SHIPS AND BOATS AND PLANES……..SPROUT WINGS

My surface mail to Canada and America went off in time for the last surface mail posting date in mid October 2016.

The packages would take minimum four weeks and a maximum of five weeks to arrive, said the post office clerk.  

The stated timing was perfect; early slow mailing is economic and in any case, there was plenty of time for slow delivery.  The packages could have taken six weeks to arrive and still been in time.

Five days after posting, I received my first thank you email for my gift.   It was soon followed up by a second one……………. Ships, coach and horses, obviously sprout wings.

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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).

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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.

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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.

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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?

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

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Let me introduce you to Audrey.

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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?

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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:

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

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Last, but definitely not least:

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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.

References:
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.

 

POWERFUL WORDS

Some of you from BCUK may remember Guinevere Glasford-Brown. Since those blog days, she has become a published author and got a Best Book review from The Times Literary Reviews as well.  Last week I heard she was in Brussels.  Also, last week, I heard she was safe.  I breathed again.  Atrocities are painful to hear about, and heaven only knows, we have heard about so many; too many. When you know of someone who may be caught up in an atrocity you are seized by an indescribable, awful sensation, which, muscles you did not know you had, hold down.  Guin was fortunate in her travels, others were not.  Since arriving home, she has written about some of her post trauma feelings on her Facebook Page, to get her feelings out.  Her words talk of her irritation with  family, they indicate her anger and emotional pain at what has been done to people….to people by people. Her words are powerful.

What Guin says applies to all the atrocities we hear of, be they of large groups or individuals, such as the Moslem shop-keeper in Glasgow who was murdered because he wished his customers and Christian friends a happy festival.

It is so sad, so sad.

 

PLAYING WITH THE ADVENT OF E-CALENDARS.

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There I was, after the New Year,  parked in front of my computer screen catching up with my present of  an e-Advent Calendar.  There were about ten days of catch-up. There are some windows to open with very clever creative work to do.  You decorate a Christmas tree, or, decide where to hang stockings for filling.  Then there was the window that hooks you in to play a memory game of matching up cards. With my less than alert grey matter, it took a long  but enjoyable time  to complete.  I was nearly timed out!

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From November on through December is a busy time, so, play time is hard to justify to myself.  It’s nice, but just hard to fit in with all the other domestic demands. I reckon I have more administration to do for daily living than I used to have when I was at work!  How can that be?

I clicked through the days not yet explored, (to paraphrase a well known quote), listened to pretty brass band seasonal music; Christmas Carols; classics like the dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy, and scrolled through the main animated 19th century scenes, busy with all sorts of delightful activities. That’s it done!  Well……no it wasn’t.  A date which I had missed,  with a logo, was blinking at me.  You can’t ignore it can you;  you can I suppose, but I didn’t.  I clicked on the winking date and was given a jigsaw puzzle to do, timed of course. I chose the maximum number of pieces on offer.  If a piece fitted it clicked into place, if it didn’t, it jumped out like a jack-in-a-box. I completed the puzzle in one minute and forty-three seconds.  Now, that was a surprise. And yes, this time, that was it…..all done!

 

OF SANTA AND ELVES

1.To Sender

A quiet knock at the door at tea time when it was dark, revealed a man dressed all over in red.  He proffered me a box. What gave him away was the electronic signing machine in his hand. There was no doubt he was a 21st century e-Santa.  I think his elves were getting a lift in his reduced sized  square covered carriage. (Austerity measures).   It kept them out of the damp and cold.  e-Santa loved my hat, he said.

The wee elves have been pestering me to open up the box. Being sensitive to their demands, I did so, with the assistance of the large elf who resides here.  Nestling within the box were several beautiful packages. I have explained to the elves that for the time being, the packages will stay pristine and  reside in the big box in which they arrived.  Having found a ‘from’ label on the box, we know that you instructed the man in red and the little elfen people to endow us with this visitation and the gifts.  For this we mightily thank you.

2. From Sender

Glad it arrived OK. Given the way the weather’s been, I did ask Santa to take extra care. He asked, “Why?”. I replied, ” It looks like rain, dear”.

FUN DAY

Fun day is when the festive lights are switched on. It is the day that most of the local shops put out treats for both little and big kids.  A number of shops will give shopping discounts. A raffle ticket may be on offer for something connected with the business, for no more than stepping over the threshold of the shop. I was offered a cup of coffee  and a sweet in an outdoor sports shop.

Reindeers were in a  pen with lots of straw at one end of the precinct. Children could have pictures taken with them. Encircling the pen were  very happy families in an orderly queue.

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Many of the shop staff dress up to a theme. I didn’t guess the Strictly Come (acrobatic ballroom) Dancing  ‘competitors’ in the hardware store, even though one lady looked drop dead gorgeous in a sleek evening dress.

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Cinderella, The Ugly Sisters, Prince Charming and The Fairy Godmother, appeared behind the baker shop counter.

“What can I get you?” asked the fairy godmother.

Me -“A glass slipper please“.

FG -looking  quite perplexed…….”What?”

Me- “A glass slipper please“.

FG -“You’ll have to get Cinderella over  for that…anything else?”

I pointed to a round wholemeal loaf, which FG wrapped in a small paper bag- I love bread wrapped in the good old fashioned paper bag -paid my dues and was offered a free raffle ticket for their draw.

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70 MPH WINDS – FESTIVAL GOING IN EDINBURGH, SCOTLAND, IN AUGUST 2015

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?

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 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.

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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

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A puppet act with a difference

 

 

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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.

 

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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.

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NOT HOME BUT HERE

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.

A BAPTISM WITH EXTRA FLOURISHES

A post by GillyK about a ‘riotous’ baptismal service got me thinking.

I was a mature student. In those days it meant I was twenty-five years old, or more. A relative youngster really. I was approached by a woman I had got to know, who asked if I would be a godparent to her baby daughter. Being very honest, she told me I was not a first choice because she thought I would not want to be involved in a Christian religious celebration. There were two sets of godparents and one couple had excused themselves. The baby was going to be Christened in the local cathedral, but only because the local church was closed for refurbishing. Of course, they were delighted with the upgrade. It did mean though, that the baptism was going to be incorporated into the main service; again, they were content.

These were the days before personal computers were even on the horizon, anyones horizon, and no ordinary mortal owned a mobile phone. I don’t think they had been invented then. …And no, I was not born in the 19th century!!

I wanted to speak to the local priest, or, a Cathedral priest, about the invitation to be a godparent given my heathen status. I was not and am not a member of the church. I needed to know if my position was acceptable; also, what would be expected of me? The conversations were very pleasant and centred on how I felt about making the commitment to stand in for the parents, if that need were to arise and to bring the child up in the Christian faith.

Because it was Easter time there were a few extra service ‘flourishes’. In total three babies were Christened sequentially during the service. The congregation looked on. I remember many smiling faces. We all exited the Cathedral with the throng to beautiful sunshine.

I am in contact with my god-daughter to this day. I have not seen her for years, but we have spoken, occasionally exchange emails and there’s always a little package at Christmas. She is an adult now with a family of her own. From what I glean, I am the only godparent of those given the role, who maintained contact.