Posts

Showing posts from August, 2014

Edinburgh Blog Appreciations.

Image
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 jo…

Edinburgh Fringe Day 26 — Endings and Beginnings.

Image
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 i…

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

Image
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 the…

Edinburgh Fringe Day 24 — The Beginning of the End

Image
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 sli…

Edinburgh Fringe Day 22 — On Happiness and Adventure.

Image
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 fo…

Edinburgh Fringe Day 21 — the Inner Work.

Image
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…

Edinburgh Fringe Day 20 — Nom, nom, nom.

Image
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-rankin…

Edinburgh Fringe Day 19: The Law of Attraction.

Image
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&…

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

Image
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 ..…

Edinburgh Fringe Day 18, Part One. Arfur Smif.

Image
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 grou…

Edinburgh Fringe Day 17 — Memories and Laughter

Image
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…

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

Image
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 refresh…

Edinburgh Fringe Day 14 — The Dreaded Helpful Heckler.

Image
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 (w…

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

Image
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 …

Edinburgh Fringe Day 13 - Halfway Point

Image
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 p…

Edinburgh Fringe day 12. Keep Smiling!

Image
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 i…

Edinburgh Fringe Day 11 part two. Honing, honing, honing

Image
Day 11 was a Sunday. I was planning to go into town and see a show but the remains of Hurricane Bertha meant torrential rain which was a tad offputting. If I'd been 100% I'd have gone but it's wise still to rest with the possible homeopathic flare-up in my neck.

Lion of course has had gales down on Dartmoor; that makes me slightly homesick—I've come to love the roaring winds we get at home. Here's a picture of home BTW. Not so different from the moors on the hills outside Edinburgh.

So instead, I've been working on improving the set. It was beginning to feel stale the last few nights.
That's one of the best things about having comedy notebooks and comedy files on the computer. Whenever I think I need to improve, I have piles of ideas to go back to. Not that new ideas don't come out of the blue either ... and not that I don't collaborate with others. Today for example, I had a wonderful Facebook chat with Deb Rowley in New Zealand who came up with …

Edinburgh Fringe Day 11 part one. Amazing Americans.

Image
Here in the Dell in Colinton is a lovely Victorian, Edinburgh stone house which currently contains six
women and one man. In the 12 days than I have been here, there hasn't been a single obvious scratchy bit; we get along. A lot of that is down to the energy of the house itself—the love between Anne-Marie and her partner; the plethora of dogs all eager for a scratch and a good word; the essence of love expressed in every gift-shop ornament that sits everywhere to greet you and remind you to 'sparkle, smile and shine.'

I'm generally a bit grumpy about piles of positive clutter everywhere but there's no doubt that the atmosphere is just lovely. I have piled a lot of the stuff in my room in the fireplace—it's a single room with a month's worth of luggage in it—but it's obviously still working.

Mind you I have lost three socks... But that is part of the cosmic dance of socks. They are probably having a riotous time on the Fringe and will be found hungover …

Edinburgh Fringe Days 9 & 10. Rest, Rest, Rest.

Image
It's true what they say about Edinburgh weather. Wait a minute and it changes. But there has been
enough sun these last few days for pottering by the Water of Leith or sitting in Anne-Marie's steep but lovely garden and watching the peacock butterflies on her Buddleia. Everything is steep round here with the river running past in a ravine below.

Not a lot to report really these last two days. After the excitement of The Devil Without I had a quiet day catching up with emails and the like and only went into the city for the show. I leafleted people in the pub with a pitch for all of us (comedy and/or theatre from 12pm to 10pm every day) which felt very much like the right thing to do. Hopefully someone else does that too but if not, it doesn't matter.

At some point I will start leafleting the people who are commuting to the station which is right next door, but not yet. I truly believe that the bulk of the work is best done a/ internally by being at peace about it and keep…

Edinburgh Fringe Day 8. The Devil Without

Image
Boy, do I feel better for that day off...

Today was the 'How To Sell Your Show' seminar at Fringe Central and I was in two minds about going. However, I'm glad I did. Lots of good tips about social media and who to contact elsewhere. And a young man lounging in a front seat on the right who was mentioned as a reporter for Fringe Review, an online magazine that covers all the world's Fringe festivals but specifically this one.

The moment the talks were over, I was sitting beside him with a press release and 'hello, I'm a vicar and comedian.'

He could have brushed me off but he didn't; instead he engaged immediately and asked if I'd like to help him review a show called The Devil Without about Faust. That night. At 10.45. Luckily he confessed that it was past his bedtime before I'd said anything so naff myself So we commiserated with each other and he promised to text if he could get free tickets for tonight.

Tonight! I was going to Tesco's wi…