Strictly honestly – I was in the pub!

Yeah, what was going to be a lunchtime/afternoon session rather overran. There was me reckoning I’d be home for Pointless Celebrities, which was a Strictly line-up, and next thing I knew it was quarter to eight! Well, there’s a lot to put right about the world in these current times, a couple of pints wasn’t anywhere near long enough to cover everything! And when the fresh air hit me I was rather hungry so a fish supper had to be purchased, yes, had to be (a fish supper means fish and chips, in fish and chip shops here if you want anything with chips it’s a supper). So after all that I only made it home for the last two couples on Strictly, damn, but it was a fine pub session taking in the Jolly Judge, Bow Bar, Dagda and the Cask and Barrel.

Hurrah for BBC iPlayer, I watched both shows on Sunday evening instead. No, I didn’t watch Bodyguard, am I the only one in the country who hasn’t seen any of it? Maybe I’ll get round to it sometime before another series comes out.

So Strictly…… well I did say about making some reference to Danny John-Jules’ Cat and, blow me down, first off was himself and Amy doing a foxtrot to the theme tune to Top Cat – I loved that cartoon so much as a calf. He’s the oldest celeb but crikey he’s pretty fit and has some great moves, I reckon he’ll go far.

Poor Seann had the tango, not an easy dance for a male celeb to start with, but he did go for it so he gave it plenty of attitude and character to make up for lack of technique. The scores weren’t helped by Katya putting in a lift that wasn’t allowed, but ever a comedian Seann said it wasn’t a lift, more of a “chuck”. Being used to hecklers and the like, the judges may find he’s one contestant who’ll always have a smart quip back at them.

My other immediate favourite, Charles Venn, wowzer! Oh yay, he can dance, and he and Karen looked amazing together in red. Joe Sugg was actually pretty good at the jive, I was pleasantly surprised, but I’m not sure how he’ll cope with a rumba! Kate Silverton Cha Cha’d with plenty of attitude, but I reckon she’ll be a half-wayer. Another half-wayer I reckon is Graeme Swann, but I did love hearing Soul Limbo, of course he had to dance his Samba to the cricket theme tune, and Oti was as scrummy as ever!

Generally it’s another pretty good year with plenty of potential winners. More about the others next week. First out? If they’re in the dance-off, Susannah and Anton. Of course, if they get enough public votes to avoid it ….. but I’m not sure she has enough fans, even with Anton’s over-the-top antics.

If you’re thinking, what? Another post about that dancing tosh! Well, let’s say, if the title contains the word Strictly that’s what it’ll be about, forewarned and and all that.

Nighty night!

 

Beware the Ides of May!

I say this because the weather this last week or so has been darn lovely which, in my experience means the sunshine ration for Edinburgh will have run out by August! Brollies and rain macs will be must-haves at this year’s Fringe, I predict.

This coming Monday is Victoria Day, a little known public holiday in parts of Scotland; it’s celebrated on the last Monday before or on 24th May, which was Queen Victoria’s birthday (I just looked that up, I’ve only known it as usually the third Monday in May). I used to get it as a public holiday from work and in the further past we had the previous Friday off too, before they cut down on our public holidays – yes, I am a working moose, the bills don’t pay themselves, unfortunately!

It was a weekend to be off as most people are working and the kiddies are in school; Bud and I had some great camping trips with glorious weather. The Lake District being just down the road was a favoured destination. Beautiful scenery, good campsites and plenty of great pubs! Oh to be waking up in Great Langdale with the sun already shining and lambs gambolling about the place (those same lambs you could have quite happily barbecued at 4 in the morning when they did their own version of the dawn chorus!); then, later rounding off another perfect day with a drink or three at the Old Dungeon Ghyll’s Hikers Bar, a no-frills pub with good grub and well-kept ales (I could be wrong but I think they have been in the Good Beer Guide nearly, if not every year). And only a drunken stagger away from the campsite!

Over in the east County Durham and North Yorkshire, another favourite area for Bud and I to visit or use as a good stopover when heading south. Let’s face it that whole swathe across the north of England is bloody marvellous, scenery, great pubs and grub and lovely locals. One particularly sunny May we went to Beamish, if you’ve never been, go!! I’d wanted to visit for years but just never got round to it, one day I’ll have to go back and see what I missed last time – it’s awfully big, a full day and you still won’t have seen it all!

Heading south there’s Bishop Auckland, Barnard Castle, Richmond, Leyburn, to name a few old market towns worth a stop and wander around. Leyburn sits on the A684 which runs across to Kendal with plenty to enjoy in between. Leyburn is also a hop and a skip away from Middleham, which is very close to the Forbidden Corner, so good we went twice (a few years apart). The Forbidden Corner started out as a private folly, but then like Topsy, it growed and growed, now there’s grottos, towers, tunnels, chambers, a maze and beautiful gardens. But, and it’s a big butt, it will be full of children. If you have children this is the bestest place you could take them, but do microchip them first so they can be located when you lose sight of the little dears, and you will! This is why a May visit, on a weekday preferably, book for a visit straight after breakfast ahead of the coachloads of school trips, is great.

Ah, the sun is beckoning me to go oot and play. It teases Edinburgh with the prospect of a fine Meadows Fair in a couple of weeks but more on that little extravaganza later.

Toodle pip!

On the fringe of the Beast

It’s been an odd month, what with Scotland actually beating England at the rugby and snow that’s actually lasted more than half a day. Yes, this may be Scotland but don’t assume it’s all covered in snow in winter, many winters Edinburgh will get one covering of snow, usually a weekday morning, that’ll be gone by lunchtime. I think the last decent snowfall was 2010, that lasted weeks and now the Beast From the East has dumped an almighty load on us. Yay. Today was a snow day off work,  so where better to head than Holyrood Park, the home of Arthur’s Seat, and today also home to sledgers, snowboarders and even a few skiers. All sorts were out to enjoy this rare occurrence, quite a convivial atmosphere helped to take the bitterness out of the cold.

2018-03-01 13.03.57.jpgThese two were just taking a break when I moisied over. I did wonder if I would be able have a go sitting in the middle of a board, there is room between their legs after all, but my nerve failed me. Downhill, at speed, maybe not.

I took my life in my hands quite enough last weekend, trying to get a drink at the Doctors. The pubs in Edinburgh are all heaving during the Six Nations rugby, especially the Scotland v England match, circumstances meant that for the first time in years I would not be out in the scrum. That was until the end of the first half, like, huh? Scotland were actually doing rather well, I’d reached a natural break in my diy and decided such a game warranted a drink in a crowded pub – so off to Doctors I toddled. Haven’t actually been there in some time, used to be in fairly regularly but the last “refurbishment” rather spoilt it and the prices had become ridiculous. So why did I pick there? Couldn’t say, but a great choice by me, it really was packed to the gunnels, I found a place at the bar and stayed there! What a game, see Scotland can play when they want; the pub, the town went wild, Flower of Scotland snippets floating in the air everywhere. It was like hogmanay in Tesco’s with the amount of alcohol being bought. Scotland had one mass collective hangover on Sunday morning!

Wonder what fun March will bring, and how many storms, and what will they be called? And so, I bid you goodnight, I think it will unfortunately be back to work tomorrow. I shall leave you with another pic of me in Holyrood Park.

Stay warm and safe, peeps.

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On the fringe of the Close

That would be Logan’s Close, a rather good band from Dunbar near Edinburgh, who play Sixties-style music. Indeed I would be so bold as to say they are on the fringe of success. Tonight they played at The Caves in Edinburgh to launch their new single Girl (with a B-side of Work, a B-side? On a cd? aww bless ’em).

Sometimes Facebook does throw good things your way, case in point these lads’ previous single Listen To Your Mother (check out the Official Video on YouTube, no I haven’t put a link up, I’m not sure how, I’m only a moose), since I saw it I’ve seen them a few times in Edinburgh. The first time was in Sneaky Pete’s in the Cowgate, a much changed pub from when I used to prolong a night’s drinking by ending up there, way way back in the 80’s.

Tonight was top notch if a tad on the cold side for a while, but a great bar for real ale with Caesar Augustus as an option. The Caves are rather better now than when they first opened as a Fringe venue some years ago with moisture dripping off the ceiling! The support band were pretty good, a shame more folk didn’t turn up earlier for them, but as soon as Logan’s Close came on the joint started to really swing. The Close have a lovely easy chemistry between them, especially Scott and Carl on rhythm and lead guitars and shared lead vocals. As David Lynch would say, the eye of this duck is in the right place, this band is perfection to me. They transport the soul, or mine anyway.

Well, I have some red wine somewhere and I’m in the mood for more music …..

 

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What’s Monday without a little drama?

That’s all I heard of a conversation as I meandered to the Pleasance Courtyard on my way home this evening. With so many wannabe thespians in such close proximity there’s bound to be some tears, or at least dramatic flouncing before bedtime.

I decided to pop in as it had dawned on me that I hadn’t been in so far this Fringe! This is a very strange occurrence, how could I have not seen a single show at preview time at the Pleasance Courtyard?! The last time this happened was 2008, and then I saw four shows there the first weekend, ah the preview prices may have continued to the Saturday for some shows and back then the 2for1 days were the first Sunday and Monday. The Pleasance Courtyard has always been good for comedy acts, but at higher prices, and they never appeared on the Friends of the Fringe 2for1 list, hence early on cheaper shows were a must.

Another shocker, I’m not seeing anything in Pleasance Two this year, I’ve seen the list of shows there and not one appeals to me, which is a shame because as venues go, it’s a pretty good one. The seating is well tiered, only someone freakishly elongated could block the view of the fellow behind. It’s been sometime since I haven’t seen a least one show there.

So I wandered around having a nosy at all the little and not so little changes. I noticed the inside bar looked different through the window so popped in for a look, ye gods, it’s bloody awful now! Even worse than what’s been done to the Peartree, a few streets away, which has just recently been reopened after extensive work at the expense of losing the Blind Poet next door, becoming just another part of the Peartree. From two great old pubs, they’ve made a modern dull, could be anywhere, lounge bar. Bloody vandals!!

Well, that’s quite enough drama for one night. Toodle pip.

 

Uke Hooting!

I did intend to write another post tonight but then I decided instead to go to the Kilderkin for the Uke Hoot. Now I’m home, it’s late, so just a quickie! Uke Hoot is a bunch of people who meet in a pub to play all sorts of tunes on ukuleles, it really is a hoot. I first came across this phenomenon a couple of years ago by happy accident.

Anyone can turn up uke in hand, you don’t have to be a great player, just enthusiastic, though be warned – they do tend to play everything at 100 miles an hour! No worries about the music, there is a large bag with all the song books and most songs had the little chord diagrams somewhere on the page.

Usually it’s on at the Kilderkin, down near the bottom of the Royal Mile, at 7.30 on a Wednesday, but as the Kilderkin will be using the side room as part of PBH’s Free Fringe, for the month of August Uke Hoot moves to the Blue Blazer, another fine real ale pub on the corner of Bread Street and Spittal Street (well worth a visit).

Witnessing the Uke Hoot would be almost like a free show itself, or if you’re in town and happen to have a ukulele about your person, do go along!