Have you ever been? Not to the Festival itself so much, but to the Fringe. It’s great fun. You don’t even have to go to any shows, just walk the streets and soak up the atmosphere. I love it.
One year, we took a selection of kids up there and camped on the outskirts of the city. We took the train in, saw a few shows, but mostly just wandered around watching the street performers. Arizona Jones is still remembered fondly – Indiana Jones’s better looking younger brother…
I got a henna tattoo on my shoulder – a butterfly. It’s what I would get if I was brave enough to get a real tattoo.
Everyone is handing out leaflets for their shows. There are a lot of shows, there are a lot of leaflets. Between us, we collected a fair pile – about 2 inches thick – so I started handing them back out to people. Seemed a shame to waste them.
Another time I went with my daughter, just the two of us. There was a particular exhibition we wanted to see, and we ended up walking what felt like miles and miles to find the place. It was really hot, and we stopped to buy bottles of water, then later we just sat down on the pavement to rest.
But I want to tell you about the day we didn’t go to the Festival.
It was late August, and I had four of the five kids with me. They were at a bit of a loose end.
We were living in Northumberland at the time, so Edinburgh was only about an hour and a half away.
‘Let’s go to the Festival’ I said.
So we did.
We piled into the car, and we set off. We drove up through north Northumberland, through the Scottish borders, and into Edinburgh. We parked.
Hmm. That was a bit strange. We shouldn’t have been able to find somewhere to park that easily.
But hey, the gods have to smile on someone – maybe today was my day.
We walked into town, and went to the Hub (it’s the place where you can buy tickets, see what’s happening, generally get a feel for things). It was quite quiet. I went to the desk to see if I could pick up a list of the shows that were on that day – my plan was to buy us all a drink and then we could plan what we wanted to do.
The young man at the desk was very polite. Kind, in fact. And behind his eyes – was that puzzlement? Pity?
‘Erm’, he said, ‘The Festival finished yesterday.’
The Festival finished yesterday.
And here we were, today.
Four teenagers and me.
And no Festival. No Festival, and more to the point no Fringe. And other words beginning with F.
I did the only thing I could do, under the circumstances. I took them all to Costa and bought them giant hot chocolates with all the trimmings. And one for myself.
Then I drove them home again.
Oh, and on the way home they decided that what they wanted to do most in the world was wind down the car window and shout ‘Bogey!!’ very loudly at the people we were passing. I don’t know why they needed to do this – but I didn’t feel I was in a position to object.
If you happened to be walking on the south side of Edinburgh the day after the Festival finished one year, and were accosted by a car full of teenagers shouting ‘Bogey!’ for no apparent reason (being driven by a woman pretending she wasn’t with them), I can only apologise. Now that you know the back story, I hope you can forgive and forget.
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