Yesterday Carmen and I went into the city centre to join the throngs of people out experiencing the Fringe Festival. This festival takes place every year in Edinburgh and is one of the biggest festivals in the world. When we first moved here, Fringe was going on, but it was the tail end and Mr. K and I thought that we weren't quite ready for anything like that since we were all jet laged and such. Last summer we weren't really motivated to go because it can be really crowded, but this year I vowed that I would go down at least once. So, Carmen and I went.
I left Nala at home and brought the dreaded white stick because I was worried Nala would get trampled. I also thought that it might be a bit too stressful for her. It's funny how you grow and mature as a handler. If this had been the Jetta era, I would have taken her with me, crowds be damned, but I've come to realise that sometimes it's better for the dog to stay home. I think it helps preserve their working life and we all know that I have all body parts crossed for this working relationship to last a long time.
We didn't pay to get into any of the shows. There are comedy acts, plays and concerts going on constantly, but there are also a lot of free things you can experience as well. Also, for me, just being in the atmosphere of it all was what I was looking for. We wandered along the streets, examining what the vendors were selling and stopping to listen to a few street musicians. It's all sanctioned and everyone has to have a license to perform on the street. There was one fiddle player, who I assume was from Ireland, who was really good. He played the fiddle and accompanied himself on a drum that he hit with his foot. There was also a female piper we stopped to listen to. I'm sure there are women who play the bagpipes, but she's the first I've seen since we moved here. There were also several guitar players/singers, clowns, some guy making balloon animals and pretty much any other kind of performer you can think of. At one point a group of actors, trying to promote their evening performance came rushing past yelling and hollering while one of their cast members was being pushed along in a grocery cart. anything goes in Fringe. There was even one guy who paints portraits using spray paint. I've heard of him before and we stopped to watch him.
A lot of the vendors were selling jewelry or hand made crafts such as wood working and knitted items. Some of it was really nice stuff, and some of it was crap. There was one necklace I fell in love with that I stood holding for about ten minutes trying to figure out how to make it myself. The guy was asking fifty pounds for it which I was not about to pay, since I know I could make it for less than half of that. Sneaky salesman though, handing me one of the most expensive items. There was a guy who made bee and humming bird hotels; someone else who made jewelry that was insect themed; hand painted scarves; people selling prints of their paintings and so much more. I can't count how many vendors had Scottish themed products such as tweed jewelry, bags, furniture Etc. The thistle was out in full force on magnets, hats, prints, scarves, bottle openers Etc. It would have been really easy to spend way too much money, but I am proud to say that I only paid for bus fare and threw a few pounds into some of the musicians' open cases. I really don't need more stuff.
By the time we had spent just over three hours browsing items, listening to performers and attempting to avoid death by trampling, I had definitely had my fill of the Fringe atmosphere. I'm really glad we went and I'm glad to say that I was there, but I really don't need to go back. I grabbed the business cards of a few of the vendors that I liked, like the woman who made the insect inspired jewelry-mostly because she had fairies she had made-and I'll just look them up online.
As for Nala she was all sorts of excited when I got home, as was all of the other fuzzy creatures. I think she was a bit put out that I didn't take her, but I think if she knew what she was missing, she wouldn't have been so miffed