A brush with the Fringe

A brush with the Fringe

Ever since visiting for the day, more than 20 years ago, I’ve held a romantic view of the City of Edinburgh. From stepping off the train at Waverley Station, the cobbled streets winding among centuries old architecture, from Medieval to Georgian, captivated me.

And yet I’ve never had, or made, the chance to go back until last week.

IMG_6889 (799x800)

Knowing we were heading to Scotland for a week of walking lochs and glens, I suggested we break up the journey by stopping in the country’s capital for a wander, lunch and to revisit some landmarks I’d stopped by first time around. And maybe take in a bit of the Fringe.

The Fringe Festival, if you are unfamiliar with it, is the world’s largest arts festival, held annually in Edinburgh for almost the entirety of August and showcases anything from comedy, street performances, theatre and caberet to busking, dance and spoken word. Anyone can participate and there are loads of free performances for the public to watch.

This was Sam’s first time in the City, so I was hopeful that he would also fall instantly in love with the place, if I dragged him to various landmarks and throw in some comedy. What I hadn’t realised however, was that August is not only the month of the Fringe but also the month for the famous Military Tattoo.

IMG_6895 (600x800)

So it was busy. Which we admittedly anticipated but not to the level we witnessed. We were like Scottish salmon trying to reach our spawning grounds as we made for the castle, inch by inch, against the torrent of tourists flowing down the Royal Mile.

Eugh…

I made it clear that should I ever suggest spending New Year’s here again (it happens once every couple of years) that someone should slap me with a kipper and bring me to my senses!

And unfortunately, once we reached our destination, it was pretty obvious I was not going to get any of the city views that I had remembered, unless we paid the high price to enter the castle, due to the stadium seating erected to watch bagpipe and kilt parade!

Oh well, let’s go and look for Greyfriar’s Bobby, I said. He’s nearby…

Sam was not versed in who, or what, Bobby was until I brought him up to speed. Which I will kindly do for you now, too! Here’s your crash course: Greyfriar’s Bobby is the story of a Skye terrier, who guarded his master’s grave (purportedly a police nightwatchman) for 14 years until he died himself. Locals looked after him and then had a fountain made to commemorate him, which is now a tourist attraction.

IMG_6891 (800x800)

On my first visit, it took me over an hour to find the statue once I’d located the correct street in the city…only to realise I’d been stood next to it for a very long time. I blame my height and the fact that I don’t generally look up.

So you’d think this time would be easier, wouldn’t you? Yeah…me too!

*Sigh*

I’ve not grown much and as such, when something is surrounded by a throng of people, it’s difficult for me to see what is at the centre. I mean, the large group should have been a clue, but then pretty much every corner in Edinburgh has a large group snapping away with an array of devices.

But once I’d spotted him I was able to take a pic of the wee little doggie and rub his nose for luck. Which Sam found hilarious as he says I was the only non-foreign tourist to do so. Plus, he didn’t really get what all the fuss was about.

We moved on.

Passing, apparently, where JK Rowling penned her first Harry Potter. I felt a little guilty at not knowing this fact but then reminded myself that I was a fan of HP and not JKR…

IMG_6894 (600x800)

So after a Mexican midday snack, we ventured into the Fringe to be entertained. As we knew we only had a few hours in Edinburgh, we opted for the free street shows situated around the Royal Mile.

Hmmm…

Okay, I get that art is subjective and what one person doesn’t understand, another will rave over. But I was expecting some kind of quality. Or humour. Hopefully a smidge of both.

Instead, we got weird. And I doubt very much we got the weirdest!

IMG_6898 (599x800)

Boys walking around in their pants anyone? Cast of Magic Mike, you ask? No. But we do have some pasty, gangly teens who might be about to start a monologue lamenting their lack of chest hair.

Dance: Two performances, one with lots of moody looks and red silk. The other…quite possibly just a bloke from the crowd who thought he’d try to embarrass his kids with some full-on ‘dad dancing’ and a few impromptu lunges and waggles of his tongue.

Then we have the woman singing to Kylie. Everyone loves a singalong and a bit of cheesy pop, right? Wrong. Because what I can’t get out of my head is Kylie’s track of a similar name, sung by a woman on top of a bucket, in a shower cap, pretending to be a seal. (Perhaps there was some ironic twist / reference to another singer she was going for…)

Oh yes, and nobody could hear the track, as it was being played on her headphones. But the beat was unmistakable. La, la, la…

We were saved by a group of A cappella chaps, who weren’t supposed to be performing to the crowd but saw the opportunity of an empty stage and grabbed it. Which I guess is part of what the Fringe is about: spontaneity.

But I have to say I was expecting more – a melting pot of eclectic performers to wow the masses. What we got was more like a bad episode of Britain’s Got Talent in the rain (yes, after months of glorious heatwave, we chose a week of damp and drizzle!) So I doubt we’ll be rushing back, unless we have more time and can plan in some paid shows that we’ve researched.

Edinburgh on the other hand, is still up there for me in a top list of cities I like to mooch around in. So I will return and perhaps stay longer than a few hours. Sometime in the next twenty years, I reckon!

IMG_6900 (800x800)

Have you been to Edinburgh or experienced the Fringe? I’d love to hear what you think of the place if you have. Am I just old? Did I get it wrong?

The Fringe Festival runs until Aug 27th 2018 and the Edinburgh Tattoo until Aug 25th.


IMAGE CREDITS: All my own, so please be sweet and ask before sharing! 🙂

Did you know you can follow the Bobbins on Twitter , Instagram or Facebook? Come and say hi!

I could have married Robbie Williams…

I could have married Robbie Williams…

It could have happened. We’ll skip over the fact that I’ve never found him attractive. But had there been a different set of circumstances, a different alignment of the stars, I feel there’s every chance I could have wound up being a Mrs. Take That.

Robbie_paparazzi_V_sign_crop

Why? Was I some supermodel in my youth? A socialite, frequenting star-studded parties, only to fall on hard times in later life? Well, no. But it could have happened!

Let’s wind the clock back 26 years and see where Fate waved its hand to prevent such a pairing…

Read more

Opera House? No, Opera Bridge!

Opera House? No, Opera Bridge!

Like many people, I love a good bridge. I’d like to give some poetic reason, such as they’re symbolic of links between points in our life journey, but the simple truth is I just find them structurally appealing. Strong architectural lines with the added bonus of generally being near another personal favourite, water.

I’m lucky enough to live very close to the Humber Bridge, once the longest single-span suspension bridge in the world. Its arrival in the early 1980s put it firmly on the map as an iconic local landmark, for many, a comforting signal of home as it looms on the horizon after a long trip.

new-cam3

Seeing as I’m also a big fan of classical music, it was a given that I wanted to get tickets when the City of Culture team announced an event in conjunction with Opera North to walk the bridge to a unique, specially composed soundtrack: The Height of the Reeds.

Unfortunately, as tickets were free, they went swiftly and I lost out. Then, hurrah! They announced it had been so popular they were extending the run and this time I was in, albeit alone as we could only get hold of one ticket.

FullSizeRender (800x600)

So yesterday, amidst the extraordinary heat we’re experiencing at the moment in the UK, I set off for a 5K trundle.

Read more

Web of Wonder #9

Web of Wonder #9

Hello everyone! I did say at the end of last year that I would continue with these compilation posts, so I thought it was well overdue that I’ve left it this long and we’re already half way through March!

Therefore, without further ado, the ninth edition is actually the first Web of Wonder of 2017, featuring an entire collection of YouTube gems that have tickled my fancy. As I’ve said before, there are some incredibly talented people out there!

Read more

Web of Wonder #8

Web of Wonder #8

 Hello everyone, hope you are all well!

Today, I bring you my final post before Christmas (and incidentally my 200th offering!), and the last WoW (not the RPG game) of the year. I’ve really enjoyed doing these collections over the last year and hope you’ve enjoyed reading them…because I’m continuing int0 2017!

img_3943

Naturally, some inclusions have gone a little festive this time but there are plenty of other gems I’ve discovered whether you love or loathe the C-Day. So take some time out from the wrapping, put your feet up with some mulled wine and enjoy Web of Wonder 8!! 🙂

Read more