The end of the Edinburgh Festival (and I feel fine)

So it’s the final weekend of the Edinburgh Fringe! Thank goodness. Fun though it has been, it’s time for life to calm down again… or at least time to start drinking a little less and sleeping a little more.

I did a post halfway through the Fringe, about some of my highlights at that stage, and I’ve already done one over-emotional post about some of the lovely people I encountered throughout August, but here are some of my other festival moments I haven’t had a chance to ramble about yet.

Nom Nom

We might as well get the food chat out of the way. Lord knows you’ve probably worked out by now that the only think I enjoy more than eating is writing about eating. Next year I’m determined to spend an entire day wandering from food stall to food stall, trying everything that the Fringe has to offer. This year I only made it to one or two old favourites, but found time to taste the offerings at a couple of new stalls too.

The fabulous Passion 4 Juice bar had been moved from its usual spot outside the Gilded Balloon to a new, much quieter, location on the south side of George Square. They were rightfully indignant at being bumped down the culinary pecking order. From what I overheard, while I was subtly eavesdropping on the muttering punters outside Teviot, the indignation was twofold, and Passion 4 Juice’s presence was much missed in that part of town. Irrespective of Edinburgh’s geographical politics, though, their fresh, zingy smoothies with shots of ginseng and echinacea remain awesome… If you need to recover from over-indulging in their evening offerings (Hot Apple Cider) then I recommend the watermelon, pineapple and mint.

The strawberry and Nutella crepes at C Too provided some sweet and very welcome warmth for DorkySon and me as we queued for a show in the rain. We made almost daily visits to the Mackies Ice Cream bike, shared several hummus and carrot sandwiches in the Pleasance Courtyard, and thought we’d found our favourite festival food when we had the lamb burger from the lovely Outsider people in George Square. BUT… that was before we’d found the Laughing Stock stall tucked away in a corner under the purple head of the Udderbelly. Not just the tastiest burger and chips I can remember eating at the Festival, but the tastiest burger and chips I can remember eating anywhere in a long, long time. I really hope they’ll be back next year.

Earworms

“Sure!” I said. “I’ll do the kids shows! One a day for the entire Fringe.”

Little did I know that I was exposing myself to some of the most persistent earworms known to man. I owe a large and sincere apology to the numerous festivalgoers who have caught me wandering around the city, pushing DorkySon in his pram, belting out songs from whatever kiddy theatre performance I’ve just left.  My voice is not the best. In fact, it’s pretty horrendous. Normally I mime when singing Happy Birthday at family parties. But still…

“I am a mole… and I know… that it is none of my business.”

“Hairy Maclary…. from Donaldson’s Dairy.”

And my enduring favourite… “Stick Man” – pause – “lives in the family tree” – pause – “with his stick lady love, and stick children three.”

Cue jazzhands.

Perhaps by this time next year they’ll have stopped going round, and round, and round in my head. And I’ll be ready for Toddler Tunes Take Two. Bring your earplugs in 2012, people.

Loveliness

If the downside of reviewing kids shows is earworms, then the upside is meeting some of the nicest people at the Festival. I’ve already rumbled on about meeting John Hegley, and being taken aback by how lovely and normal he was. My second interview was science communicator and BBC presenter Marty Jopson. If he’d not had another interview and a performance to do, I would have happily sat under an umbrella in George Square and chatted to him all day. He was interesting! Self-deprecating! Smart, funny, and kind! Obviously he hadn’t received the memo instructing him to display all his performer lanyards prominently and act like a complete arse.

I thought encountering two nice performers was already pushing the boundaries of possibility… and then I found myself reviewing Kevin Cruise. I expected to hate it. I actually loved it. And because I was the only reviewer who bothered to show up to the Bosco Tent in the middle of the afternoon to see him, KC was terribly grateful. I woke up, the morning after my review was published, to a lovely email from him saying thank you.

It was all very civilised indeed. If I am lucky enough to be given the opportunity next year, I will definitely be sticking with the Kids section.

DorkySon upstages his Dad

So I’d made plans to meet a friend for coffee in the Forest Café, not realising that DorkyDad was doing a poetry reading in there the same day, as part of the 36 hour No Sleep In Bristo event. We showed up just as he was coming to the end of his set  – DorkySon couldn’t even see his Dad, as a decent-sized audience and a dividing wall blocked his view – but he sure as heck heard him.

“DADA!” he yelled!

“Shhh…” I whispered. “Daddy’s reading his poems.”

“LET ME OUT, MAMA!”

“Let’s just listen for a minute.”

“I WANT TO SEE DADA”

“In a minute…”

“WHERE IS DADA? DAAAADAAAAAA? WHERE ARE YOU?”

So I let DorkySon out of his pram; just as DorkyDad was starting to read a poem about him. He rushed up, snuggled into his Dad’s legs for a minute, did a couple of twirls for the audience, just to make sure he’d been noticed, and then scooted back over to me. He doesn’t like to be the centre of attention for too long, DorkySon, but he likes to know that you’ve noticed him.

My other highlights, in no particular order, are: The Incredible Book Eating Boy; meeting up with old university friends; Bubblewrap and Boxes; walking along Jawbone Walk and seeing lots of eggs hanging from the trees; a very temporary exhibition of canvases, hammered to the trees, also on Jawbone Walk; overhearing someone tell John Malkovich that their favourite film of his was Con Air; the colour John Malkovich’s face turned when he heard that; hearing my sweet DorkySon say ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ everywhere we went; the Fest end-of-festival staff meal, even though I bailed out to go to bed at 9.30pm; getting squashed on the bus by an embarrassed looking man with a tuba; Fest’s Kid Critics; being very proud of DorkyDad for his show; seeing the outpouring of love for the Forest Café; being grown-up enough that I don’t feel the need to wear my press pass anymore; someone at the BBC saying to my husband “You’re married to DorkyMum? She’s a legend!”

A Quiet Week (ha!)

Sorry it’s been such a quiet week on here… here are my excuses for the lack of posts.

1. We are still recovering from last weekend’s wedding in Ireland.

2. I’ve been a bit wiped out – on a combination of codeine and antibiotics – because I’ve had an infected wisdom tooth. Ouch. If anyone has had their wisdom teeth out, please share your experiences (although not the gory details…) in the comments, to help me make my mind up about whether to do the same.

3. DorkySon’s sleep is the worst it has been since he was a newborn. Hello again 3am wakeups! And 5am too! And no daytime nap anymore! Urgh. I’m hoping it’s just the light nights, and come the dark Scottish winter he’ll back to his twelve hours a night again…

4. I’ve been writing guest posts instead of posts for my own blog. Lovely Scribbling Mum is taking a well-earned break next week, and I’ll have something up on her site on Tuesday. And I’ve been paired up with Sylwia Presley‘s excellent parenting, photography and tech blog for the BritMums blog match up, so I should have something up there next week too.

5. I’ve been helping DorkyDad get ready for his PBH Free Fringe Show – Young Dawkins – What I Know About Women So Far. Writing press releases, doing online questionnaires, chasing printers, emailing friends, creating Facebook event pages… so much going on and his run doesn’t even start for another fortnight! The spoken word section of the Fringe, and especially the Free Fringe, looks really good this year. I’m hoping to have time for a post this coming week detailing some of the shows I’m most excited about seeing.

6. And on that note, my biggest excuse for the lack of posts is that I’ve been trying to wrap my head around all the children’s shows at the Fringe, in preparation for my role as Kids Editor for Fest magazine. While I’m certainly not complaining about being asked to do such a fab job, and I’m looking forward to seeing some of the shows with DorkySon, the prep work is time consuming and doesn’t really play to my natural strengths! Writing reviews – oh aye! Trying to pull together a review schedule for our six kiddy reviewers, and plan the pages for the five editions of Fest that will be published in the space of fifteen days?! Mmm, not so much! That said, the Preview edition was published this week, and looks fantastic. For a round up of the children’s shows, split into age ranges to make it easier to choose, check it out online here. And if you’re a visitor to Edinburgh and want to know the best places to eat, drink and escape the Festival crowds, check out this feature. And let that information act as my notice that it’s also likely to be pretty quiet on here over August…

7. Just to prove I’m not a total moaning Minnie, I’ll also share my highlight of the week, which was receiving an email from a friend overseas. She said that she’d just sat down and caught up with my life via this blog, and that it was almost as good as sitting down with me in person and catching up over a large glass of wine. Definitely the best blog compliment I’ve been paid so far, so thanks A!