Wednesday

Making Peace With What Is.



This is a story from way back in 2008 but reading a posting from a friend on Facebook reminded me of it — and it was just what I needed to remember today.

Sometimes we can’t change the outer circumstances of our life as quickly as we would like. But as what we think, what we feel and what we receive are always a perfect match then it’s really important to make peace with the now that we have created up to this moment.

To do that, all we really have to do is acknowledge that we created the situation. And by making peace with it in that way, we can at least ensure that we won’t create it again. Remember, in the physical world there is a time-lapse between what we create and what manifests. It can take seconds for a physical change to occur or it can take months. A small fishing boat can change direction in few metres or so but an ocean liner takes 20 miles.

Making peace does not mean going into denial as in 'it's fine...I'm fine...' when you're not - and it's not about gritting your teeth and enduring because it's 'good' or 'worthy' to do so - it's about seeking for the better thought in a difficult situation and building blocks to happier thoughts in order to reclaim your power.

One of my favourite phrases at a challenging time is Catherine Ponder’s ‘I can hardly wait to see the good that comes from this!’ Once you can say that, then you’re on your way to something better.

This story is from a trip that Lion and I took to Montana and although it was six years ago, that amazing holiday is still warm in my heart. And there was a lovely example of making peace with the now within it.

Our friends, Ris and Joe run an impressive Leadership Coaching company. They use horses to help people realise how they relate to others at work and play and during our visit they wanted to give both Lion and me a session with the horses in the Round.

What you do is to wander among their seven very different horses and pick one that you want to work with through your intuition. You’ll always pick the right one. Then you and that horse go into the Round (a circular corral) and either Ris or Joe teaches you how that horse and you are just the same and how to gain each other’s trust.

I was really keen to do this as I’ve always loved horses and ridden since I was nine. Lion wasn’t so keen because he’s a bit wary of big animals but he was up for giving it a go.

The first bit of making peace with now was when Ris and Joe simply had too much work to do to be able to take time out to work with the horses and us during our stay. For a day or so I allowed that to unsettle me a bit – you know the kind of thing; hanging around in case instead of just going out and doing something else that I wanted to do and trusting that all would be well.

But once I’d come to terms that it might not happen at all and if it didn’t, that was okay, and I’d had a lot of fun walking in the horses’ huge field with them and grooming several of them, then I was absolutely at peace with it.

Then, of course, Ris found the time...

It was early evening and I’d just led a workshop at the local Unity Church so I wanted a little time to gather my thoughts so Lion went first. I just wandered among the horses in the outside paddock at the same time as him and was quite sure that, when my time came, I wanted to work with Billy, a young red-roan appaloosa mustang who was broken to the saddle but very shy.

Lion went into the Round and time passed as he and Walker, his horse, began to get to know each other. It was Montana in late October and evening and it started getting seriously cold.

Time went on and it became very clear to me that the sun was about to set and time would run out for me to have my turn. And we were leaving the next day. So, frozen to the bone, I started working on making peace with that.

Oh God it was cold! But I didn’t want to go inside because I was fascinated by what Lion and Walker and Ris were doing. And I was so pleased to see Lion working with a horse and I knew that if I walked away he would be likely to stop the session or at least interrupt it. I love horses and can hang around them whenever I want to – I used to have my own horse a while back and I did some learnt-from-a-book horse whispering with her (to very limited effect I must admit!). And I was just so thrilled to see Lion losing his fear of horses and realising that both he and Walker were getting into an incredible accord.

So I made peace with the situation and watched Lion and Walker and the amazing, totally glorious orange and crimson sunset across the mountains of the sacred Bozeman valley and I realised how utterly, utterly lucky I am.

But I was still awfully cold! So I sent up a swift prayer to be able to endure out there until Lion had finished and let go and let God again – and within 30 seconds there was a warm breath on my cheek. Billy the mustang had walked quietly up behind me. He put his head over my shoulder and placed his chest against my back warming me through. It was glorious.

I knew from Ris that Billy never approached a human voluntarily so this was amazing. Gently I reached back with my hand so I could touch his neck and stroke him and he leaned a little further into me.

Once Lion and Walker had finished, I patted Billy’s neck and walked forward to congratulate my husband. And Billy followed me. He did what’s known in horse whispering circles as ‘join-up.’ It’s the biggest mark of trust a horse can offer. And he did it for me! And all I had done was stand, watching my husband and making peace with the situation.

It was one of the best moments of my life – I kid you not. I was so thrilled. And so chuffed when Ris telephoned her husband, Joe, to tell him all about Billy and me – because Billy had never, ever done that before in the Round, let alone out of it and they had been considering selling him on because he was not responding to their work.

That's Billy in the picture at the top of the page, working happily with one of Ris and Joe's workshop participants last year. So, in perfect symbiosis, Billy and I helped and healed each other and that is good to know.

Tuesday

Edinburgh Blog Appreciations.

I was in Edinburgh for three and a half weeks and I don't think I can count the blessings I experienced but I would like to mention some people, places and things which brought me such joy.

Anne-Marie Birch, whom I met about six years ago when I did a prosperity workshop in Edinburgh and whom I contacted on the off-chance to see if she knew of anywhere I could stay for the Fringe. She lets out two rooms on AirBnB and one, the little Serenity room was free. That was such grace because it became my sanctuary with its blue walls and white metal and brass single bed both of which reminded me so much of my childhood bedroom. The walls and mantlepiece were covered with messages of love, the view from the window was of green garden with butterflies covering the Buddleia and the forest around the Water of Leith behind.

Through the window came only the noise of the waters, birdsont and the kee-kee-kee of the buzzards overhead.

Not only that, but Anne-Marie is so kind and so full of the joy of life. Not for one moment did I feel wrong or out of place or in the way (even though I broke a glass and damaged a covering with a dropped match). Anita too was lovely, chatty, wore the most glorious 1960s-style pale lipstick that inspired me to think about something similar for me and who was constantly good-humoured and covered with dogs which all accepted a cuddle graciously and repaid it with random and unexpected face-washing at times when I was lying on the lawn having a quiet meditate or think.

Emma, Anne-Marie's daughter who, I think is one of the most beautiful young women I've seen in a long time. She almost certainly doesn't think so because she is 18 and, as Georgette Heyer would put it 'not in the common way.' I wasn't 'in the common way' either when I was 18 and I thought I was fat and ugly and all that crap. Now I look back on the photographs of me then and see a really beautiful girl with a lovely figure who simply couldn't see through the spectacles of 'size eight, blonde and into all the right pop stars.'

Emma came to the show on the last night and at the meal afterwards, with a little wine inside her, she became so beautifully animated, slightly flushed of face and I thought what a joy it was to be sitting with that vibrant potentiality that Dundee University is so lucky to be sharing next week.

Sam, Anne-Marie's son who is (I think) about sixteen? He has that handsome young man glamour and style but unlike many his age was courteous, helpful, funny and didn't for a moment seem to minding sharing a house with, at times, up to six women.

Kaylin and Stephanie, from Washington State, USA, first-time visitors to 'Yurp' who lived next door to me for the entire three weeks and who were obviously having a whale of a time in Edinburgh. They shared food, chats, laughter and suggestions and laughed at the idea that the bus into the city took a while, given that anywhere — anywhere – is about two hours from Spokane.

The staff at Ryries who found us all a blasted nuisance to start with but, when treated like real human beings (some comedians are so daft...) turned out to be — surprise! — normal, really nice and helpful people. It got so that they just had to see me come in to fetch my equipment for me from the cellar and pour me a pint of lime-and-soda with ice and a wedge of lime.

Adam, for coming up for three days to enjoy the Fringe, for pushing me into shows I wouldn't have seen, dinners I wouldn't have eaten, frozen yoghurt I wouldn't even have considered and the National Museum of Scotland which, I think, is my favourite museum (so far) in all the world. And for his love, advice, companionship, true belief that I am a Master Kabbalist (I've just got to believe that myself), support and laughter.

All the people who directed me, advised me, sat on benches and chatted to me, sold stuff to me, smiled at me and performed for me.

And Edinburgh ... you beautiful, magnificent, breathtaking city. Wow. Thank you so much.




Edinburgh Fringe Day 26 — Endings and Beginnings.

St. Mary's Catholic Cathedral.
The last day. How perfectly it works out because now I am ready and eager to go home. But how very strange it will be not to go out and perform every night.

I had a last, lovely, lingering walk by the Water of Leith which has a selection of such lovely fairy islands: rocks about 18" or so square covered with moss and lichen with plants here and there as trees. You can almost see the spirit folk sitting with their feet in the water and imagine their tiny houses at the top of the rocky hill.

Most of the day I was packing and very relieved to find that everything would fit in my suitcase (just). There have been a few visits to charity shops here and there... But apart from that it was listening to inspirational tapes or reading and relaxing before heading into town for the very last gig.

I enjoyed the last bus ride in, looking at the now-familiar road and houses, the hills and the view of Edinburgh castle and the towers of the cathedrals. Not sure if I mentioned that I got locked into St. Mary's Catholic Cathedral a week or so ago. I had a lovely wander, looking at the amazing Scottish Diaspora tapestries and then spent about half an hour sitting right up near the high altar in the choir having a quiet chat with God and the angels.

Then the lights all went off. Politely, I finished my prayer and got up just to hear a big door go slam-click.

Luckily, the verger had a few things to do backstage, as it were, so some respectful hello!ing brought him back after about five minutes but he was not best pleased. 'Where were you?' 'Up at the high altar?' 'Why?' 'Um. Praying...?'

Obviously a fairly outrageous and ill-advised thing to do at 6pm. I thought it best not to advise him of my day job.

I'm very blessed because I knew there would be an audience tonight — Anne-Marie, Anita and Emma from Colinton are coming with a couple of friends and I was also promised seven Interfaith ministers (although only three turned up). Still, it was a lovely audience of 18 of all ages and with one good-value atheist with the only respectable answer to the Atheist-orgasm joke I've ever got.

One of the Interfaith ministers in the front row didn't crack a smile which was slightly un-nerving but then I am as fierce on the spiritual wanky bollox as I am on the religious stuff and, as usual, it was hard to tell how much people were laughing. It's an odd thing but when you're behind the microphone only the loudest belly-laugh will reach you.

I remembered all the jokes in the right order, finished dot on time and then, that was it. The whole thing over and George Firehorse coming in to take over. I just picked up my things, said goodbye to the staff who were around and walked away.

...To an utterly delicious supper at The Vietnam House restaurant just around the corner with Anne-Marie and her friends and where the Interfaith ministers had also booked a table so I could flit back and forward between the two and chat to absolutely everyone. The stone-faced lady turned out to have enjoyed it very much (or be a very, very good fibber) and the other four turned up at about 8.45 with 'oh so sorry we missed yous.'

I'm not very good with those. You either really want to go somewhere or you don't. You either get there or you don't. It's absolutely your choice. There was an act I wanted to get to see, Tim Ralph's Rebranding Beelzebub, but in the end I didn't want it enough to stay out until 11pm on the two nights that I could have made it. My loss, not Tim's. The 'I'm sorrys' are good manners of course but we do usually get to places we want to be. It's like the people who don't come but want to see a video on YouTube immediately. No. If you don't come, you don't see it. I know that's terribly old-fashioned in this modern world and hopelessly bad marketing technique but maybe I'm just tired!

And then home and bed and up with the birds to be taken to the airport by beloved Anne-Marie and a last (for now) look at the beauties of Scotland as the big bird takes me safely home to Devon, my Lion and the beagles.

I did it. I did it. Well done me.


Sunday

Edinburgh Fringe Day 25 — On Knowing What I Don't Want.

The angel font at St. Giles' Cathedral
Tonight Anne-Marie and I planned to go and listen to the Scottish National Youth Choir singing  Fauré's Requiem at St. Giles' Cathedral on the Royal Mile.

The programme started at 10pm which meant I had a couple of hours to fill after the gig. Shouldn't be a problem — there's plenty of comedy on, right?

But I spent a couple of hours on the Internet this morning trying to find something I fancied that started at 8pm and, frankly, there wasn't a lot. The two comedians I really fancied were all booked up so eventually I decided on Patrick Monahan, given that several Facebook friends have highly recommended him.

So it was a quiet day of rest, which I really needed, in Colinton, and I only went into town at 5pm. Lovely gig; smallish but very appreciative audience and both the Heavy Petting team before me and George after me were commenting on the end of the run, how tired they were and how it would be good to get home.

The Heavy Petting act is a lot of fun. Four of them are performing a series of sketches and sharing the somewhat sparse proceeds. They haven't been as popular as the Tickled Pigs and I'm going to sound like a boring old fart when I say it's probably because it's much more intelligent comedy. And they are lovely people too.

Happily I caught the no. 2 bus to the Guilded Balloon venue which was utterly stuffed with people (well it is Saturday night) and queued happily for Patrick Monahan and sat happily waiting for the show to start.

The first five minutes, all composed of Patrick and one audience member doing Zumba passed amusingly enough. Then it got onto men sitting down to wee on toilets ... and 20 minutes later, with lots of audience participation, it was still on men sitting down to wee on toilets. My face hadn't even cracked once.

I was totally in the minority; the audience loved it. It was all about them and they all had a drink. At least it wasn't profane — not a single swear word and children allowed in. But it was boring, trite, predicable. So I left.

Now that was a big decision but having been so very happy here, the feeling of boredom and being in the wrong place felt so much more powerful than it might have done; I actually started to feel distinctly off-colour and I simply wasn't prepared to allow that. Luckily for me, there was a little sketch about getting into a party when you're not invited where Patrick was focused on someone else so I could dive out without drawing attention to myself.

Instead, a walked in Edinburgh in the rain, trying to find something to eat. Tupiniquim had just closed down for the night but I found a lovely little cafe with Earl Grey tea and a piece of shortbread and just sat there in complete contentment until it was time to go to meet Anne-Marie. Again, there was absolutely no feeling of being odd or out of place alone.

St. Giles' is a lovely vaulted cathedral (do look at the website) with wonderful acoustics and it's really beautiful to sit in and appreciate to the sound of soaring, cascading music. The prelude was some modern choral music which was all about death and conflict and which really didn't please me although the singing was superb. I wondered if I were just having a very off day but actually I'm just knowing what I like and don't like and I don't want stories about murder or execution in my life, thank you.

But then the organ and choir melted into Fauré's Requiem ... and I am not kidding, the angels and the spirits of the cathedral emerged from the walls to listen. The whole timbre of the cathedral changed and it became alive with sentience. Beautiful, glorious, perfect.

Oh and it was just lovely to be driven home too!







Edinburgh Fringe Day 24 — The Beginning of the End

Tupiniquim. Yummy gluten-free crêpes

I think the most profound thing about this whole Edinburgh trip is the level of happiness I have experienced. Why? Maybe because I have finally been able to get out of my own way.

For the last year I've been working on this happiness lark. To be fair, I thought I was happy and in fact, my homeopath told me that often life-enhancing dis-eases do turn up when you've just got everything sorted and relax. Your soul says 'okay, now we can get something deep sorted.'

I remember thinking, as I walked on the moor last summer, 'why? Why when I'm so happy here?' and the answer was simple, 'You're in the right place to regain that happiness once the fear has gone. You are away from pressures that might make you make decisions that aren't right for you; you are safe.'

Fear is a huge component in a l-e-d. I reckon it takes a good three months to deal with that aspect (which is why I so often want to beg people who I can see might be going towards the slippery slope to their own l-e-d to deal with the issues now, before they also have to deal with the fear).

Edinburgh was a big goal for me. At times I honestly didn't know if I would make it — which make asking people for financial support to cover the cost once my original backer had gone AWOL a huge prosperity challenge. But once I got here, the sense of contentment was palpable. The focus was entirely on learning to get around Edinburgh and to perform; nothing else. There was no time to think about how I was, whether I was better or worse, whether I was up to it. I was here. Time to just get on with it.

As the teachings of Abraham say, 'In the absence of the struggle, the Vortex takes you in.' But I think what has really happened is that the emptying of my ego's resistances, the work I've done on dissolving old issues has blossomed. There is no longer that almost indiscernible feeling of a slight, grumbling lack of ease that has been present in my subconscious since I was about three years old. Now, my default position is a kind of peaceful joy. That is very, very good to know.

Anyway, today was the start of the process of saying goodbye in a way. I was going in early to see Plumbing the Depths with Hattie Hasan and after that went and got myself an utterly yummy goat's cheese, sundried tomato and spinach wrap from Tupiniquim, a family-owned business in a kind of tardis at the corner of Lauriston Place and Forrest Road. They offer a healthier alternative to the usual street food — gluten-free crêpes with all sorts of vegetarian and vegan options as well as meaty treats and juices and smoothies.

Just sitting on a tree stump in Greyfriars' chuchyard ingesting this simple, culinary delight was wonderful. Not once on this adventure have I felt for one moment that it was odd or 'wrong' to be alone. All through my solo travelling days when I was young I used to feel that people judged me for being single or alone. So that bit of stupidity is over then! When I had supper at Dante's in Colinton a couple of weeks back and the waitress said, 'just one?' I corrected her with 'entirely one.' There's no 'just' about it.

The rest of the afternoon was spent back to the National Museum of Scotland because I wanted to take a more thorough look around. There was a whole series of galleries that I had missed when I came the other day with Adam so I browsed and pottered and enjoyed and let God look through my eyes at things that I myself would simply not have noticed. S/He is very fond of blue and white plates, it would appear — we always have to spend a good 20 minutes looking — really looking — at those. Then I had a cup of tea and read Florence Scovel Shinn for an hour and treated myself to a Chinese mug with its own strainer for green tea in the shop together with one of those lovely browses where you say, 'I have unlimited money; what shall I buy?' and select all the things you would like.

Good crowd again at Ryries, including two men in their 30s who arrived solo. That may mean two more reviews which is both good and scary. And, to my complete astonishment, three of the suited young men who came more than a week ago, came for a second helping! That was certainly another 'unexpected that happens to surprise and delight me.' They laughed at it all again and almost forgave me for thinking they were older than they were; the youngest being 18 when I thought he was about 24.

It's nearly over; that's fine. I'm having a ball but the year has turned and I'm now looking forward to going home.




Friday

Edinburgh Fringe Day 22 — On Happiness and Adventure.

I've been very happy since I've been here. That's not a problem (how could it be?) but it's interesting to examine why I've been so happy when I'm away from the man, the beagles and the land that I love.

It has been ... and still is ... a marked, deep happiness. One that I did not know that I had been missing.

I think it's partly the newness of the experience of performing every night and partly the time I am spending on my own rediscovering myself. Or perhaps rediscovering the part of me that, for so many years, lived alone and looked after herself. She is the one that loves me best because we have had so many adventures together and got through so much. At the time a lot of it was frightening or at least very challenging and I thought, mistakenly, that it was a good idea that those times were over. But the need for adventure is in my blood. And that is exactly where the dis-ease manifested.

The final pointer (although I've known this instinctively for a few weeks) was when I took one of those silly 'Which famous film star would play you in a movie of your life?' quizzes on Facebook. Four times I did the quiz; four times I clicked on 'female' in answer to the first question; four times I answered all the questions about my life and personal tastes. Four times I got the answer 'Jason Statham.'

Who is a bloke. And an actor who does movies about wild, violent adventure stuff and killing people.

Not sure about the violence or the killing people (though there are times...) but I believe that God sends messages and this one seems pretty clear. Adventure, adventure, adventure.

In the past, my inner adventurer and I have travelled abroad together many times, solo, and faced situations as wide-ranging as an attacking barracuda off the coast of Cairns, Australia; being 'the Princess Diana of Changchun' in Manchuria, China; wandering among the windmills of Crete; eating alone in fabulous restaurants in Paris; drinking hot chocolate in St. Mark's Square, Venice; sitting, dreaming in the sunshine at a railway station in Uruguay; riding quarter horses and watching the eagles fly in Montana and bringing the first dog in the world from the USA to the UK on Passports for Pets.

But this part of me has been dormant for a long while now. She has become lost in the happily-married, stay-at-home Maggy who occasionally does workshops and who became somewhat of a hermit because being with Lion and the beagles is so lovely.

I think it was she who became hurt in the terrible time when my former spiritual teacher was angry with me for 'stealing' his work — the intention had always been to write primers for his work so that more people would come to it but it was really a lesson in doing my work, not his. She already had collateral damage from Henry's death and the post-effects of Montana including divorce and, slowly, she began to die inside.

Comedy woke her up again although it was hard to uncurl from that tightly-wound deep hibernation. She knew that this was the time to speak her pain and loss out loud and manifested a dis-ease.

But now, in Edinburgh, having the biggest adventure I've had for fifteen years, she is in bliss; she is wandering the streets of Edinburgh doing exactly what she wants. She is standing up on stage and performing just for the sheer joy of it. She is knowing that what she is doing is absolutely right and wonderful and tremendous fun (if a bit scary at times).

So, the lesson is simple: I have to have adventures. No matter how much I love Lion and my home, this vital part of me who is the explorer, the entrepreneur, the lone traveller, must have a say in my life.

And thank God Lion understands. He would; he's my heart and soul mate. He's enjoyed this time on his own too — pottering at his own pace, free of the stress of the last year, sorting out again how he used to live when he was alone instead of walking at my pace with my timing and, with his great love and generosity, being the rock in my life.

We've had lovely travels together — and worked together abroad too — but, obviously, those still don't count as the adventures that the inner me wants.

Lion and I had the perfect lovers' conversation two weeks ago when we discussed whether we missed each other. Not really. And we were quite content with that.

But this week, as the time for homecoming comes closer, we are glad that we will be together again. This separation has done us both a great deal of good.

It will be so lovely to see him on Monday; lovely to be cuddled and to chat and to potter; lovely to be covered with beagles; lovely to walk on the moors. And it will be lovely to plan further excursions on my next expedition because If I want to be able to keep on coming home to my dear ones, I must not let my friend and companion, the adventurer, slip away again.

Thursday

Edinburgh Fringe Day 21 — the Inner Work.

So... No audience last night. It happens. As George Firehorse, who follows me at Ryrie's, said 'there's no rhyme or reason.'

But maybe there is. Did I take my eye off the ball, having fun with Adam all day? But surely, having fun is part of the deal when you're working with this law of attraction. Was this a bit of resistance coming up to 'punish' me for having so much fun? Good old 'chemicalisation' as Catherine Ponder of Unity would put it?

I haven't been racing around handing out flyers, for sure. But this was an interesting departure that wanted my attention. So I gave it some. In the morning I listened to some Abraham-Hicks recordings and when I left for town I tucked Florence Scovel Shinn's The Game of Life and How to Play It into my bag and told the horrid little doubts that were trying to tell me that it was all downhill from here to go hang until I could deal with them later.

Adam and I were due to meet at lunchtime to go to Daniel Cainer's Jewish Chronicles. I didn't want to eat first because I was still full from last night. Full, that is, in the strange Chinese food wanting more in the middle of the night but knowing you'd eaten quite enough in reality. So we met at Underbelly and went into this dark cave of blackness for Daniel's show.

Which was not entirely to my taste at first but won me round. I'm a very odd Jewish (very ish) hybrid, having spent eight years married to a Jewish guy and knowing quite a lot about the culture and loving it. So I was slightly irritated by Daniel's explanations of Jewish stuff for us Goys although I knew it was necessary. Interestingly, Adam (who's Jewish) wasn't. As he explained, Jewish folk have to explain those things all the time so it was the norm for him.

Daniel mostly sings his own songs about Jewish life. He started with his Ashkenazi heritage — Russia, Lithuania, Poland — and stories of his family after immigration into Britain. Again, that wasn't for me because it's a/ not my heritage and b/ I'd heard much similar stuff before. But for Adam it was very moving.

After that, I was engaged fully with Daniel's tales of bad rabbis, love and passion and life and I felt gently nostalgic for some aspects of my past Jewish life.

We had a snackish lunch at Underbelly and then Adam went off to see James II by Rona Munro at the Festival Theatre and I went to the Edinburgh Fringe Central for a cup of tea and a long, thoughtful and affirmative read of Florence.

I've read The Game of Life and How to Play It a dozen times before but hadn't picked it up for a couple of years. However I'd known I had to bring it to Edinburgh. I read and worked and read and worked for two hours, dissolving resistance and allowing wonderful surprises. One of my favourite of Florence's quotations is:

My seemingly impossible good now comes to pass. The unexpected now happens to surprise and delight me.

For most people it seems very weird when there is no one in the audience to sit down and read a book. Surely I should be out there handing out flyers. Nope. If I create my own reality then I must go within first. Then I will be led to inspired action.

I took a rush-hour bus to Ryries and I was almost late for the first time ever but I knew I had to do a little flyering around the tables before going up even so. Two different groups, one of four and one of six people were already looking at my flyer and engaged me in conversation about Independent Catholicism so I only went upstairs to the event room at pretty much the last minute.

There was my unexpected surprise! Daphne, the lady who ran the volunteer section when I worked as a chaplain at at St. Mary's Hospice in Birmingham was sitting in the front row and had brought three friends with her. I haven't heard nor seen anything of Daphne since I left more than two years ago. It was amazing and fabulous.

What's more, the room just filled up, and filled up with people, including Kaylin and Stephanie from my digs in Colinton, Facebook friends Mica and Hattie and six members of one of the groups I'd been speaking to downstairs. They told me that they had all met up to go to the funeral of their 92-year-old father the next day just in case I might have any jokes that would be a bit of a challenge for them. But they'd liked the leaflet, and talking to me had clinched it, and they thought they could do with cheering up.

It was a good night. Nearly all the audience older people and they knew both about The Mary Whitehouse Experience and the real Mary Whitehouse. They laughed and laughed. And when a drunken Scots guy came in and tried to heckle, they unceremoniously told him to shut up because they were listening and then threw him out. I hardly had to say a word to him.

Afterwards there was a queue of people to talk to me including two of the funeral group. One was a retired religious education teacher in a Catholic school who said he'd never been to a comedy show where he understood all the jokes before and that it was incredible and refreshing comedy. His brother was a retired headmaster at a Catholic school who wanted my card and to know whether I'd be willing to come back to Scotland to talk to schools and perform more comedy. Well yes!

Hugs and happiness with Daphne, Mica and Hattie ... and a complete turnaround of an evening. Good old Florence.

Supper with Adam was the other side of the city — a Southern Indian restaurant. All vegetarian tonight and delicious. And with the generosity of the donations from my lovely crowd tonight, it could be a taxi home.

Thank you God.

Edinburgh Fringe Day 20 — Nom, nom, nom.

At least I think it's day 20. It gets a bit confusing sometimes, probably because Adam has been here and my carefully thought out daily routine went completely to pot.

I'm pretty careful with my diet — it hasn't been perfect up here by any means but I've been doing what I can to eat healthily with some holiday treats. But today, that went right out of the window. Fabulous.

We met up for lunch and chomped our way through a pretty amazing Japanese meal at Koyama in Forrest Road, just by all the major Fringe venues like the BBC and Underbelly. Pork ramen, seaweed, pickled vegetables and loads of green tea.

And then we went to the National Museum of Scotland for the afternoon. Gorgeous. Just gorgeous. It's a really eclectic mix of things with an old-fashioned mini next to a 19th century grand piano next to pots and jars. The building itself is worth visiting just for its beauty.

We looked at their Egyptian section with the mummified queen (or at least very high-ranking lady) with
her baby, the Natural history section with the skeleton of the pre-historic giant sloth that was nearly as big as their Tyrannosaurus Rex, Jackie Stewart's championship-winning race car, Dolly the sheep—the first cloned sheep, looking manic and bemused as only a sheep can. She was bigger than I expected, certainly bigger than our Dartmoor sheep, but not any less bemused.

We looked at statues of Buddha and a whole section on Hindu Gods and at Roman statues and ceremonial costumes and watched the six minute show that was about how the Universe began. The Chinese girl next to me spent all six minutes checking her messages on her phone and then wandered off having seen nothing, but that's really her business, I guess. It was a good, simple presentation and Adam and I agreed that it was entirely Kabbalah—the breath or word of God working its way down through the four worlds of creation.

We had tea. We looked at the Scottish galleries with claymores the size of a house and the Lewis chess set made of wales' teeth and walrus ivory. We pottered round the shop We had a wonderful time.

Then we went to a frozen yoghurt shop and had yummy rubbish, synthetic stuff covered with fruit and sprinkles and I felt about eight years old and very happy.

So, off to Ryrie's we go, to meet Jonathan Hipkiss, the lovely and talented comedian who is opening for me for three nights before the end of the festival. And no one else turned up. No one at all. That was a first for me and it's very un-nerving. Jonathan, who's gigging everywhere, did a bit of his act for us (and I'm looking forward to seeing the rest) and then pottered off and I did three-quarters of an hour, just for Adam, on what it was like working at the BBC in the 1980s in radio and TV and about encounters (safe ones) with Jimmy Savile, Rolf Harris and their ilk, including my infamous Paul Daniels and Jeffery Archer stories which had better remain safely un-written-down. The greater the truth, and all that...

I managed to put thoughts about the zero showing away to deal with later and we had a cheery and yummy Chinese supper at Chop Chop just down the road from Ryries with pickled cucumber, beans in chilli sauce, deep fried beef, prawn dumplings, sticky chicken wings and prawn crackers and talked life, the universe and everything and how I have to get back into teaching Kabbalah and get off my backside and get out of Devon more frequently. Adam, who doesn't pull punches, said 'you are a Master Kabbalist. Start acting like it.'

That was more food in one day than I generally eat in two ... maybe three ... but bless her, my stomach manned-up and took it and only quietly explained the following morning that a little less excess would be a very good idea, thank you.



Tuesday

Edinburgh Fringe Day 19: The Law of Attraction.

Many of you who read this blog know about the Law of Attraction. It's also karma or 'what goes around comes around' or 'thoughts create things.' I'm really good at it.

Most of you also know about my three missing socks which vanished in Anne-Marie's washing machine last week. I've made a lot of jokes about them on Facebook and there's a running gag here in the house about the hi-jinks that they're up to out there at the Fringe. It's possible, if they lay off the whisky a bit, that they may win the new act comedy award.

Yesterday I used the washing machine again. It had only my clothes in it. I put them in; I took them out. And another sock vanished. Yes, I know that all washing machines have parallel universes inside them and sock-holes where innocent, unsuspecting socks are whirled away to another dimension. But it doesn't happen at home. It happened again here because I kept on talking about it.

And now I'm writing about it so it's actually unlikely that I'll get home with any socks at all (unless people coming to the last few days of the show make their donations in socks—as my friend Dee did last week).

Another cute little Law of Attraction thing showed up yesterday ... Lion's and my friend Adam is up for a few days and came to last night's show. He's a good laugher is Adam if he thinks something's funny. And he did think the show was funny — as did the rest of last night's crowd.

We went out to supper and in the taxi on the way, we were discussing a section in the show where I talk about things being 'very good' (nowadays meaning average) as opposed to brilliant or stunning. We arrived at Howie's on Waterloo Place, sat down happily, both ordered the venison and found that, at 7.45pm, they had run out. The other meals we chose were exactly what we had talked about — 'very good.' In fact everything was 'very good.' But it wasn't brilliant or stunning. Still, it gave us a laugh.

So tonight, in the act, I think I shall focus a little more on the fact that the world is fabulous, amazing and awesome, and hope that while I'm out the rest of my socks don't make a run for it.

And today I will stop the rogue little thoughts that have been coming up along the lines of 'It's nearly over; what do I do next?' What if ... what if ... where do I go from here...? How do I...? Because Edinburgh has been such a major focus for so many months, there's a temptation to let the energy drop.

But if my guardians are letting me know so clearly how powerful (or sockfull) I am then that must end now.

So this morning I have emailed out to several places suggesting workshops and I am beginning to make plans for the next few months. The joy I have had (and am still having) here in Edinburgh must, and shall continue. That's my task; to remain delighted and to move only in the directions that inspire me. So often we carry these little, un-noticed, habits of unhappiness or just low energy and they will manifest slowly but surely in ways that we don't like.

It's true that we need to speak only of that which we desire and only of that which brings us joy to create the life that we want. But I love my sock jokes and they make me feel good so they are never going to cause me any genuine harm. And after all, I have spent most of the summer at home barefoot so my socks were probably feeling very unappreciated.

Still, the autumn is on its way and there will be plenty of months for my socks to feel loved and cherished. Who knows, by Christmas (after a world tour and a sell-out show at Wembley Stadium where Michael McKintyre opens for them) I may find the runaways neatly folded and looking very innocent at the back of my sock drawer.




Sunday

Edinburgh Fringe Day 18 Part Two "But the greatest of these is charity."

St. Paul's famous quotation from his first letter to the Corinthians is usually translated now as "love" rather than "charity" because charity has come to mean "helping or giving money to those in need." But charity's wider meaning is "love for humanity."

It's long been a special quotation for me (and for a lot of people). Part of it is engraved on my first husband Henry's gravestone.

It's been a day of both sorts of charity. After seeing the fabulous Arthur Smith and being deeply moved by his love for his mother in the midst of his anecdotes, I accidentally came across Nicholson Street, Edinburgh where I found nine charity shops in a row. Nine! Oh joy. I came away an hour later very happy with a blue leather jacket and a replacement for my much-missed denim shirt.

I am going to have to post some clothes home at this rate because my suitcase was already stuffed on the way up.

You may remember the Helpful Heckler of Day 14 ... a guy who appeared to be a little the worse for wear for drink and who was very interested in the laws in the Book of Leviticus. He asked me to write out for him the basis of my comments on those laws from the act, which I did.

Every day since then, he has waylaid me as soon as I have got to Ryrie's (no matter what time of the day it was) with questions and an overwhelming need to talk. He doesn't drink; he just acts as though he does. And he's one of those guys that people try to avoid because he's terribly intense and he doesn't have the antennae that spot when other people aren't interested or want to move away.

Anyway, I thought I'd done him a huge disservice with my writing out of the Leviticus stuff because I had written it to explain the act but he seemed to be taking it as God wishing to punish him for sins he had committed as a child. I'm not going to go into those but I've been trying to say, day after day, that wasn't my intention. That I believe that God just wants us to be happy; He is not there to be a punisher but to help us to learn to love and that what God would want this guy do, to most of all, would be to be true to himself and seek happiness. I haven't been getting the slightest clue that I was getting through to him and I wasn't even sure if I was meant to be doing so. But this man seems to have taken me as his temporary priest, which on the one hand is my job and on the other is a bit challenging because he's a Mormon and I'm not.

At least, he was a Mormon. Today he thrust a six page letter to his Bishop into my hand asking me to read it. I sat down, put on my specs and, with a slightly doubtful heart, began to read.

The Helpful Heckler has resigned from the church he has been in since he was 17 because he has now realised that he wants to have full and loving relationships (and lots of sex) with other men. He's known he was homosexual for a very long time but the church disapproves of it so he hasn't been sexually active. For some strange reason, a comedy act, which at first disturbed and shook him, has been the catalyst for his realising that he has to come out and start living the life that he wants.

I read the letter with a lump in my throat and that extraordinary feeling you get when you realise how responsible you are for every single word that you speak. Pray God this is the right move for him. Right in the middle of the letter he had quoted St. Paul's writings on love as part of his explanation to his Mormon Bishop on how he wanted to experience real love in his life through the love of other men.

Why had he done this? Because I had explained in the act that the Hebrew Testament's condemnation of homosexuality, and St. Paul's views on it had not been about loving one-to-one relationships between men but about male rape and prostitution and ritual humiliation.

The Helpful Heckler gave me two photographs of him as a young man in Red Square, Moscow. I'm not sure why, but he wanted me to have them. I told him as gently that I could that I thought it was an admirable letter and accepted the pictures with as good a grace as I could.

The gig tonight, was very far from my best. The audience were not particularly responsive but it's always hard to tell who has affected who. May not have helped that Elvis was in the audience...

In fact it wasn't the real Elvis (surprise?) but a friend of my FB friend, Hayley who came along tonight with a group of people who are raising funds for Birmingham Children's Hospital and the Queen Elizabeth Hospital by travelling with the amazing Gavin Sandford who is running 45 marathons in 45 days through major cities in the UK. This is a labour of love that Gavin truly wants to do so, keep your eyes peeled for him and his team. You can find out all about it here. If you feel moved to donate, please do.

So it's been a strange day of love and charity.

There's one more line to the Biblical poem which is not quoted on the beautiful sampler above, and that's 'Love will never come to an end.'

I believe that.


Edinburgh Fringe Day 18, Part One. Arfur Smif.

Today I went to see Arthur Smith Sings Leonard Cohen Volume Two. Lion and I had seen an excerpt from vol. one at the Bath Comedy Festival back in the spring when I was one of three people opening for Arthur's set. He was such a delightful man, friendly and open and nothing like as miserable as he likes to appear. Or at least he was putting on a very good front. And he was very encouraging about my act — and even follows me on Twitter. Not that he ever does anything else on Twitter...

Anyway, I'd tweeted that I was going and that I hoped to get a hug. I'd had an Arthur Smith hug before and it was a good one. And I'm missing my dear, lovely scruffy bloke and our cuddles and I thought it would be really good to have a hug from another dear, scruffy bloke.

So I sent him a direct tweet that said 'Coming to see you tomorrow. Any chance of a hug?' No reply but none expected.

I went to the show — and frankly I was blown away. Arthur is backed by an excellent girl group called The Smithereens which really transforms the show into a concert and he mixed comedy with tragedy with anecdote with song.

Now I love Leonard Cohen's songs. I just never liked Leonard Cohen singing them. One of my favourite albums of all time is Jennifer Warnes' cover album, Famous Blue Raincoat, and the duet with Leonard on Joan of Arc is one of my favourite songs of all time.

But oddly enough, even though he sounds like Leonard Cohen, I really like hearing Arthur Smith sing his songs. And I just sat there in this big, black theatre for an hour entranced. I can't emphasise enough just how good this show was. It took us to hilarity and then made the stars bow down for pity minutes later.

And there's lots that's rude about Leonard Nimoy's poetry.

At the end, I hesitated and wondered if I should just leave with the others. Apart from anything else, Arthur had looked impressively smart and star-like on stage whereas he had been really scruffy in Bath. It was a different thing approaching someone more distant and obviously famous.

I waited for the crowd to leave and asked God what He thought. And then I saw Arthur wandering backstage, on the phone to someone. So I waited a little longer.

Three other people were waiting to talk to him and he came out and chatted with them all in the way that celebrities do; very polite and interested but carefully detached. I just waited. Then he turned to me and I said, "Maggy. Bath Festival." His eyes lit up with recognition and he just held his arms out.

It was a lovely hug. And I noticed that he was wearing his smart tee shirt inside out. Thank you Arthur.

Saturday

Edinburgh Fringe Day 17 — Memories and Laughter

I could live here. I think that every time I take the 44 bus into town and as we go down the hill from Colinton I can see the whole city and its castle before me and onwards to the sea. I think that every time I take the 44 bus out of town and the moorland hills emerge through the houses and the trees to my right.

Though I'm not sure I'd want to live here at Fringe time. It's like Oxford Circus at Christmas out there at the moment!

Today I went to see a "Rock 'n' Roll Radio" with Roland Gent at the Free Sisters Pub in Cowgate. That was a bit of a challenge given that there was at least one very drunken wedding reception taking place and Roland's room 'The Staff Room' had no windows, made a prison cell look attractive and was right next to the lavatories. It was so hot that we had to keep the door open so not a peaceful gig, you might say.

But it was fun. I thoroughly enjoyed Roland's comic reminiscences about music and radio stations when DJs were actually allowed to play their own choice of music. Being ten years older than Roland, I remember it well — I was allowed to play my own choice at both Hereward Radio and BBC Radio WM. The management didn't like it so I'm probably partially responsible for the modern-day regime where all the music is selected across the board for about six stations at a time.

I enjoyed remembering the first 45 I ever bought (The Carnival is Over by the Seekers) and the first LP (The Monkees) and as Roland was also a newsreader that brought back some good memories too. I was a newsreader at BBC London when the esteemed Chris Morris of The Day Today fame was a DJ. He was a total liability back then because he'd go straight into the news with a joke instead of a record and a jingle. On days when there had a been a tragedy or something similar, that was a bit hard to deal with...

And I remember the day that Andy Peebles was in a complete hissy fit because there was no engineer to run the tapes for the show after his and he was not prepared (quite rightly) to stay on and change the tapes on the hour. Fortunately, having been a DJ, I was able to volunteer to do it for him and I did. I wrote a memo to the then boss, Matthew Bannister, telling him that there had been an oversight so that it wouldn't happen again and never got another shift at that station so I obviously pissed someone off with my helpfulness that night...

But I digress...

When I went to see The Lunchtime Ferrets a few days ago I was impressed at how their compere, Paul Wogan, encouraged the audience to laugh. It was a simple technique: he told us to laugh. Then he got us to practice.

Now, I know I'm funny, but I was getting a lot more quiet chuckles than outright bellowing so I've adapted his practice and done a short introduction before I start my routine. It has made an astonishing difference!

For the last three nights, I've had belly-laughs, cheering, clapping and snorting (good snorting). So I am a very happy bunny. When the audience laughs out loud, the comedian gets better. It was a lovely crowd tonight with two Facebook friends ... one of whom, Dee, is reading this blog and knew the saga of my absent, rampaging socks. No, they have not turned up. So Dee had bought me a new pair.

I'm very touched and, as with most presents, they are not a pair I would ever have bought for myself (having cats on them). But I love presents like that. They will always be easily identifiable as "my Edinburgh socks." And I'm not letting them out of my sight.

Friday

Edinburgh Fringe Day 16 — Tickets for Arfur and Half-Price Food.

I'm trying to get to see Arthur Smith. We performed together at the Bath Comedy Festival back in May with Tracey Collins and James Michael Alderson and had a great time. Arfur is doing his 'Sings Leonard Cohen' act, part two, starting today. But for some reason it's getting to be a bit of a challenge to get tickets.

I tried online but for some reason the Edfringe website decided that it totally hated me and everything my debit card stood for, so I decided to go into town and buy them at the Fringe office on the Royal Mile.

Before that, though, I had to get over my excitement at my first review. It's for a site called TVBomb and I remember the young man who came along a few nights ago. I think it's an excellent review. It includes some good constructive criticism too. Here it is:


There is a great need for a performer like Maggy Whitehouse – an outspoken, slightly sweary female Catholic priest (don’t worry, she explains how this is possible) – it makes a refreshing counterbalance to the Robin Ince/Brian Coxatheist axis that has been in unchallenged ascendancy. Not that she’ll be taking them on directly anytime soon, mind you. As she herself admits before the performance, she’s not in Edinburgh seeking stardom, just an experience.
Hers is a light intellectual humour of the QI or Radio 4 variety, ripe for the knowing smirk rather than the belly laugh. More conversation than stand-up routine, it would play well to a village hall or provincial studio theatre, if not perhaps the sparse pub back room crowd she faces here.
Given the setting, it would of course be tempting for her to fall into the ‘funky vicar’ stereotype. Thankfully, despite the occasional cursing and insistence on how much she loves alcohol, she stays just the right side of that. Instead, material includes a nice dissection of the Catholic church’s stance on homosexuality and an interesting anecdote about her near namesake Mary Whitehouse’s knickers from her time spent in TV broadcasting. Yet not everything is that accessible. A decent working knowledge of religion is a distinct advantage in audience members and, even then, it is easy to lose the thread during her lengthy alternative readings of Bible passages.
She could also afford to be more confident at the mic. There are some good lines which would be enhanced if only she seemed sure she was going to get a laugh. A little more light and shade to her delivery would help too, so that the boundaries between gag, anecdote and theology lesson leap out more.
By no means, then, is this a show for everyone, but the Fringe is a richer place for people like Maggy Whitehouse going against the comedy grain. Who would have thought that religion would become the new ‘alternative’?

Thank you TV Bomb.

On the way in to town, I stopped off at a couple of charity shops I'd spotted on the road into Ryrie's (as you do) and found a lovely brand-new tee shirt in a shade of pink I'd never even have looked at before I'd done Carol Tuttle's Dressing Your Truth online course a couple of months back. Also, the perfect belt for my denim outfit. And I saw a couple of shops with comedy posters on the walls and windows and was able to add a couple of posters for my show. Hooray.

All my brochures and posters were delivered straight to Ryrie's, where they (with the other performers' stuff) are kept in the cellar with the beer kegs. We're meant to get permission to go down there (health and safety, I expect) and some of the staff will go for us but some of the staff won't so we go through the creaking door halfway up the stairs and clamber down into the depths of hell ourselves.

First you have to do a limbo dance under a bar across the top of some raggedy steps, then you have to duck so as not to bang your head and, when you're down there, you have to try and avoid not only a maze of silver barrels but also the drips and treacherous puddles from the lack of damp proofing.

This time, as I was down there, the grumpiest of the staff turned up too (the assistant manager) and did a sort of 'hurrumph' of annoyance when he saw me. A bit tired of his ongoing surliness I smiled at him and said, 'would you mind my asking if you find us performers a bit of a pain?'

He replied, 'yeah, a bit.' So I said, 'How ironic to have to pay £300 just to be a nuisance to the people at your venue.' I didn't say it nastily, I said it just to give him the information. He looked surprised.

'You pay to be here?' he said.

'Yes, I thought part of that money went to Ryrie's for rent,' I replied.

He shook his head. This was all news to him. 'You pay to perform here?' he said again.

'We do. And on top of that we have to pay for transport to Edinburgh, accommodation and food,' I said. 'It's a labour of love.'

He shook his head again and then gave me his first ever smile. When I got back to the pub later it was to be informed that soft drinks were free for performers ... and that we could eat there half price. I think that's a win.

Anyway, the next thing I did was take the tram and then walk to the Royal Mile to get my tickets for Arfur, only to find an enormous queue. If I'd stood in it long enough to get my ticket, I'd have missed my own show.

Somewhat discouraged, I returned to Ryrie's, only to find the Lunchtime Ferrets and sundry friends and relatives were my audience for the night. This was an utter, utter delight because these people know how to laugh. They didn't do the quiet chuckles of the polite middle-aged people who are my usual audience, they did guffaws and snorts and bellows of laughter. I had a ball and, I think, so did they.

Back home in my little turquoise sanctuary, I made one final bid to get tickets online for Arfur. After lying to me that there were still tickets for tomorrow and then spitting me out at the very last moment because that show is now sold out, the site graciously condescended to allow me to get me one for Sunday. I'm proud of my perseverance ... but he'd better give me a hug when I get there...

Oh, and finally, in response to FB friend Jane Clement's anxious enquiries, yes I did get the flannel. It was reduced in price at Boots. We Taureans do like a bargain.





Thursday

Edinburgh Fringe Day 14 — The Dreaded Helpful Heckler.

Have to admit it's been a bit of a weird day. None of it went as planned but then why should it?

I was planning to do some washing and then go into town for a potter, a bit of leaflet distribution around some hotels and to buy a new flannel (I can just feel your excitement rippling from here).

It's cleaner day, new bedding day so it's a bit like childhood 'clean up your room' morning. I tidied everything up, got everything off the floor and stripped my bed. Every single day at that time, so far, I'd been in the room doing some writing or reading in the morning but today I was outside in the garden playing with the dogs.

Which is why I wasn't there when the painting fell off the wall, smashing its glass and sending it in all directions.

The nail's still in the wall so there was no reason for it to happen. And the painting's of a peace dove with the caption 'give peace a chance' so that's a bit ironic. My healer and homeopath both said (when I told them) what basically amounted to this: "Bugger peace — you are supposed to go out and smash it, have the adventure. You are learning to harvest and use the energy."

There may be a little more to it than that. The last two nights have been very restless with the feeling that something was trying to get out. Maybe it has. Time will tell.

Anyway, the lovely Anne-Marie cleared it all up — wouldn't even let me help — and the picture's back on the wall. I've got some holy water and some cleansing essence so I'll just make sure before all the same.

So, the next step was to go into town. But my friend Adam got in touch on Skype and that was two hours gone before I knew it.

Adam is coming to Edinburgh for the rest of the Fringe next Monday. He's a dear, dear friend and he'll be coming to the show, treating me to lovely suppers and accompanying me to a load of shows. Lovely. But he's a bit of a worryer. So we spent most of the afternoon tracing routes between where he will be staying, where I'm performing, where we'll eat the first night — and the second night — and looking at some shows online.

Before I knew it, I was going to have to get going pretty darn fast even to get to Ryrie's on time! The best laid plans etc...

Tonight I thought that I'd dress up a bit. I've been wearing jeans but I've got a lovely peacock jacket and silk trousers with me so I wore those instead. And two people turned up. There's no rhyme or reason to it given last night's numbers!

I didn't mind; one of them was the most gorgeous lady and it would have been worth it to do the show just for her. The other was a guy I've seen in the pub most nights, always slightly worse for wear.

Unfortunately,  he is obviously a bit of a put-off for others because I saw at least seven other people come into the room in the first five minutes, see he was there, and turn away.

He was a nice guy; lonely but intelligent but the comedian's nightmare — the helpful heckler. He offered clarifications some on jokes, asked for explanations on others, started talking about his relationship with Christianity ...  all reasonable stuff but when you take a comedian off their line, a lot of the jokes get lost because you simply can't backpedal in a lot of cases.

So I missed probably seven points in the show which led to a joke ... and was grateful that I did have extra material that I could throw in to fill the time.

Jane, however, laughed and laughed and laughed. I don't think I've had a better audience member any night. So many people of our age chuckle or purr with amusement. Jane laughed. She threw back her head and laughed. She was wonderful. And she was generous too. Odd how the money you collect in donations (so helpful in buying lunches and suppers!) often bears no resemblance to the numbers.

So an odd day but, in all, nothing bad about it. I am content. I wonder what tomorrow will bring?

Wednesday

Edinburgh Fringe Day 14 — Lunchtime Ferrets and the Largest Audience Yet.

I was slightly uneasy about today as it was going to be a long one. I've been so careful with harvesting energy that I've not gone into the city before lunch if I could help it. But today I wanted to see Cate Mackenzie, Paul Wogan and their 'Ferrets' and that meant the 11am bus.

It was worth it. Not only did I chuckle a lot and really enjoy the magical bits ... and find everyone truly funny ... but I was the audience member with absolutely the best snort (you had to be there) and I got given a free fig roll.

Cate, who's a love coach — and pretty darn sexy with it —her partner Paul, who I think is probably an even better comedian than compere, and a guy from the audience called Alex who turned out to be an astrologer, and I all ended up going for a cuppa and a flat out chatter-chatter. While Paul was getting the drinks we all interrupted each other with sun signs, moon signs, trines, oppositions, stories and comparisons (for example, Cate's Moon is conjunct my Venus so we could chat for hours). And I had one of those wonderful detached but amazing realisations: Alex was the guy I would have slept with in Edinburgh if I'd been single.

Oh he was very attractive for sure and vaguely in the right age-rage (just call me Cougar—or at my age Panther). But the astrology was what was speaking. His Scorpionic aspects would speak directly to my own, his Moon opposed mine by degree (which always sets up a frisson of some kind) and several other aspects indicated that, had it been another universe, there would have been a logical result.

But I no longer live by my blueprint (which is what astrology is). I have enough knowledge of my ego and the blueprint of my sexuality that I can detach and observe—and laugh. I can use my free will. But it was totally fascinating. And being who I am now, I could say to Alex, so happily, 'look, I'd love to see you again; maybe have coffee but actually I want to talk to Paul now.' I wanted to talk Taurus-to-Taurus with Paul about possibly working together. And Alex, who was also old enough and wise enough to be completely on the same wavelength, agreed, changed places with me and continued chatter-chattering with Cate.

Even 15 years ago, I'd have gone for the kill. I'd have used all my wiles to block Cate out (even though she's in a good relationship and wasn't the slightest bit interested). I'd have gone into conquest mode and played every card I'd got. Tonight, instead, when I've finished writing this, I shall have fun discussing the whole situation (astrology and all) with Lion. I really, really love my life.

This afternoon I had a meeting with Chris in the Media Office about what I could do to get some radio coverage of the show and where else I might contact who might be interested. Whole meeting took 15 minutes because we were both efficient and quite understood the issue I wanted to address.

And the show was a delight. Again it tried to run over so a bit more clipping had to be done. Again my audience outnumbered the Tickled Pigs (by 250%, if I'm permitted to brag—my largest yet). All this just being happy and letting go and letting God is ace stuff, for sure.

To finish a perfect day, the bus driver on the 44 stopped the bus for me where it was the most convenient place that I could get off to shorten my journey ... not at the bus stop where he should have stopped.

I said, you've been noticing where I walk,' and he just said, 'yes I have.'

I love Edinburgh. I love, love, love it.





Edinburgh Fringe Day 13 - Halfway Point

The city is packed with performers and happy crowds
I think Edinburgh is my most favourite city ever (excluding most of the ones in Italy, obviously). Yes, it's exceptionally vibrant (not to mention stuffed) right now with the Fringe and the Tattoo going on but it has huge personality. Not only is it beautiful with that incredible castle and the elegant stone buildings but the people are so very, very nice. They chat. They help. They smile.

As I was sitting at the bus stop with the beginnings of a hot flush, I got out my little fan to cool me. Five minutes later, the woman at the other end of the bench solicitously asked if I was feeling better.

I'm not sure that would have happened even in Devon. Certainly rare in London. And it's  an interesting point too because not only have the hot flushes decreased dramatically since I've been here but, yes, generally I am a lot better. I'm following my heart's desire and I feel wonderfully well. I've got a bit of a swollen neck which may be new homeopathy or may be pounding the streets and that's uncomfortable and not particularly beautiful, making me look rather lopsided when my hair's not perfect but I'm well.

And so far no one has thrown anything at me when I accidentally lapse into a Scottish accent when I do the sketch about Eve and the serpent. I do do the serpent in Scottish elsewhere for the simple reason that I'm rubbish at accents and our 'adopted' son Tim is Scottish so I get to hear that accent most often.

I can hardly believe that I'm halfway through the festival already.

The re-worked show is doing very well and today, for the first time, I had more audience than either the Tickled Pigs or George Firehorse who followed me. It would appear that my audiences are building slowly and steadily. Mind you, I do wish they'd all get here relatively on time! One couple said, 'could you start at the beginning again?' because they were obviously enjoying themselves but there are repeat references which kind of need you to have been there at the start.

They say that Twitter is the medium to use to promote your show but I'm a bit of an old fart with Twitter. I find it tedious whereas I find Facebook fascinating and it's Facebook which is bringing me part of my audience. Tonight it was Katie Murphy who said 'Oh, aren't you wee?' when she met me which was enchanting and sat in the front row smiling broadly and chuckling audibly. I do like an audible chuckle; most of my audience are around my own age and they aren't guffaw kinds of people. Still, they are amused and that's what matters.

What is interesting me is that I'm having to cut more and more material out of the set because it's taking longer than it used to do. I'm not quite sure why but it's probably because I'm more relaxed and chatty. Yes, there are some extra jokes but I didn't think they would take up quite so much time. So I am alternating 'wanky bollox' spiritual stories as I now can't fit in both of them and one of them has completely re-written itself anyway ensuring that I've had to change the order of part of the show because it now has a lovely potential follow-on bit.

And I'm adding a little at the beginning about being menopausal and not picking on people in the audience because 30 seconds after they've told me their names, I've forgotten them again. Heck, there are times I walk into that room and forget why I'm there...

It's been a long time since I've been this happy. That is both wonderful and cautionary. I must continue to have adventures and I have to accept that is part of my essential DNA. I'm having too much fun to waste time worrying about planning another one. That's God's business. I know and God knows that adventures (not crises) are required. They will come.



Monday

Edinburgh Fringe day 12. Keep Smiling!

No, that's not a fixed grin because things have gone suddenly downhill or anything like that. It's a fixed grin because I went to a comedy show at the free Fringe today that really wasn't funny. It was full daylight so you could see everyone in the audience's faces and the guy had done a lot of research and was trying very hard and our eyes kept meeting so I kind of felt obliged to have a bit of a smile.

There were three bits I found funny in the hour ... but that was about it. And the rest of the (packed) audience weren't that amused either. The applause at the end of the show was fairly minimal.

I'm not going to name him because ... oh bugger, should I? I don't know. It's perfectly fair to write a negative review and if it stops other people going and not being amused either... It seems a bit mean. But for goodness' sake woman! All's fair in love and comedy.

Okay, it was a show called All the Jokes in the Bible. I went along because I'm interested in that kind of stuff and I love hearing it made funny. Wouldn't be doing my own show, The Maggy Whitehouse Experience if I didn't now would I?

I will confess that I was noting any Biblical inaccuracies (five) but that's fair dos really for a vicar. But
I didn't go in order to criticise it. It just wasn't funny. And he didn't even mention donkeys apart from Samson's smiting his enemies with an ass's jaw. There could be a lot of good humour in the Bible from the donkey stories...

Anyway, going in to watch a show on my own was great fun in itself and now I'm more experienced in buses and how to get around the city I'll do it as much as I can. Today though I was starving ... having said that staying in The Dell is wonderful (and it is) today, Anne-Marie had a client in her healing room which is off the kitchen and you're not allowed in to the kitchen during those times.

And I'd left it too late to have lunch.

So, having walked from All the Jokes in the Bible to Ryrie's I was close to performance time but I had to stop off at M&S at the station to get their nut and seed energy food package before I could perform. Which of course left seeds in my teeth so I was picking those out frantically beforehand!

However, tonight was a lovely show. It flowed pretty well with a very good audience for a Monday - 15 people - including two Facebook friends, Gillian and Carole, who had come all the way from Glasgow. I just knew them ... having spoken so much on Facebook it wasn't like meeting people for the first time at all! Such a pleasure. What's more the audience were generous financially (and Gillian and Carole gave me tea bags and fruit too!). It's just great to get back to your digs and be able to hand over the night's rent in takings and have more than enough for food and fun tomorrow.

Happy day. Lots more of those to come. Just wish that guy had been funny.