Moments At The Edinburgh Festival Fringes

It seems to me there are lots of Fringe bits to the Edinburgh Festival, but to keep things relatively tidy, (programmes, books, leaflets always being the exceptions) I see the Fringes divided up into the;

  1. International classical theatre, concerts and The International Book Festival;
  2. Professional Fringe; (worth a look)
  3. Mainstream Fringe (semi professional, can be interesting);
  4. Have-a-go Fringe (a huge range of options, often thought-provoking and clever);
  5. Stand-up Comedy, and
  6. Multinational talents Fringe, (A wide variety, some very beautiful).

Selecting from numbers 2-6  is not straightforward. This, for me, is a great big part of the fun of being at the Edinburgh festival…getting there and invariably taking pot luck. Number 5, is quite likely to be risqué! (I have no respect for ‘comics’ who operate with gratuitous vulgarity).

The Royal Mile pop up shows stand out on their own; The Royal Mile is always worth visiting.

This year I found myself second in a queue for a show; the Editor of The Children’s Guinness Book Of Records, Craig Glenday was first. We had a lovely chat and sat in the same church pew to watch a really good show called The Gin Chronicles.  It’s a spoof 1947 radio broadcast. If the show appears anywhere else, go see it.

And here is the Guinness Book of Records man doing his own ”show’ at The Book Festival. There were only a few tickets left when I got mine on the day. Craig gave the young audience, (and their adults) guidelines about what records would not get into the books,  such as anything that would upset the people who help animals. It was a gentle humorous  production. We saw a couple of record holders, a bagpiper, and  a cyclist without a bike seat. The seat-less cyclist also tried to break a record at the show.   Children were invited  to play the bagpipes, or, monitor something with stopwatches, or, click devices, or, race to make up a potato head. (There is one on the low table).


The Festival seemed a bit slow to get into a bustling rhythm this year, partly because some of the elements of it were staggered not to clash too much with the Olympic Games. The new digital hub in the Centre of town had no  queues of festival-goers lining up for digital events in the Assembly Rooms, where, in previous years  you would have seen flows of people waiting for shows. It was all very quiet. The pop-up outdoor cafes and bars nearby were not over-subscribed with patrons. Up the hill in the Old Town where a lot of extra events seemed to be sited, it was busy.

What you see here is a newly refurbished banking hall at St Andrews Square, Edinburgh. It is gorgeous. The staff are happy for visitors to wander in and learn about the building’s history. In the front garden – a Festival venue – you could sit and eat, or under gazebos, sit and play with outsize light -weight dominoes, or, under another, lounge on large cushions and play  with large cards.


So, in Princes Street, (the main shopping street of the city) I was darting through crowded spaces when I heard the attractive sounds of music.  I back tracked and gave the guy a donation. “Stop!” he called as I was about to dash off again. He raked around in a big bag and handed me a card… except it wasn’t. He’d given me a gift of his CD “Because you are so nice”, he said.


This is busker Marcello Vacante playing a track from  his CD ‘Train For London’ .  (His name is on the CD cover)


Does anyone know anything about this type of teapot, (if it is a teapot) seen in a charity shop window?



Oooops – In a back street I  found that The Driving License Authority had been busy (DVLC stamped on the clamp).


Let me introduce you to Audrey.

P1000380-Audrey-b-Wb P1000381-Show-Over-Audrey-Wb

The last remaining vintage mobile cinema from around 1967.  Black and white Pathé News films, (remember those) were shown, a couple were of the 1947 beginnings of the Edinburgh Festival. My friend told me afterwards that she remembered going to the first festival with her mother!!!  You could have knocked me over with a feather.

This was called “The Rook”. The Game Of Thrones seemed to be a theme, does it refer to it?


It looks like a close relative of the Kelpies based in Falkirk (Scotland). However, the Kelpies don’t have reins or a feather topknot.

Scenes of Festival relaxation in Princes Street Gardens and Granny’s Drying Green below Edinburgh Castle:

P1000391-Princes-Street-Gardens-Wb P1000393-Ed-Castle-+Granny's-Washing-Green-Wb

A musical venue, where guitars  also became percussion instruments for both classical and fusion genres.


Last, but definitely not least:


A view of Edinburgh Castle with an interesting wee look-out tower and a clear view of a lump of Dolerite, a coarse-grained Basalt rock.  The Castle rock is estimated to have formed about 350 million years ago and is the remains of a volcanic pipe.

MacIvor, Iain (1993). Edinburgh Castle. p. 16. ISBN 9780713472950.

McAdam, David (2003). Edinburgh and West Lothian: A Landscape Fashioned by Geology. p. 16. ISBN 9781853973277.



11 thoughts on “Moments At The Edinburgh Festival Fringes

  1. A most enjoyable and interesting post with lovely pictures. It looks like you enjoyed yourself, and had good weather.
    My grandma had a teapot like that but I don’t know what it’s called. Audrey looks really fascinating. xx

    • Gosh, Mr F The teapot! It really is a teapot then. The same ‘rod’ features are on the back of the pot. I wondered if they were for balancing on something. Can you tell me anything about the way your grandma used, or stored her pot? Age-wise, could it be Victorian/ Edwardian, or maybe older?

      Thanks for your comments xxx

      • That’s what I was told. It stood on a dresser shelf but was never used just dusted/polished occasionally. I don’t recollect anything else about it unfortunately. I’m sure you’re right about the age. Be interesting to know more wouldn’t it. xx

      • …The life of a teapot. 🙂

        I can understand why silverware was rarely aired.

        I had an elderly neighbour in NW London, who had her Georgian tea set sitting on her attractive sideboard. The pot was a different design to the one I posted. An invitation to stay for tea always included using the set, which was placed on a trolley with tray cloth, for movement from living room to kitchen and vice-versa. Bikkies or cakes were added to the trolley and laid out on the mahogany dolly, along with the sugar bowl and milk jug and hot water pot. It was a genteel ritual, which I very much enjoyed helping her with. Once washed up, the silver tea service items were always dried before they had time to cool.

  2. I saw something about the silent disco, everyone wears headphones and dances about. To those not wearing headphones it’s abstract installation art, to the headphone wearers its freeing.

    • Can’t say I saw anything about the silent disco; it’s the kind of thing that might have come out of one of the art colleges in combination with a digital interest.

  3. I think that this is one of the best descriptions of the Edinburgh Festival I have come across, because you give an overview of the whole experience. Up until now I have just felt muddled about what goes on! It sounds like fun provided one is prepared to be discriminating about what one attends.

    • Hi Gilly,

      Yes, there is always a modicum of discrimination of choice necessary. Thank you for your lovely comment.

      Sometimes a feature is not quite what you thought it might be, this can be good or not so good. On an impulse, I sat through one Stand-Up at one of the many comedy clubs in Queen Street, . It could have been a lot worse! It was not really to my taste and the stand-up comedian and his oeuvre, I felt, were works in progress.

      The fringe shows at Festival are around 60 minutes, (categories 2-6). There was a whole batch of stuff I did not get round to exploring, it is nigh impossible to when there are literally thousands to choose from.

      ‘Bob’ a show in an upstairs room in a building at the top end of The Royal Mile, (Castle end) was a quirky, at times, amusing drama piece, with a number of indisputable Shakespearean themes running through it. ‘Bob’ fits into my category 4. It was chosen by a fourteen year old who likes Shakespeare. My other Cat.4 selected by me, was a five-handed drama called Lionel. Clever and humorous use of minimal props and a highly thought provoking piece with a dark side. The ending, though disturbing, left me with a sense of optimism.

      If you have visited Edinburgh any other time than Festival, you will be surprised at all the transformations of places used as Festival sites and the spaces that open up during Festival, which are hidden the rest of the year.

  4. What a diverse range of entertainment available, I would be dashing from event to event trying to see as much as possible. I love how you were given a complimentary CD, that’s what you get for being so sweet. I watch Game of Thrones but am baffled by the rook.
    I have a tea pot similar to the one you show, the protruding bits sit on a stand/holder which has an inbuild tea light holder which keeps the tea warm. I’ll post a pic on my next blog to show you. I bought mine many moons ago in an antique shop, I think it’s

  5. I am interested in your teapot arrangement, though puzzled by tea-light, which is a relatively recent idea. I have a metal stand for a rectangular Pyrex serving dish, now long gone, that takes two tea lights. It was given to me in the early 1970’s.

    I am no expert on agéd teapots. My thinking is, the late Victorians, in some spheres of their society, gained access to oil and gas lamps, then electric light arrived in the early 20th century, Candle light, I believe, was quite expensive. I don’t know how oil was come by, but I wonder if the temperature of the contents of such a teapot may have been assisted by the warmth of oil, much as old Samovars could have been.

    I had a eureka moment about ‘The Rook’. I think it relates to Harry Potter, in particular the book where he and his two friends have to mount animal chess pieces and play as those pieces to gain access to the door on the other side of the chess board. (I’ll need to check which book that was). It would make sense as JK Rowling wrote hear first book in Edinburgh; she’s a graduate of Edinburgh University and now has an honorary Doctorate from the uni. Also, there is a well-publicized theatrical production on in London, which, may one day do the rounds.

    Thanks for your thought provoking and interesting comment SB.

    • Ahha! Reading this sent me off to check the teapot and stand….guess what? You’re spot on, it’s an oil lamp that would hold oil and a wick… not a tea light holder at all! I haven’t looked at it in an age…..another senior moment! I’ll post a pic for you. Glad you sorted the rook, that had me utterly

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