Saturday 2 August 2014

Platform 2, LocalMotiveMarkets

Ah here's me thinking I was done for the night but there's one more: Platform 2 from LocalMotiveMarkets.

This is the new market that will be at Edinburgh Waverley station every Friday from 1pm to 7pm. I had a quick look before catching my train home. As it's new it is still quite small. There is a mix of stalls from those selling handmade bags and felted goods, jewellry stalls, a great looking art stall (Stones of Scotland) and some food stalls. I was going to try cheesecake from one stall but she couldn't guarantee it was vegetarian and was very surprised to tell hear about animal vs vegetarian rennet and the easy availability of veggie cheese in all supermarkets! Philadelphia is veggie and makes lovely cheesecake cake-stall-lady.

It's a lovely idea and I hope that it continues to grow and grow (especially as I always forget that Scottish Farmers' markets are on London they were usually on a Sunday!!!!)

Beggars and bagpipes and stuff

There are things you cannot get away from in Edinburgh. Some I think about too much.

There are beggars on the street. Whenever I've visited the city (including  years before we moved to Scotland), I've seen the beggars on the streets. In London it was a common sight when I was growing up but I never got used to them. And the ones in Edinburgh are ever present. There is one on Princes Street who sits with a cupboard piece claiming he wasn't a druggie/alcoholic - the same sign as he has been showing for years. It's remarkably pristine.
There is the East European woman who sometimes sits outside the station cup in hand. And there is the one who claims he is a ex-soldier, with a noble expression, his service record readily available for anyone to see.
One very rare morning, I found his stuff in it's usual place but no soldier beggar in site.

He was back the next day, glasses perched on his nose while he read a book and waited for people to put money in his hat.
Ironically this part of the street is also where the Jesus lovers stand all day with their leaflets about the love of god blah blah blah.

As Fringe begins the number of beggars ramps up. Somedays I pretend they are spies for the local police keeping an eye on the people around the streets. I will give money to the street artists like the man that carves a dog sculpture out of sand, or the Big Issue sellers s and to the local homeless charities.

Bagpipes - early morning starts mean that I don't hear bagpipes when I am in the City. But by the time I go home the drone of the pipes is in the air delighting the tourist. Most often polluting it with the same old tunes. But every now again, usually a young piper, plays something different and then I will stop and listen. They rarely have the US or Japanese tourists around them at this time which is a bonus.
More street music that I enjoy are the south american band that often joyfully play outside Jenners or M&S, or the flautist who plays modern pop song tunes outside the station.

Anyhooo, I haven't forgotten my aim to make sure I always look at the Castle and never forget it's there. Sometimes though ...that's hard! And in foggy weather, I hope that I don't trip over a person whilst looking up at the amazing buildings around.

Our kiddo free week parts 5 and 6

Ok so this is the release date for Guardians of the Galaxy. I had half a day but worked late (unpaid, my own fault but grrrrr). At home, I realised the house was a mess so I tried to clean but sod it. You know what, we were knackered and a little skint from our week that was, so we stayed home, cooked food out of the freezer and watched more Breaking Bad - awesome.

Panic stations. Kiddo was coming home later. So a little less late lie in, a deep kiss or two (we never kiss enough the hubby and I) followed by a touch of Saturday kitchen best bits, then a mad rush around the house with the Flash and vacuum, shoving things into the washing machine that smelt musty and a quick dusting whilst he went off to collect her and the Mother in Law.

And now, sigh it's the evening. We have had our pizza and the kiddo is in bed.  Sunshine on Leith is on the box whilst I [annoyingly] type away at the keys doing my mass update. I'm not done quite yet - one more post to do tonight.

Our kiddo free week part 4: Thai food and Danny Bhoy

Another lovely lie in. Another small lunch - this time because I was expecting a gorgeous dinner. Another late start to work. A shock at the Edinburgh Waverley which was packed full of tourists coming and going to the Friendly Games.

Work was fine. Not much on so I got to chat to a colleague from another office.

Then the fun began.

Dinner was at the rooftop restaurant Chaophraya, This was my second thai meal within a week. On the previous Friday I met a mate for lunch at Time4Thai - crap name but my god, the food was so delicious. I had a dish with fresh peppercorns and holy basil. My mate ordered off menu in Thai (very impressive to me and the Thai waiter). The staff let us eat - they didn't speak English well but who cared as the food was delicious. Now back to the rooftop. I was early but went in anyway to enjoy the view. Nervously I tried to make jokes to a red headed totally HUMOURLESS waiter. Gah!
Hubby eventually turned up and sat down. Two minutes later his team leader walked up to us - of all the restaurants, what a coincidence. They were also headed to the Assembly Rooms after but for a different show! Small world hey?

The couple were so funny when I was taking photos.
This is lovely looking restaurant with a cocktail bar attached with access to a terrace which was beside this glass enclosed dining area. The view has to be the most phenomenal in the City. It did feel odd as people came onto the terrace and were looking into the glass area; obviously they were looking at the view but it made us feel like animals in a zoo.
Yummy sweetcorn cakes and Singha beer. Best bit of the meal. I chose Tofu with pineapple with sticky rice as a main. It was sweet (d'oh!) and I couldn't eat it. Hubby chose chicken satay to start and then prawn dish for main which luckily he enjoyed. This bill was just under £55. As a comparison Time4Thai food was miles better but this place had a view to die for IMHO.
And a final note - I mentioned the sweetness to another waiter (Manuel who was a lot better than the other guy) who assured me he would feedback to the kitchen.

Oxford Bar  - with time to kill we headed to the Oxford Bar which is a old man's boozer frequented by Ian Rankin and featuring in his Rebus books. I loved it and enjoyed my half of IPA and chatting to an old Art Lecturer who was in town visiting art museums. And just look at the window of the ladie's loo door - so pretty! (side note, the old man was trying to catch the eye of an older hottie at the same bench who wasn't interested - wonder if he managed after we left)

p.s. if booze and gourmet burgers is more your thing, head down the same road to the Cambridge Bar :)

Well now what a tardis the Assembly Rooms on George Street are. It's huge inside. After the previous night's experience we didn't expect a huge crowd. Boy was I wrong - we were directed to a long queue that snaked twice along the side of the building. A mixed crowd of old and young. Mostly white - I am still getting used to being the only brown face at Comedy shows. 
Eventually we were allowed in to the Music hall and we chose to go up to the Balcony. Wowsers is this room awesome with a chandelier that I would keep well away from Del, Rodny and Grandad. 
Well now, the show was ace. He is a very funny man. This was his 12th Fringe show, and all proceeds are going to local charities. 
His experience showed as he handled the crowd well - telling an enthusiastic fan shouting about BottleOs (an Aussie offie that Danny has done jokes about before) that with only an hour, there wasn't much time for banter. And much later very deftly told a lady in the audience to turn off her phone as it was rude and distracting. The jokes were so funny - things about not using publicity, about a yob defacing a Danny Bhoy poster to Danny Gay - diligently taking time to cross out the H whilst Danny stood behind him and watched. He joked about the problems comedians have renting flats as they are too high a risk. 
There was singing as part of a joke about blues and stories and BB King singing about going down to the bus stop to get a bus. He likes to sing and has done in previous shows. And another joke about going to a Michelin star restaurant in Canada where the maitre'd insisted he wore a jacket even though the place was empty. And finally a funny rant about how companies are always collecting our details even when it make no sense - I don't think I will ever be able to go to Tony and Guys for a haircut or even go to buy a pair of pants without laughing.
At one point I shushed hubby as I thought he had started his high pitched laugh (usually happen when he is really out of control laughing) - turns out it was the fan next to him. 

Unlike the previous night, I didn't want this one to end - he is such a master of his art and I'm glad that charity or no, we went to see him. 
Thoroughly wholeheartedly recommended. 

Our kiddo free week part 3 - Imran Yusuf / Josie Long pre-Fringe show.

A luxurious lie in until 10am as I was working the afternoon. But urgh - dehli belly caused by those hot chillies so no left overs for lunch just a yummy Red Delicious apple and a cuppa.

That evening we had tickets to see Imran Yusuf at the Underbelly and then later Josie Long at the Stand. I was really excited about Imran Yusuf as whenever we have seen him on the telly he has been hilarious.
Before the show we treated ourselves to a very rushed dinner at Mums Great Comfort Food which was a brilliant find. I enjoyed my choice of veggie sauces and had champ for the first time. But the best bit was the Tempest Brewing Company Holyrood Pale ale. It was DELICIOUS.

Now to the show which was in the Wee Coo - a very long shed painted black. Imran Yusuf was doing a new show Roar of the Underdog. As it was a pre-Festival show there were not many of us in the wee coo shed.  Apparently 34 of us. How do I know? He said it about 6 times at least. And I think he was counting himself and the crew. I don't know what happened as before the show I was raving about him to the people outside and jumping up and down with excitement. It was AWFUL. It was raining. We walked into the shed and were urged to sit at the front. After some rap music, he announced himself and came out in casual clothes, not the shiny suits that he wore when on the telly. He is a lot taller than he looks on the box. Notes in hand he explained that he hadn't been to Fringe for 2 years. Too close to home in parts (he's an Asian born in East Africa who great up in London, though much younger than me). He worked for Sega where one of my brothers was for a while (they never met). The first story was about him being a Godfather to a Catholic friend's kid - something Mr P.M. knew all about as he is Godfather to my catholic niece. Every story was long and what started off as a grin in my face changed to a grimace. The stories were long. At times it felt like a lecture. And a lot of it felt a bit too racist for me. He did something about trying to change people's perception of Muslims but by this time, I was so bored and regretting my front row seat that I didn't care. He didn't make eye contact with me but did with Mr P.M. who did laugh. At the end of the show he just said he wanted to be liked and was happy to meet people outside and sign autographs. 
My review: the boy grew up and got all serious - my humour bone cracked but not with laughter. 

Josie Long at the Stand - umm well we went along and found out that actually the show had been cancelled a few weeks back. After the Imran show I was LIVID. The staff at Stand were really lovely trying to find out if we had been refunded. They emailed the Fringe staff to find out if we had been refunded. 
Date night was over. I had a thundercloud over me and was angry beyond belief that our evening had been so awful. To top it off my feet were killing me (stupid Karrimor shoes) and Mr P.M. who had aleady made the mistake of laughing at the earlier show hadn't really seemed that bothered about the cancellation. So No, I didn't want a drink. I just wanted to go home.
At home, still fuming I check and both The Fringe site  and Josie Long's site still had the show listed. Tehre was link to here Twitter feed and the rage went into overflow as I saw a tweet from her saying how happy she was to be in Edinburgh.WTF. A twitter exchange followed where it turns out she is actually quite a lovely person, was very sympathetic about my rage and offered to get us VIP tickets. I turned those down as it wouldn't have been fun but at least now when she's on the Stewart Lee Alternative Comedy Experience, I won't turn off.

Fringe lessons learnt:
1. Don't believe the Fringe site
2. Don't believe Artist's site 
3. Always ring the venue to check a show is on
4. We had been refunded but as I had decided to save the extortionate £4 per show booking online, the Fringe didn't have my details to tell me the show is cancelled. Hmmm not really a lesson here - I still hate that fee more than this risk of going to shows that aren't on. 
5. Don't go to bed in tears and angry as no-one gets a cuddle and a cold wall between couples is a big waste in kid-free weeks. 

Our kiddo free week parts 1 and 2

Routine again rules our house. At 7.30 I had the battle to take kiddo for her shower - she always enjoys herself in there so the battle is doubly frustrating. Now it's around 8pm and Mr P.M. is upstairs putting kiddo to bed.
We have had a kid free week - and boy did we need it. I love being a mum but sometimes I just want to walk away - be somewhere where I can read what I like, watch what I like on TV and eat what I like without feeling guilty that I haven't made a yummy yet nutritious non spicy meal for kiddo. Freedom wasn't quite what I got though as I still had Mr P.M. around but luckily we took advantage.

The next few posts are going to be about the week that was. Lets start with Monday and Tuesday

A full day of work which means extra money at the end of the month to spend on the house. To be brutally honest, I am not enjoying this job as I have to wake up very early to get the train in and there is a lot of work to squeeze in the hours. But I'm grateful to have a job and on the whole they are flexible which is useful for a parent.
We cracked open the first season of Breaking Bad. Episodes 1 and 2 were fine. But my goodness Epi 3 was slow and I nearly gave up. I spent a lot of time complaining about the wife who was just an awful person!

Tonight's dinner was a falafels. Usually a meal I love but having spent a bit of time on the phone with kiddo it ended up burnt. And our Zinfadel Rose didn't work out - very rarely I get a strong pain in the Eustachian tubes when drinking alcohol. Sod's law it was this time. Bit of a flat evening ensued.

Another working a full day (wooohoooo more hours = more money to spend on the house).  I couldn't be bothered to cook dinner so we had take out from Bay Leaf - I had my usual extra spicy saag paneer and hubby had a prawn curry. He seemed to enjoy his. I loved mine - even though every now and again I was crunching on rougly chopped up chillies. We had our meals with pilau rice and a paratha. It is really lovely being able to order a ruby murray without worrying about kiddo.
More Breaking Bad - we are HOOKED

In some ways it was a normal few days - I got home and moaned about my job. we ate dinner while watching the box. We watched the box until late and we went to bed.

Huffed and puffed and blew the house down

There is a building on St Andrew's Square which for ages has intrigued me. The architecture is not in line with the buildings around but I really liked it. I am sure a lot of visitors get confused as the building is covered with adverts for the National Museum.
I was amazed on the way to work the other day to see that it was being knocked down. And laughed the next day to see a crane raising a bulldozer to the sky! Sadly the building is being replaced by a new shopping centre which will no doubt be full of shops that I cannot afford to go to and will be a further stab in the heart of the few remaining independent shops in this area.

Gullane Bents

One of the lovely things about starting work at 8am is that as a part-timer I finish by 12. When the sun is hot as it has been this amazing summer, it's time to go to the beach. It was Mr P.M.'s week with the kid so luckily we could all spend a lovely day together having a picnic and just doing beach like stuff.

Gullane Bents is a lovely beach North of Edinburgh. The facilities are basic - carpark, toilets and an ice cream van. Kiddo and I met friends there last year and it was glorious. And there has been no change this week. The only sad point was that I again failed to visit the Falko Konditormeister shop - luckily he has a shop in Edinburgh too so I hope to visit.

Mr P.M. and kiddo love going to beach - sandcastles, paddling in water and skimming stones are just some of the fun they have. In the meantime, I like to go for a walk at the water edge looking for shells and jelly fish.
We only decided to leave as there was a group next to us cooking a BBQ - a signal that it was time for young families to go home and the young thangs to take over the beach :)

The carpark at the Gullane Bents is being improved. This might be due the Scottish Open which will be held at the nearby Gullane Golf club next year. Hopefully it won't lead to this beach becoming too spoilt.