Monday, 22 August 2011

Space Invaders

Not talking about the iconic  80's electronic game, nope. I'm talking about the Tourists that descend on our City during Festival time.

I probably sound like a broken record at this time of year but jeez, it never gets easier. It's bad when you're trying to get from A to B, bad enough walking. Try running, i reckon it must be like being in the boxing ring, ducking and diving and dodging from side to side, don't even get me started on the brollies.  God knows how I've managed to avoid the buses and lorries that trundle towards me at speed when I'm forced out onto road at various times.

And then there's the buses. We  are very lucky to have a superb bus service in Edinburgh. Buses are regular, drivers happy,they're pretty much on time and we have wee monitors to tell us when they're expected. All good. Until you find 5 buses turning up at once cause the traffic has come to a standstill, that's after waiting 30mins for the buses that are every ten minutes. Normally.

So the bus arrives and six million people pile off, you climb on to find another six million still there, all standing at the bottom of the stairs. I peer back the bus and see free seats, i enquire if there are seats upstairs. Yes, plenty I'm told. SO WHY THE FUCK ARE YOU ALL BLOCKING THE WAY!!!

I squeeze past the numpties and climb up the stair only to have to beat a hasty retreat because someone has either forgotten they wanted to get off here, or are trying to get down stairs for next stop. "deep breathes" Up i go again, to find an almost empty top deck. *sigh*

Hey, at least I've got a seat. I'm on my way home. It might take longer than normal (about twice as long) but sometimes there is no option (hurt my toe during Devil) But why oh why is every crazy person on same bus as me? I'm sure i have radar, a crazies radar. When I'm on the bus i look down on the streets and it's like ants crawling over the pavement. Every square inch is taken. There are queues everywhere. There are venues everywhere, there are tents, marquees, upside down cows and bars everywhere.

If you walk down the royal Mile and hear a blood curling scream, don't worry, there's not been a MURDUR,  it's just the thespians giving us a little taster of their show. I'm sure we'll all be rushing along to that one.

It's actually the only time i ever feel a bit threatened running at 5am in morning. Most of the clubs are granted late licenses and take full advantage, which is fair enough, there are certainly enough people in town to fill them all! Apparently the population doubles at this time of year.The strangest venue i've seen this year so far is in a carpet shop in brunts field, i kid you not.
 Back to the running, i go to the gym Mon/wed/fri and my gym is at Quartermile, right next to the meadows, which is right next to lots of said venues. In past 2 weeks I've passed several crowds of rather drunk people.

I've seen a guy getting a blowjob in middles of meadows, I've seen girls on walk of shame and I've seen huge crowds of drunk people making their way home. I get the occasional one attempt to run alongside, i get the occasional comment but no one has actually been threatening, i just feel that way.

Apart from all that i love the Festival. No really i do.

I love the vibe it gives to the city, i love the way that it's no one turns a blind eye to a punk nun in suspenders, and that's just the men. It also obviously brings a shed load of money in too and I'm happy that people get to see just how beautiful this place is.

Last weekend i was was supposed to be heading up to Torridon. For the last 3 years now Andy (3rd Male at Devil dontcha know) has been taking us fetchies on trips up the mountains. He is an experienced Munro bagger and is also a Duke of Edinburgh Assessor. The first year we all headed up to Mar Lodge and spent a glorious few days in the Cairngorms and climbed up Ben Mcdhui (thats only one i remember lol) We ran some spectacular trails and it was truly fabulous. Last year we stayed in Ballaculish and although i arrived later after doing Clyde Stride the rest of crew had spent a fabulous day up Glencoe area (until Phil broke his foot again!) We arrived late in day and drank til small hours then headed back out next day to explore.

So Torridon was the place of choice this year. But it wasn't to be, for me anyway. We've been so busy every weekend and trying to fit everything we want to do and everyone we want to see that something had to give. I'd not done any Festival stuff with Ian, I'd not seen Jemima for months and the club Handicap race was on so i decided to can Torridon and see more of my loved ones instead.

So Ian took the opportunity and booked us tickets for the Tattoo, something I'd always wanted to see. Before that we had some people to see before they were heading off to Chamonix to play in the Mountains. Karen & George just happened to bump into Jane and her hubby and before you could say "mine's a Guinness" they were all holed up in the Hebrides, along with Keith, Norm and Ian King. We completed the set but had missed Ian King. Norm left citing "I'm 2hours late home" then returned much to our amusement! It was great to see them all, have maybe too many drinks then everyone went their separate ways around 8ish to go to various shows/eat/home.

Tattoo was great but cold, it hadnt rained all day of course, it just waited til we were sat in Castle Esplanade high up closer to the clouds! Actually I'm being a bit mean it didnt start til about halfway through and stopped before end.The castle looked spectaculour.  We were bloody cold though, and starving! A very late dinner was had around 11pm and after getting to out street and seeing our local open we though it rude not to go in (til it shut at 1am) Which of course meant we needed more wine when we got home right? hmmm

Next day Ian was off doing VIP stuff and i was doing same. I finally managed to organise time with Jemima. We'd been trying for 2 months to go an Spa day that I'd got a good deal on and couldnt get our diaries to match.  Finally we had a free day so off we got booked up and headed off to Norton House for a superbly relaxing day.Jemima surprised me with a beautiful engraved picture frame with West Highland Way Race, at top and my time at bottom,  she'd put a picture of me with my goblet in it too, incredibly thoughtful present.  We had such a superbly realxing time i fell asleep in relaxation room even with J yapping in my ear ;) We sat afterwards having our champagne (all part of the fab deal we got) and i was wiped out.

Ian came and picked us and after trying to decide where to eat he dropped us in city centre whilst he popped hometo drop car off and rejoin us. Cue us traipsing from restaurant to restaurant trying to get a table. we were in at least 12 different places and it was like Jesus & Mary, there was no room at the Inn. Anywhere. We contempleted grabbing a tourist and eating one of their arms at certain points, neither of us had eaten since breakfast and it was now gone 8pm. Eventually we headed to Tempus thinking it would do for a drink at least but managed to procure a table, with menus!

Ian arrvied back and we had long wait on food, i occasionally nibbled the table and sipped my wine and got tireder and tireder. I am either turning into a super lightweight or the Spa just wiped me out totally. Once we'd eaten Jemima's OH arrvied and we headed off for another drink before heading home. Was in bed by stroke of midnight, just before i turned into a pumpkin.

Up with the lark on Sunday to head to Balerno for our club Handicap Race. It's billed as a 10k but is actually 6.5miles, nearly 11k. Great race and tough on legs as it was my first 10k in about a year or so. Great to see everyone though and it was superbly organised by Norma and her crew.

I ran back home aftwerwards and Ian ran back way we came to get car, then we headed out for for well earned brunch after. Followed by a donder into town to have a wander through the Festival crowds , have wee drink and watch world go by.

Was almost glad to get back to work for a rest.

I said almost.....

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