No, it's not another wedding blog though I imagine from the title you might think it may be. No, I think we might be 'weddinged out' - at least for now, though before I move on, I must say I am massively touched that Harriet, another of the Salcombe holiday children, with whom we had jolly family holidays many moons ago, has chosen as one of her readings at her wedding next weekend something I wrote a while ago on this very blog spot. Wishing her and her fiancé masses of love and good wishes. And we are going to a wedding party this weekend ... No, stop it, move on.
So back to the real subject of this blog. Now that I have cut down my working week to a level of appropriate slobdom, I theoretically at least have more playtime. And more time to travel to those places which populated my bucket list when I was poorly. And I have to be truthful here, a lot of those places are not new to me but old favourites where we have had happy times.
And so last weekend we returned to Edinburgh, scene of much jollification over the years from school lacrosse tours with children one and two (not forgetting the Barnsley Lodger) and visits to Number One in her fairly unhygienic flats when at university (always clean the bathroom before use of any sort), to exciting Fringing with the full range of drama, music, comedy, amateur, professional and every type of performance in between. Not to mention Skip's magnificent birthday weekend and a number of fabulously nail-biting and alcoholic trips to Murrayfield.
We are now fortunate to have Number Four child in residence in Scotland's capital at university and that's the best excuse of all for heading North of the Border. So on the agenda for this weekend was a bit of furniture-purchasing and assembly for her new room, some stand-up comedy at the Fringe, street theatre and lunch at Tom Kitchin's restaurant, imaginatively named The Kitchin. This was a Christmas present from me to my beloved in the form of a voucher for set lunch for two which morphed into set lunch and a la carte for three with a dazzling but not bargainious selection of wines. It was incredible. How can a Michelin-starred chef (who was most definitely visible behind the glass screen in the kitchen) produce such amazing food? Suffice to say, Number Four has bagged it as the venue for her post-graduation lunch and I can't think of a better way to spend a Friday afternoon than sampling the delicious tasting menu served by just about the best team of waiting staff I've ever come across.
Next up is Alistair McGowan, a superb impressionist with a huge arsenal of voices at his disposal. His Andy Murray may well be more convincingly dour than the real thing! He raced from one character to the next and either he is the master of appearing to ad lib whilst being well rehearsed or we were treated to a few diversions on his meanderings through the topical landscape of the day. By the time he was done, we were too - a big lunch does that to you. But we sneaked in a visit to a bar which I can only describe as a speakeasy. I like a bar that you have to enter through a bookcase.
Day two and we're off to IKEA (pronounced 'I key are' in my world but apparently now 'ik' - as in 'I'm feeling a bit ik' 'eee ah'). It's been a long time since I've been to Ikea and I've remembered why now. Yes, you have to follow the arrows, no diversions or short cuts, even if it turns out that what you want is right at the end. But Number Four needs a hanging rail for her new room in the same flat as last year and my beloved is remarkably (yes, really!) adept at assembling it. Who knew? Perhaps more diy jobs will be heading his way in future.
Number Four and I thought we'd do a bit of light shopping whilst parking my beloved in a familiar tapas bar which seemed like a good idea until he was sending pictures on the family whatsapp group of all the things he'd ordered for himself to eat. So we had to go back and save him - from himself!
Our second stand up was Viv Groskop, the journalist and frequent Radio 4 quipper. Her act was called 'Be more Margo' and loosely, very loosely as it turned out, based on the comedic qualities of Margo Leadbetter in the much loved television comedy The Good Life.
Actually the stand-up was mostly about her rather tricky relationship with her Daily Mail-reading mother and the less said about readers of that work of fiction the better. Anyway, she was entertaining, not least when she had a Margo face-off between two prospective Margos in the audience and selected my beloved as the man most suitable to be Jerry, Margo's husband. Number Four's giggles were barely controllable at this point. At the end of the performance, Viv shook hands with us all like a school headmistress at prize giving. So lost for words was I that all I could muster was 'I'm married to Jerry.'
So Auld Reekie is my something old, the Kitchin is my must-be-repeated something new and the blue thing? Based on last weekend's experience, is Edinburgh the capital of blue hair? They were everywhere...well done, badly done with hideous roots, wearing matching blue ensembles... Is it the Saltire? Is it homage to Braveheart? Who knew... Maybe I'll go blue!