’m here things are gonna get warmer and, rather annoyingly, wetter.

Hurrah, teatime viewing is Richard Osman’s House Of Games. Ha, back in the day mother banished the new colour telly to the sitting room and insisted we all sat at the table for meals – it still feels slightly devilish even now to eat tea watching the telly down here! ROHOG is rather good this week, I do like Samira Ahmed, she and Angela Rippon (isn’t she looking great) compliment each other well in the pairs round. Meanwhile at the far end Dom Joly has been rather a misery guts, doesn’t like losing, does he? And then there’s the stand-up comedian, the rather amiable and unassuming John Robins, he’s whupping Dom Joly’s ass in the final round each day (oh, I hope saying that doesn’t damn John’s performance today). On checking wikipedia last night, I see he’s been performing at the Edinburgh Fringe since 2007, winning the Comedy Award in 2017 for his show The Darkness of Robins – how does his name not register with me at all?! I’ll have to look through my Fringe programs when I get back home and see why Mr Robins has stayed below my fringedar.

Oh joys! John Finnemore’s Souvenir Programme is back on Radio 4 on Thursday evenings, I was happy to have the kitchen to myself to listen while (while or whilst? Linguistics?) I did the washing up. Oo, I wonder if he’s ever been on ROHOG? With the unusual things he dreams up I bet he’d be rather good on it, though his quickness on the buzzer wouldn’t be stand-up fast. Finnemore v Neenan would be a good match, I reckon, let’s add in, erm, Carrie Quinlan and Alice Lowe. Okay, so I think about people I’d like to see competing on ROHOG, more about that another time.

By the time I return to Auld Reekie the dust will have settled after the parliamentary election. No doubt it’ll all be whirled up again soon enough with independence talks. Politics suck, why can’t folk just try to get along better? Vive la différence! Another thing that sucks is waiting to see how this year’s Fringe will pan out. Registrations have now opened for it but, as the vast majority of venues won’t be viable under current restrictions, it’ll be more the Online Fringe than the Edinburgh Fringe. Hey, at least that could be fairly international, I mean, from next year there could be fair less Creatives over from europe thanks to Brexit, and then, god knows what will happen when Scotland goes for independence?! And let’s not forget the new Scottish Hate Crime Bill thats been disturbing many with its potential new puritanism. At this rate 2019 may turn out to have been the last ever full-on Edinburgh Fringe!!

Oh dear, that went bad. I’ll pick the mood back up by leaving you with a pic of the blue haze of bluebells in the local woods. Toodle pip!

Happy Blog Day to me!!

Today it’s four years since my first blog post, yay! Who’d’ve thunk it! This will be my 218th post, so that’s one and a tinsy bit a week. Outside it’s a gloriously sunny day, I fully intend to enjoy some sun today, yesterday afternoon was spent wrapping Christmas presents which takes time to do properly (I pride myself on my gift-wrapping skills, friends are always saying how immaculate my presents look). Mind, this lot may not look their best once transported down to deepest Yorkshire, where I shall be heading in the near future. At Christmastime I usually leave the wrapping of presents until I’m wherever I’m spending it but hey, what’s been usual about this year?! I was so engrossed with planning, well, just thinking about all the things I need to do, what to take, who’ll water my plants that time slid by. Half nine at night was when I went wandering…..

I decided to head to Portobello Beach, brrrr, it was rather chilly. The wind was blowing down from the north so any daytime warmth was gone, not that a bit of cold will send the locals packing, oh no. I counted thirty, yes, thirty beach fires (it is a long beach and the tide was heading out). There were thirty beach fires, two groups had windbreaks, a smart idea, and there were two little groups with no beach fires or windbreaks, they must have been bloody freezing sitting on the sand! Don’t judge me that I counted them, I like a bit of precision, “a lot” wouldn’t have cut it for me. I would’ve taken a photo but it would’ve been red blobs surrounded by darkness.

Oo, that reminds me, a few evenings ago I went out to check how the bats are doing up at Dunsapie Loch. They’re doing very well! It had been a warmish day with little wind, so I reckoned there’d be plenty food on the wing for them. Indeed, and as the bats up there come out relatively early I could really enjoy watching them. The difference in watching the bats at Dunsapie rather than St Margaret’s Loch is like an action movie with long shots where you can see the action played out, as opposed to one with so many cuts between cameras you don’t have a scoobies what’s going on. Anyhoo, that’s not actually what I was reminded of, walking back down the Queens Drive I saw a dark figure approaching me in the gloom, at a low level was a green glowing thing moving at the same speed. Of course, I knew it was one of those dog collars but really I could not make out any dog at all! Ah, finally when we passed by each other – a black labrador, it was darker than it’s surrounding, which made me think of the aliens in Attack The Block, I picked up my pace.

It’s now over a week since Edinburgh Fringe announced that registration for shows would open in May. Since then the local press have said that Underbelly have decided their big purple cow will be summering in London this year at their new Wonderground. Underbelly are planning their own festival that will, and I quote “champion the spirit and quality of the Edinburgh Fringe”; indeed, they’re going to program a “Best of the Edinburgh Festival” season of performances. I can see the idea and why they’re marketing it this way, but also, it’s not Edinburgh, won’t be, ever. Oh, how the Facebook commentators went berserk! Underbelly are not well-liked by the stampy-feet local rag readers any time, it was all “Good riddance!”,”Cheerio”,”Don’t come back”. Erm, guys, Underbelly are still hoping to have some kind of Fringe presence in Edinburgh, it all depends on what the Sturgeon decides and how long that decision takes. See, England has given one metre as the social distancing necessary for venues, in Scotland it’s still two metres which is obviously not viable. If the fishwoman won’t change her mind or takes until midsummer to change it, well.

The Free Edinburgh Fringe Festival are looking at ways to put something on this year, the size of the venues they use are really, really not viable for two metre distancing, one metre would be tough in some of the rooms, we’re talking snug places! At least they’re probably well placed to be online as they’ve had plenty of experience this last year. I saw something about maybe putting the online shows on the big screen at the Pear Tree, I assume that’s the one in the beer garden, in which case there does also happen to be a big screen in the beer garden at the Three Sisters.

Ho hum. Who knows what the next month will throw up? Enough of this doom and gloom, I’m going to take me out into the sunshine. Oh, and I need to get milk on my way home.

Toodle pip!