A new year and I feel as if I have lost the art of succinct writing, or, neatly saying what I mean.  I envy just a teensy weensy bit, the writers who can encapsulate a major thought, or a vital description into a few apt words.  To paraphrase an historical giant of the written word, I feel, if I become tired of writing I will be tired of observing and participating in life. That would be just too immense an emasculation of  my senses to contemplate.

Perhaps it is the gentle warmth of spontaneous creativity I want.  You could say that writing anything, be it a business letter, or business email is being creative. They are hardly communications for which you would usually create poetic prose: but, why shouldn’t they be?  An answer to the question is, it rests on the purpose for which they are written and how the communications flow.  The writing voice depends whether there is a demand upon you to write as opposed to  responding to a natural urge to write.


Airy Fairy Wonderland Alice…Bouncy Clown-ess and LED LADY


The woman in the red coat adorned with bright LED fairy lights, looked at the bakery goods displayed in the glass covered counter in  front of her, every -so- often checking her mobile phone.   Like her, I waited too.  We continued to wait…and wait.  LED lady  looked up at me and we exchanged smiles.  Two other women, dressed up for the local fun day, were serving at the far end of the counter, which provided for the Baker shop café customers.  At our end of the counter- sales – a young girl dressed up as Alice In Wonderland,(AIW) had her back to us; she studiously ignored everyone. The high visibility lady covered with sparkly LED lights glanced at her phone once more and then left the shop.  Alice in Wonderland looked round, glanced at me, then turned back to whatever it was she was doing, writing, I think.


I conjected that if I waited a few more moments I just might be served. I knew what I wanted to buy, it was pre-wrapped, so, it was just a question of selling it to me.  I thought my patience was being rewarded when a clown-ess, (one of the duo of staff attending to the café) bouncily arrived opposite me……. My mistake, she was involved in playing a game of choices for someone in the café, who, incidentally, arrived in the shop the same time as I did.



Excuse me, can the assistant over there serve me? I pointedly asked.  Clown-ess raised herself on tip-toes to peer over AIW’s shoulder.


Clown-ess -said, She’s busy doing shop admin”. With that she rushed away and with a smile called out Someone will be with you soon”.  

Me – Looking directly at Clown-ess at the far end………I’m going; that’s two customers you have just lost”.  And I went.


This is not the first time me and other customers have walked from this shop.  There are two other similar business in the same vicinity that have gained from the chaotic customer service. Goodwill is fading fast.



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.



The sun is shining, it is warm outside.  I am inside, I don’t mind because I am in the amazing position of watching men working who take a real pride in what they do. The preparation for laying large floor panels was painstaking and was mathematically creative.


It was great to watch both the drawing out of the various points the joiner wanted to work on and  seeing the actual work to finish the job he’d planned for.  The young plumber  arrived, set about his work very conscientiously, listening to what we required and checking with his team mate what other work had to be done. He was very careful, double-checking every pipe, every joint that he had neatly installed. He came to life when his work was appreciated.




The joiner, who is the lead person in this work, rarely stops. He is obviously house-trained, tidying up as he goes, sweeping any building residue into piles, which, will get sucked up into an industrial vacuum cleaner. There are a couple of other tradesmen due to arrive this week, it will be fascinating to compare how they operate.

The electrician was a bit grumpy, but a cup of coffee soon softened him up. The joiner guided our chat with him and all was well.  Again, a really careful tidy bit of installation.


I think we’ll be topsy -turvy till the weekend. After that, I hope I shall be able to move back into my kitchen.  Meantime, the kettle has been well used and the toaster has done a sterling job, when I can find the things I want to toast!



It’s tea time and it is late October, I am looking through the pitted glass; it’s pitted with the salt spray that has gusted around on stormy wet winds, winds gusting at about 70 miles per hour today.  Memories of a fine pleasant Edinburgh in August this year, seem unreal on this rip roaring weather day;  it feels like it was a really long time ago.  The Edinburgh Fringe Festival, The International Festival, (main stream theatre) and  the Edinburgh International Book Festival, all ‘colluded’ to start simultaneously this year. I thought it was fantastic. Virtually the whole of the city centre and many nearby suburbs buzzed with Festival. 

My shoulder and neck ached from carrying my camera,  so, there were some days as a festival-goer I gave ‘me’ a rest.  A couple of times I saw the most fascinating person, or, action, and I had nothing with which to physically record the moment. You never know what wonders there will be at Festival.  It sometimes works in your favour focussing your eyes 100% and chatting with people, like, when I climbed on a bus one afternoon and sitting facing me was the most stunningly made-up young man, who was on his way to perform in a cabaret act. Exquisite feathers of shiny and many coloured hues, for eyelashes, fluttered at me.  He had fine very pale pink lips and a white face.  All of this theatrical beauty was crowned with dressed fiery curly auburn hair. “You look wonderful“,  I found myself blurting out.  I know he was surprised, it showed. He was also pleased and he thanked me. I sat next to a woman in the seat in front of him and  there began a  friendly three-way conversation. The man rifled around in his capacious handbag, also part of the theatrical wardrobe, to find me a card for his fringe venue. Well, you can’t remember every little thing can you. No card I’m afraid, but, I did learn that the eyes transformation took about an hour and a more careful application (!!!) required about two and a half hours.

I wonder what this glorious ‘lady-in-waiting ‘ is loitering for.  Maracas perhaps?


 The Royal Mile, is about a mile to walk; the top end has the iconic Edinburgh Castle and at the lower end you arrive at Holyrood Palace, where the Queen stays when in Edinburgh.   The top end was closed off to through-traffic during Festival.  With the good weather most days, snapshot fringe performances took place.


There was all this activity  at the top end, near the castle.  Manipulating a puppet while playing a violin – what a brilliant act!

The cyclist in the picture above is a mime artist and is not moving.

Here below, onlookers filming and taking photos of the puppeteer and her fiddler



A puppet act with a difference




A quarter of the way down…. this group had a regular longer performance at an indoor venue. Here on The Mile they were providing a taster of their act.  They worked their audience well and a good crowd gathered.



And more….  the boards, like the one in this picture to the left of the stage, gives the  schedules of free Fringe acts throughout the day at the various similar stage venues here.  This is just a wee snapshot of one day at The Festival when I was wandering around exploring what was happening on The Royal Mile. There was a lot more to find in many different places.



I’ve been a bit busy being one of the millions of people at the Edinburgh Festivals, which, is why I have neglected writing here. Once I get home, unpacked and am re-orientated, (the way things look that could take some time) and sort out my photos, I will  tap the keys again.

The August weather was very kind to Edinburgh this year, for one thing, there were no monsoons!  There were very occasional momentary showers; it was warm by my standards and I revelled in wearing my short sleeved tops and cropped trousers that had not seen the light of day for two years…..at home it has been just too cold to even think of wearing lightweight clothes, or, exposing an ankle or a forearm.

Performers from Englanf kept saying how cold the temperatures were. They must have been basking in heat, such as we are not at all familiar with.  Never mind, I ‘m sure those people will have acclimatised when it’s time for them to depart.


Yay! We’ve had our first two half days of real warm summery weather. Yesterday the temperatures rose from about lunchtime. I beetled off to a garden centre to find some interesting outdoor plant pots.  Two that took my fancy were really meant for hanging on a wall.  I had other plans.  One pot was quite like a Roman amphora.

Amphora Plant pot

The pots were planted up and left to adjust to their new surroundings overnight. These plants looked quite settled and hopefully, are raring to grow.

This morning I was busy and  also for a large part of this afternoon.  By mid afternoon clouds obscured summer skies, but, it remained warm. It was however, very, very windy.  It’s sods law isn’t it. The neighbour’s sheep were sheared today, when the shearers had finished the temperature dropped. Then it rained!

This one appears to lean forward, which, perhaps is what it might do if it were attached to a wall. I nipped out to snap pictures quickly in a bit of a rain lull. The raindrops show up well  🙂


Westerly winds are really blowing the ‘Million Bells’ plant to one side. I am hoping it will take firm root, spread and trail over the sides of the pot, if the weather gives it half a chance.  Should the winds persist, I might have to think about moving the plant pot to a more protected spot.  At present the pot is quite high up and resting against a wall.


I looked at about a dozen posts today, all from contributors to WordPress who are new to me.  As I passed on to the next, then the next,  it occurred to me that just two or three posts invited comments.  A few only invited ‘likes’ and linked to other social media sites; others were statements either in words or pictures on a page.  I wondered if they were meant to be found, might my glimpses of them be intrusive.  There are writers who never venture forth from their own blog platforms, though they will reply to a commenter.  Call me old fashioned, I do mingle,  enjoying the mutual sharing and social contact that it generates.

On reflection. I questioned whether writing ‘blanks’ was what a lot of people did today and if so, why. It opens up a lot of conjecture with no way of gaining any direct answers.  One way communication is not intercommunication; it is, I grant you, communicating…but what?   Still I come back to my central question, why?

There was one post I came across that was a friendly, descriptive, sharing one, on which, I was able to and did leave a comment.



A friend suggested that while I was immobilised, I could think about doing some sketching. It is something I have not taken a notion to do for more years than I can remember. I liked the idea and gave it some thought.

Hubby has enough to do responding to almost my every whim and supervising me when wobbling on the crutches. Before you ask, no, I have not mastered them. Trying to move short distances on the crutches gives the palms of my hands a break from the pressure pain, caused by hopping with a zimmer frame. Notwithstanding my limitations, some strategies for being a bit independent are evolving.

Sketching. First of all I would have to send hubby to find the materials. I am not sure where they are. I remember buying a video about sketching, colouring skills and ideas, to go with some lovely Keswick pencils, before such things were recorded onto CD’s and DVD’s. This would be a great opportunity to get on with watching it, but……….for the moment, we are both having quite a lot of domestic changes to adjust to, without adding layers to them.

Inspiration: why don’t I download some arty apps onto my iPad – so I did. There were a couple of free ones that did not appeal, one tried to suck you into cloud storage with Adobe. There are two apps that I decided upon. One is free the other I paid a nominal asking price. If I don’t get on with either of them, there won’t have been a large investment.

I have't worked out how to upload this in the correct orientation, but, you are able to see my very first attempts at creating with digital art.

I have’t worked out how to upload this in the correct orientation, but, you are able to see my very first attempts at creating with digital art.

Digital art creation on an iPad is strange. It feels like there is less control over the progress of an opus. There is obviously a technique to master. Of course, all these apps are sooooo eeeeasy to understand. I am still working out how to save what I do and find it again. You erase something, you get the outline of the erasure when you apply your correction. The best I can say so far, ( early days yet) I have the time and space to experiment and hopefully, improve. Also a couple of hours disappeared while I tried to acquaint myself with digital sketching. One thing I am really good at is using the eraser.