Supper tonight was at the Olive Branch, a Mediterranean style restaurant. Did the three courses. Afterwards met Ed to see a show on the Royal Mile. It is called the Free Fringe. Four comedians performed, unfortunately missed hearing the first, because of the poor sound system, and also we were standing by a fan. Very good show by a very young black comedian, and finally an excellent stand by Paul Sinha, he is an Asian Gay comedian who loves football. He has a show at the Pleasance Courtyard.
Back to work today, a shock to the system. Ate a curry at Zest. Tried to keep the quantities down by not eating rice. Good meal though. Met up with Ed Aldridge after the meal, and visited the Stand, where we can some standby tickets to see two hours of ablib stand up comedy by Andy Parsons and another Scottish comedian. They were commenting on all the events of the world, and took turns. First I heard of the Asians being thrown off the flight from Malaga. That is how topical their show was.
Up again late, had a cup of coffee and a croissant in a nearby café. One event booked for the afternoon, and that was a Russian Clown Mimes from St. Petersbourg. The show was called the family. It is basically about a family of four children, their mother and alcoholic father. The father was always trying to leave home, only to be reconciled with his family. The children were always playing tricks on their parents. I won’t say any more, because I would not want to spoil the fun, though expect plenty of audience participation.
The evening was spent at the Saltire, and a meal in the nearby pizza establishment.
Bit of a lie in today. It is amazingly quite in Ed’s flat. The only sound being the seagulls outside. I walked up to the Royal Mile, and sat outside the Jolly Judge pub drinking coffee and posting my Blog entries. After this period of reflection, I went to the Art Gallery and viewed the Scottish pictures, then onto the Royal Scottish Academy to view the exhibition by Ron Mueck. The exhibition was of larger, and smaller than life sculptures of people. They are all modelled with great detail, including skin pores, hair.
After this amazing exhibition, I went to the National Trust building, The Georgian House, in Charlotte Square. Amazing house, and very chatty staff. One was rather to chatty, and I was not sure if this was her usual way of talking, or whether she was acting the part.
Met up with Ravi and Maggie at the George Hotel, where we had a meal in the Tempus restaurant with his Indian family. Very nice setting, we sat on a rais! ed platform at the head of the restaurant. After the meal, we visited the Saltaire pub for a drink, and listened to a one man band. He played very well. At throwing out time, I went back to the flat, except as I passed the Stand Comedy club I popped in to see the last three acts. I saw Eleanor Tiernan, Brendon Burns, and Boothby Graffoe. Excellent acts, and Brendon was very funny
The weather was still wet; think it rained most of the day and evening. Started of with a drink and lunch in Tiles to say a final farewell to Yura. At the end of the day, I popped over to Millets to buy a sleeping bag, I was going to stay up in Edinburgh and was staying in Ed’s flat.
At around 6, met Ravi Kanbur, and Norman Housley for a drink and a meal. Absolutely masses of family started to turn up. The meal was rather a rushed affair, service was slow, Ravi was desperate to go and pick up his family from the airport, Norman was desperate to go to get to the show on time.
I accompanied Ravi to the number 100 bus, and then I went on to Whistle Binkies to see a couple of bands. First band was a goodish rock band, enjoyed them, no idea who they were. The next might have been, good, but were not my style.
So left there and went to the Underbelly to see a show, Not really sure what to see, decided to see Rud! e Girls ay 11.50. Rude Girls were a number of women stand up comedians. No very good, I would not recommend them.
The walk back through town was an experience for us country bumkins. The streets were buzzing with people, the police were out in large numbers controling the drunken hordes.
Back to Ed’s flat, rain has now stopped.
Tonight I went out with Yura Usvyat, Ed Aldridge, Mary Devine and Jo Kelly. Yura was leaving the bank, and this was his fare well drink and meal.
Evening started in the sun, outside Tiles with many other people. We then went to the Petit Folie, a French Restaurant at 61 Frederick Street. Busy, but were able to accommodate us. We all ate well. French, very much like the Petit Paris, staff the restaurant. All the food comes from a very small kitchen. These French Restaurants who seeming can produce 100’s of meals in an evening from minute kitchens with two chefs, impress me.
The evening was young, so off to a bar, The Jam House, with life music. Think a good band had been playing, but had just finished. The next was a covers band, we had a good laugh at the people who were attempting to dance. Never seen any thing so funny. Then onto a gay bar. By this time, the weather had deteriorated, and I was getting drenched in the rain.
The feeling of Internet withdrawal symptoms set in today, so went to the Mai Thai for supper and to access the Internet. The Mai Thai Restaurant is a short walk from the centre towards the parliament. Easiest way to find it is to walk down Cowgate, and Holyrood road. When you reach the newspaper building, (on the right), and the Tun, (on the left), turn left up the alley between the Tun, and the Pizza restaurant. The Mai Thai is on the right. On entering, I was asked if I had a blog. The owner had been browsing the Internet, and was looking for sites that mentioned the Mai Thai or linked to his site. They had found my site, and were trying to work out who the blogger was.
The Mai Thai has two distinct sections, a large dining area with modern furniture, a light and airy feel to the room. It can cater for large parties, or romantic meals.
The other area, is a large bar wi! th pool table, TV screen showing football, wireless broad band, and a couple of PCs. There are various modern tables and sofas where you can sit and drink, or eat a meal. Décor is modernistic, with large paintings on the wall. I like to eat here, its informal, I can watch the TV, or work in peace on my laptop while eating. I am never disturbed, other than having my glass refilled.
I ate one course tonight, and it was the duck. I ate this last time when I was with Rosemary. It is absolutely gorgeous. It is braised sliced duck breast served with a thick spicy sauce. I don’t know what it is called, but it’s my favourite.
Today was cloudy, but no rain at least. Met up with Ed Aldridge at Whistle Binkies for a pint, just inside happy hour. Then full of indecision we decided on a venue to see a fringe show. Decided on the Smirnoff Underbelly location on Cowgate for no other reason than it was nearest. Next it was, what show? Having just had a flier for a stand up comedian with an offer of 2 for 1, and starting in a few minutes, the decision was made. So we saw Rob Heeney. http://www.robheeney.com Despite the random choice of show, we ended up with a really good comedian.
Afterwards a few pints at the Bo bar, and then some fish and chips.
We went off to Ikea to buy a small cupboard. Did the usual tour through the show rooms, located the cupboard, noted its flat pack location. Then had lunch of one dish of Swedish meatballs with two forks.
Of course the cupboard was not available, out of stock.
Now it was on to Luton to pick up my car. As we entered the drive to the car park, I suddenly realised there was a serious snag. I had not brought the car key with me. So back home, no missions accomplished.
Next day we successfully picked the car up from Luton.
Spent some of the day deciding whether to try and get back home, or book a hotel for the weekend. Tried to book a hotel, but they were all over 100 pounds, and out of the centre. My flight back to Luton was cancelled, as seemingly all London Edinburgh flights were. No problem getting a flight back to Birmingham. Actually travel was easy, the flight was a third full, left on time, the departure hall of the airport was empty, the security checks were quick. This is how flying should be. From Birmingham I took a train to Banbury, with the intention of catching a connecting service to Bicester. Alas the Virgin train to Banbury was running late, so missed the connection. Rosemary drove out to pick me up.
5th August 2006
Back at home, our field had been mown, and turned into hay. Today it was baled and carted away.
Flew up to Scotland from Luton. The airport was in absolute chaos at the security. At least 30 minute queue. No idea what would happened if there were some form of high security alert.
Stayed at the Apex City this week. It has been a long time since staying there. Ate at the Petit Paris.
Tonight I ate at the Mussel and Steak, quite a good meal of Monk Fish. I just love watching the TV screens, which show the chefs working in the kitchens live. Must admit I never see my food being cooked
Tonight it was the Petit Paris again, where I had a beautiful steak.
Didn’t feel like going out, so stayed in at the hotel, rather a mistake, the meal was a bit lack lustre.
The mobile home has now gone. The new owner decided he could not move it, so he burnt it down. Two fire engines, and the police arrived. Very luckily the wind was blowing the right way, otherwise probably some of the other house’s could have been damaged. The flames leapt high into the air, clouds of black smoke and sparks were blown acroos the builds. Again luck was that these did not catch fire. Rosemary failed to take any pictures, something to do with not being able to operate the point and click camera.
Selina, Graham and I went to see Guns N Roses play at the Wembley Arena. The first band, Skid Row, started to play at 7.00. American Rock band, very anti George Bush and Tony Blair, kept referring to them as Tony Bush and George Blair. Next was Bullet for My Valentine, a British band who had been touring with GNR for the European Tour. AT 10.30 GNR started, and the place went wild, no one was left standing at all. The show ended at midnight. Axel Rose was taken ill during the show and did not perform the last set, with Paradise City. Instead front man Sebastian Bach from Skid Row performed. It was reported that the show almost did not happen. Axel had been advised not to.
Some good news though, we exchanged and completed on the sale of Mobile Home land. This has been a thorn in our side for a couple of years now. We (together with neighbours) were forced into buying the land and mobile at an exorbitant amount, the alternative was to be faced with a gypsy encampment and wholesale flouting of planning regulations. We managed to sell a small building plot, (replacing the existing mobile home), allowing us to recoup some of the money. We have come out of this a lot poorer, but at least without a mass of caravans etc next to us. So at least, with luck, all our house prices have not been depressed.
I have finished another whole week in Edinburgh. This time travel was a little easier than the previous week. Travel was almost on time. Return flight was a little late, so was unable to make the party at New Horizons the new gym which has been opened at Haddeneham by Nigel Stone. Nigel worked at Walker and Cedar for many years, and now has his own business.
24th July 2006
Flight to Edinburgh left and arrived on time. Good days work at the bank, followed by a Meal at the Petit Paris. Went for the full works, a Terrine to start with, followed by Toulouse Sausage, and finally a Creme Brulle.
25th July 2006
Ate at the Radisson hotel today. Normal fare at the Ichy Coo bar.
26th July 2006
Edinburgh is still managing some good weather, the place is full of people, there will be even more when the festival starts. Went vegetaria! n today, and ate at Black Bo’s
27th July 2006
Another uneventful day, and an evening in at the hotel. The nice Scottish bar maid was on duty today, so had someone to chat to for a while.
28th July 2006
Back home on the Easy jet plane.