The bad thing about the Edinburgh festival season during August is that travelling turns into a nightmare. I find myself choosing not to go to events at times or days of the week when I suspect travelling will undo any good the event might offer.
So yesterday my trusted photographer and I picked a train earlier than we had to, just so we could go on the King’s Cross train, with four or five times as many coaches as the local one. It was even worth waiting for it as it ran late, just not to get squashed on the little train.
As the Resident IT Consultant dropped us off it was mayhem by the station entrance. There was an interview being conducted on the pavement, complete with BBC camera and everything. Loads of people wearing t-shirts or hoodies with Stirling Orchestra on the back, and an unusual number of double basses for a railway station. Even in August.
I remembered reading something in the local paper about the orchestra; they had been chosen for something special. My photographer googled as we waited and could tell me they were going to London to take part in All Together Now: The Great Orchestra Challenge, a ‘four-part series, which will celebrate the breadth and quality of amateur orchestral playing across the UK, will follow five orchestras as they compete for a place in the Grand Final. It will begin on BBC Four at the end of August, with the final episode to be broadcast on BBC Two.’
That’s pretty good, and I’m sufficiently pleased for them that I didn’t even mind the squeeze on the train. The double basses and the stools, etc, got stowed elsewhere, and it was only the smaller instruments that were all over the place, along with the BBC crew’s junk, carefully blocking the Edinburgh exit door…
Now, if they could only have whipped out their instruments and serenaded us as we went!
People kept asking us if we were going to take in a few fringe events, as though we had both time and energy left over to do anything quite so frivolous. It would have been nice, but the books took everything we had, plus a little more still.
But, you can take pictures of the odd thing as you run past.
And Simon Callow won’t mind a second outing on CultureWitch.
Next time I’ll sit down on a park bench for a while and just listen to some music. Or something.
Maybe even sit out late one night if it doesn’t rain. It didn’t rain much this time, and it was warm. Perfect for those beer gardens and other tents that have sprung in the middle of George Street. All I had time for was a brief rest on a bench while ‘running’ for a train one evening.
No. It isn’t.
And I’m beginning to wonder if they could rephrase that. They don’t need to recognise me, because I do realise they see an awful lot of customers during one week, especially during the Edinburgh Festival. But it’s nicer to be treated like a regular, than as the ignorant newbie.
We generally like Chiquito in Edinburgh. It’s well placed for our Charlotte Square induced hunger, and every time we’ve been over the last few years has been good. (Can’t say that about our local Chiquito, unfortunately.) Good friendly service, and good food, for a chain. Reasonable prices.
What really made us return to Chiquito this year, though, was the wifi. We had no internet where we stayed, and the bookfest wifi was slow to impossible for several days. A blogger needs to blog. They even need to read emails and to respond to them. So, setting up office next to the Chimichanga seemed a good solution to us.
Clearly it wasn’t annoying enough to the waitress, to make her remember us two days later. It was useful to us, however. A lifesaver the first day. I don’t know if the answer to attracting diners is to have free wifi, but in this instance it worked with us.
The view from the street outside isn’t bad, either.
Michael Python? Whatever.
Mr Palin, that’s it. He pretends to shoot himself as he discovers he’s not been invited to John Cleese’s wedding after all. The one this week. Michael’s invite is for next month.
I am under the impression Michael has written a book. A real book. Not just travel and stuff. That’s why he’s in Edinburgh.
Unlike authors who like to hide behind their laptops, actors are used to the limelight. Some of them might even like it. Or not mind too much. I get the impression Simon Callow doesn’t mind dreadfully.
It was nice to catch him on the blue carpet. We’ve had enough green carpet for a while.
Did I sit opposite her on a train recently? That was the question. I felt I ‘knew’ her so well, the woman who swept down Shandwick Place in Edinburgh on Saturday morning. Daughter and I were going in the opposite direction, but I got enough of a good look at her. I knew I knew her.
But was it the train? I sort of felt it was recently and I sort of felt she was Swedish. Or the train was, at any rate. But what would she be doing in Edinburgh? OK, so lots of Swedes like Scotland and maybe she was here on holiday. But she strode very purposefully, and alone.
If I hadn’t sat opposite her on a train, maybe she was from the television? Yes, that could be it. Once I’d decided that much, I ‘knew’ that it was a crime series. I felt she was the wronged woman, caught up in something. So, was she British after all? But what could we have watched, that was so recent? Besides NCIS, I watch very little. Surely not Doctor Who?
I discussed the conundrum with Daughter, who hadn’t noticed her. (That didn’t make the discussion any easier.) Suddenly I felt sure it was Wallander. The Swedish, Krister Henriksson Wallander. She was his romantic interest in season one. She was the one who behaved ‘badly’, letting poor Wallander down.
But which episode? It took a lot of googling back and forth until I found the right one, and then some more before deciding which was the right female. Armed with the name Cecilia Nilsson it was easy to find her photo, and then you google name and Edinburgh, and hey presto.
There she was, being praised for her one woman show performed in silence (and in the nude if the picture was anything to go by).
So I was right. Except it wasn’t a train. But close.
Another year, another photo of Simon Callow. This time a non-shaky (well almost) photo that was not taken by the useless witch, so much better for it.
You could tell someone ‘big’ was about to come by the large number of photographers who had come out of the woodwork. And Simon was only a little late, and was swiftly rushed on to the next session, which in turn had to be swift to allow for there being an event minutes later.
There is another biography of this actor, about whom I know so little. To me it’s enough that he was Caroline Lawrence’s Pliny in the Roman Mysteries.