What Rhymes With Typhoid Anyway?

August 17, 2017

The last day of our week in Edinburgh always goes the same way – we save a couple of guaranteed good shows for the final day so that we finish on a high (that way we are less likely to drive off the road because we’ve been driven to despair by something terrible), we have a nice lie in, and we go and get gifts and the like for the children in the family.

I say we. Carole goes and gets gifts and the like for the children in the family. I do not. I have a very low tat threshold when it comes to the wide array of almost identical but just slightly different tourist shops in places like Edinburgh. I tend to hover around somewhere, just chilling and taking in the atmosphere.

In previous years, I have been flyered by a person who told me that I looked just like the sort of person who would enjoy a play based on the actual transcripts from the Salem Witch Trials. To this day, I have no idea what that says about me. It’s certainly not a look that I go for on a conscious level, but maybe I just ooze a natural yearning for a dramatized look at the persecution of women in 17th Century colonial Massachusetts.

But it does go some way to illustrate the kind of thing that is available to be seen during the run of the Fringe. It’s not all comedy, my friends. There are many, many things to be seen and experienced. Like plays about drowning people in rivers because someone once died after they had been near them for an indeterminate amount of time.

This year, though, my favourite moment of “WTF? There’s a show about that?!?” came while I was waiting at the top of Cockburn Street (sadly not pronounced how it is spelt, dispelling any hope that the origins of the street name came from a curious man and a candle) for Carole to finish buying my mum a bag which folded into a blue tit when it was put away (and will, for now and forever, be known as mum’s tit bag). I watched two people handing out flyers for different shows. They were within spitting distance of each other – initially I assumed they were together but eventually it became evident that they were not.

During a lull in the foot traffic, they asked each other about their shows. I can’t remember what one of them was about, such was the excitement of the pitch. But the other was just magical, and tapped right into my unconscious desire for historical theatre based around random, significant events.

It was Typhoid Mary The Musical.

I know, right.

What cries out for the musical treatment more than a woman who was suspected of being a carrier of typhoid and infecting 51 people (three of whom died) during her career as a cook at the end of the 19th/start of the twentieth century.

I am willing to bet there are some catch songs in that one. You know, real earworms that – days later, when you’re back at work in the office – you find yourself singing. Something with a really punchy chorus and repeated use of the word “typhoid” – my love knows no barrier, but I am a carrier… Typhoid!

That sort of thing.

Or maybe:

My name is Mary,
And this is quite scary
I’m one to avoid
I carry typhoid.

Not that we know it
Because there’s no symptoms to show it
I’m one to avoid
I carry typhoid.

Repeat to fade.


Roll With It

August 16, 2017

Carole’s going camping this weekend with her sister, they’re heading up to the Lake District to faff around in the pouring rain and maybe go for a spin on their dad’s boat.

Part of the camping gear, then, is the sleeping bag. It, and its partner, have lived up in the loft for a while now – since we last camped, which is ages ago.

So Carole washed it in the bath. And tge discovered it was too heavy to move through the house, so she – eventually – threw it out of the bathroom window to land in a washing basket with an almighty splat, showering the washing that was already outside (and me) with water.

It basically lived on the washing line for two days as it dried and aired.

And yesterday I thought I would be kind and loving and roll it back up and put it in its little bag.

I, apparently, am a fool.

I spent a long time folding it, rolling it and general manhandling it to try and get it put away. I managed – on about the fifth or sixth attempt to get it into some semblance of a roll that might fit in the bag.

But therein lies the problem – it is next to impossible, even if you employ all your limbs, to hold a rolled up sleeping bag tight AND get it into the little bag it should fit in without the help of ten to fifteen other people. Or, at the very least, an octopuss.

But that is not to say I didb’t achieve the impossible.

Looking at a sleeping bag, you wouldn’t think it possible to throw it across the room in an expletive-ridden huff.

But let me tell you, it’s a damn sight easier than getting it in that little bastard bag.

Where Am I?

August 15, 2017

One of Carole’s secret skills is to carry with her no sense of direction whatsoever.

When she went to Venice a couple of years ago she got completely lost in a maze of narrow streets and found her way back to her hotel more by luck than management, which meant that I missed out on being one of those concerned partners who are flown out to places where loved ones go missing. So that has to stay on my bucket list for a bit longer.

I can understand her getting lost in Venice though, because it was her first time there.

Edinburgh, on the other hand, is a place we have been many times. Many, many times. We have walked around most of it. And yet it still appears to be a mystery to her in every way.

Even if we’ve walked the same route in the last 24 hours.

We’d head off somewhere and within minutes Carole would be veering off somewhere. The most commonly uttered phrase as we negotiate the city is “where are you going?” as I try and work out the logic behind her directions.

She can, however, with unfailing accuracy, find the statue of Greyfriar’s Bobby.

She bloody loves that thing. It draws her, like a magnet, so that she can rub his shiny little nose and make a wish that she might just get a little bit better at finding her way about…

… but even wishes have limitations.

No Shows

August 14, 2017

Every time we go to the Fringe, Carole says that we should try out new shows or people that we haven’t seen before.

And we have done.

For the most part we’ve got away with it and that has added to the roster of people we can call upon to see knowing that we will get a good show out if it. Fern Brady, for example, is an example of a chance taken a couple of years ago that had a superb show again this year and, hopefully, will for years to come.

Anne Edmonds, however, was excellent a few years ago and pretty crap this year (Carole hated it, I didn’t mind but it wasn’t fantastic).

And we must never speak of Gareth Morinan who was just weird.

So this year we took, in amongst the favourites and friends, a chance on a few shows. Some paid off. Ellie Taylor, for example, was new to us and based purely on bits and bobs of TV and she’s selling out every night because her show is that good.

Others, of whom we shall not speak, not so much.

It’s our fault, in a way. We have the power of the internet at our disposal. We should Google and YouTube the bejesus out of these people so that we know and can make an informed decision based on that.

We’ve done it in the past.

We did not do it in this case.

Which has led to Carole changing her show-booking guidelines for future years. There is, she now says, no reason we should see shows or people outside of our friends and/or favourites.

Because no-one wants to be sitting in a crowd of eight people when Carole audibly mutters “oh for fuck’s sake!” At the thought of some role-play.

We’d rather be in the turret of a building throwing plastic balls into a silly hat, laughing at someone’s unfortunate square hips or enjoying the over-running antics of a man who is paid £7200 on the BBC payment list.

We’ll forget all this by next June as we pour over the latest guidebook. I feel that present us should send future us a letter, like Doc to Marty at the end of BTTF 2 warning us of our fates lest we journey down this path again.

We have been warned.

YOLO Froyo

August 13, 2017

While we were in Edinburgh, the whole week passed by without a single solitary macaroni pie passing my lips. Such a thing has not happened before – macaroni pies are high on my list if priorities for surviving the Fringe week. But this time they eluded me. I went into Gregg’s to get one and there was not a one to be seen and, somehow, our travels did not take us past the welcoming doorway of Piemaker where I could have indulged my love of pastry-based savouries wuth great gusto.

We did, however, form a bond with frozen yogurt. Potentially, along with the raspberry and vanilla buns from Peter’s Yard, a replacement – of sorts – for the joys of macaroni cheese in a pastry shell.

I think, in a way, we subconsciously found ways to walk past the froyo, just so that one of us would suggest going in. And the other, master manipulator that he or she was in this instance, would put up little to no resistance to the idea and soon we’d be perched on a bright pink bench watching the world go by and wondering on the logistics of froyo creation in the home environment.

A lot.



August 12, 2017

While we were away, my mum – half-blind and pulling to the right – stayed at our house, primarily as a conduit to ensuring that there was not a dead cat to be dealt with upon our return.

And, hopefully, not a dead mother either. We spent all week waiting for a text each morning so that we at least knew she was okay first thing in the morning. Because it’s easy to conjure up a gazillion ways that your mother could die in a house she’s unfamiliar with, with stairs that she doesn’t normally contend with and a cat who is a trip hazard even to those with full eyesight.

But talking to her today, after our return home last night, I’m not sure we needed to worry about anything.

Basically, over the last week, as well as watching so many episodes of The Flash that she is “all Flashed out” and entirely confused by the whole thing, possibly spurred on by The Flash planting subliminal messages about cleaning products, she’s cleaned, hoovered and/or washed everything,


She’s stripped, washed and remade our bed, she’s washed the previous bedding we’d taken off earlier in the week. She’s hoovered everywhere. She’s hoovered the stairs – which, in a way, doesn’t even bear thinking about as she dragged the Dyson along with her. She’s cleaned the kitchen, washed the bathroom, including the mats.

She’s also done all the ironing.

Basically, we are now trying to come up with places to go every couple of weeks so we can get mum – half-blind and pulling to the right – to do all the housework for us.

We didn’t ask her to do it. We didn’t ecpect her to do it. There was us, 235 miles away, worried about boredom setting in and mum going slowly mad and, it turns out, she was as happy as could be with random bits of mainly unnecessary housework.

And all we had to pay her in was cat snuggles (that she secretly adored)  and some custard creams.



August 11, 2017

Well that’s our Fringe over for another year. As I write this we’re somewhere in the 13 miles or roadworks on the A1. It’s something to eleven at night and we’re both knackered, broken husks of our former selves.

You forget, or maybe block from your minds, the emotional turmoil your feet will be subjected to. And your lower legs. And upper legs as well for good measure.

You walk – and this year I know this thanks to Carole’s Fitbit – fricking miles every day. Even though in your head you’re just nipping between venues that, until this revelation, you considered to be almost geographical bed-fellows.

Your feet know differently, and by the fourth or fifth day they’re taking every uneven cobble as a personal insult and letting you know exactly where you can shove the notion of any more walking about. And when you throw in the propensity for venues to work vertically then you feet and calves hate you even more, if such a thing is possible.

And they will continue their campaign of hate for the next couple of days. Already, on this journey home, they’ve hated being sat down and the walk betwixt car and plush motorway services toilet.

And tomorrow they’ll hate going to and from the car unpacking all the crap (Carole’s, incidentally) we took to Scotland with us. They’ll hate me every time I go up or down stairs. Or go from the couch to the kitchen. Or go… you get the idea -my legs are sore. Very sore. My feet the same…

And yet, despite the impemding limp, it’s all completely worth it.