Edinburgh and all those shows…

I had great fun in Edinburgh on my annual trip to Scotland to enjoy the Festival Fringe- the world’s largest arts festival. It’s only four and half to five hours train ride to Edinburgh through some lovely scenery including views across Durham and the cathedral, Berwick and the coast. You have to go in August as that’s when Edinburgh goes mad with at least 4 festivals at once and well over 2000 shows to chose from. The big challenge is how many to fit into one visit without getting overload and the trick is to mix up comedy, theatre and musical shows during the day. There are shows on all day and late into the night and we managed to get to 8 in all (1 play, 2 music plays, 4 comedians and 1 singer) plus a book reading by Fatima Bhutto and a recording of a radio show – would have been 9 but one theatrical piece over ran badly which was annoying and hard to work out how it happened. The radio show was cut short due to a fire alarm but was good fun with Fred McCauley interviewing a range of comedians from new comers like Paul Sinha to pros like Ardal O’Hanlon, Adam Hills Paul Merton. The photos are of the famous purple Udderbelly tent, 2 views of the wonderful castle and skyline and one of a restaurant – they have a Restaurant in the Sky where a platform is hoisted up on a crane and meals and drinks served with a fabulous view. The view of the skyline was taken from Oloroso’s bar, set atop a building on George Street it is a great place to take a breather from the shows and enjoy great views and snacks. It’s a place we’d wanted to go to for years but the weather had not been quite good enough but this year there was sunshine almost all the time and Edinburgh looked gorgeous. Our other good eatery was the Dome, a converted bank with a magnificent domed ceiling where no expense was spared and which is now a great setting for Sunday lunch.

I didn’t spend much time in London this week but did have time for one cultural excursion to the Camille Silvry exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery. He (despite the expectations set by the name) was a French photographer who set up a portrait studio in Bayswater, just near where I live, and developed techniques that we marvelled. The photo which forms part of the brochure in this photo, is a combination of 4 different shots, merged seamlessly to give the clear figures in the foreground against the murky fog behind. He had a great sense of the theatrical and he became well loved of the London theatre scene and photographed many stars of the time as well as working under the patronage of Queen Victoria which gave him access to the upper reaches of society. His 10 year burst of creativity sadly ended in an asylum but left an amazing legacy. We revived ourselves at the excellent National Cafe where a light snack a glass of wine was the perfect accompaniment.
One more restaurant moment to mention was another great lunch at the Electric Brasserie – steak frites and a glass of red makes me feel Parisien and happy with the world!
Bye for now,