Jim Haynes newsletters

Newsletter No. 722

International Edinburgh Fringe Festival
30 July to 28 August 2013

 
Edinburgh Fringe Festival 2013 logo

 

Tuesday, July 30th: Up, shower, shave, shampoo, dress, pack. Elena, the beautiful young woman from Lithuania, arrives with fresh croissants. She is so lovely. How kind of her to arrive. Call a taxi and we go to collect Antonia Hoogewerf. And continue to the Gare du Nord. Hug Elena farewell. Quickly clear customs. Joke with the French official about Louisiana. Train departs at 11.47. We are served a delightful lunch. There is an almost full page obituary of Garry Davis in today's International Herald Tribune. Dear Garry, we were cohorts for a number of years. In 1971 I tracked him down in a tiny village on the Swiss border and urged we get into action. We created a World Passport that was recognized by a number of countries. My home in Paris became a World Government Embassy and we issued passports to hundreds. Then one day the French government brought a criminal case against us. Too long and complicated to go into here and now. The upshot was that I stopped issuing passports. Garry left France and settled in Vermont where he continued. Just weeks before he died, Garry had a World Passport sent to Edward Snowden in Moscow. Nansen, a Norwegian diplomat, issued his own passport just after the Russian revolution and won the Nobel Prize for Peace two times. Dear dear Garry, RIP. We arrive two hours later at St. Pancras. Taxi to Ernie's. I exit but Antonia continues to Patricia, her sister's place. Collect the key from the woman in flat 4 as Ernie has instructed.
Ernie and I co-host an Indian take-away dinner from Khans for about half a dozen: Alan & Sarah Ereira, Dan Topolski, Brian Butterworth, Louise Stjernsward, Mary Clemmey, Ernie and yours truly. Samra Turajlic arrives with her husband, Ali Albazzar, and their new son, Hakiya.

Wednesday, 31st: Breakfast with Ernie. Bus afterwards to Chiswick and lunch with Dorota Chrisp. Late afternoon taxi to John Flattau's hotel, the Pelham. In the evening, dine with John, Isaac & Becky, Antonia, Ken Howard and his friend, Ben. It's a wonderful Thai restaurant called Walmer Castle. Try to talk John into going up to Edinburgh, but no success.

Thursday, August 1st: Antonia collects me at 9.30 and we head for Kings X and Edinburgh. Kate, a lovely Edinburgh University student, meets the train and takes me in a wheelchair to the 1st class lounge. There a taxi is called and I am delivered to 84 Great King Street and Antonia continues in the taxi to her hotel. Greet Ruth and Martin. Ruth is watching her grand daughter, Stella.
After a bit, I taxi to Marks & Spencer's and change Euros. Walk around to Hanover Street and purchase a Bus Pass. Take a bus up the Mound to Chambers Street and walk to the Hotel du Vin. Call Toni Bentley and discover she is out. But talk with Scott Asen and we agree that I will collect them at 7. Stroll to George Square and say hello to Elsa Parent. I was able to get her a job with the Assembly. Walk past the two sculptures that were unveiled last August to honor my Paperback Bookshop & Gallery and head for the Assembly press room and embrace Kelly Fogarty. Greet Emma Fyvie and Fiona Evans. And am introduced to about six others: Jane Pickering from New Zealand, Georgia Fox, Laura Donaldson, Laura Nixon, Cabrina Rose, and Catherine "Cathy" Smith. Am introduced to a Sasha from Moscow. This is his first Edinburgh Festival. Collect three press tickets for Broadway Enchanté for tonight. Cross the street to the Hotel du Vin. Scott and Toni join me and we taxi to the Assembly on the Mound. Toni is outrageous. She has brought 8,000 condoms from Los Angeles advertising her show, The Surrender. We meet Fiona Duff, who is handling the press for Broadway Enchanté.

 
The Surrender condom pack cover photo©Nacho García (Sweetmedia)
The Surrender condom pack cover
photo©Nacho García (Sweetmedia)

Then see Isabelle Stoffel and her director, Sigfrid Monleon, plus her producer, David Ricondo. And the lovely Violeta Medina, who is taking care of press. See Bill Burdett Coutts and we exchange greetings.

Broadway Enchanté is as wonderful as ever. The Le Monde quote, "The best anti-depressant ever!" is 100% accurate. I am not sure how many times I have seen the show, but I love it every time. So full of joy! Isabelle Georges and Frederik Steenbrink thank me afterwards from the stage. Two sweethearts.
Antonia, Scott, Toni and I dine afterwards in The Outsider in George IV Bridge. Eddie gets us a table. We give him two tickets to The Surrender and a condom. Dinner is excellent. Chat with the proprietor, Malcolm, afterwards. Give him condoms as well. Our lovely waitress, Laura, also gets condoms. Faith Liddell enters and gets a table next to ours. I give her condoms and introduce her to Scott, Toni and Antonia. She then introduces her table guests to us. There is a fellow from Buenos Aires and a lovely woman from San Pablo who is with the British Council there I think.
Scott insists upon treating us all. They then walk the short distance to their hotel. He flies to New York City in the morning. I find a taxi, drop Antonia at her hotel and continue to Great King Street. And bed.

Friday, 2nd: Up at 8. Blood sugar level is OK. Ruth brings me coffee and toast. See Stuart Trotter in the kitchen and give him a condom. Tablet and mobile telephone are recharged. I call Barbora, the wonderful young woman from Lithuania. I managed to get her a job in Summerhall. We agree to meet at the Florentine at 12.30. Quickly shave, shower and dress. Out the door and stroll the short distance to the Florentine. Barbora arrives just as I do. Looking extremely beautiful! We taxi to the Scottish Arts Club and have a wee meeting with Chris and Mhairi Kerr.
All is well for Saturday evening. Spot Gabor Ronay and he joins us for lunch. Taxi afterwards to the BBC offices near the Scotsman newspaper. Isabelle Georges and Edouard Pennes will join me for an interview.

  Broadway Enchanté Edinburgh 2013  flyer
Broadway Enchanté
flyer

Barbora leaves us. We go upstairs to a studio and it happens straight away. Isabelle sings, Edouard plays the guitar and I chat about Broadway Enchanté. Over quickly. They drop me in a taxi at Summerhall. See Robert McDowell and Rupert Thomson. Let myself get talked into seeing a very silly show. Afterwards Robert takes me upstairs to see Richard Demarco. Am introduced to lots of people. Richard looks great! Greet Richard's assistant, Terry Newman. Somehow we talk about Garry Davis. See Catherine Robins. Test my blood sugar again and its far too high. Damn. Go downstairs and sit in the court yart with Catherine and with Astrid Silins. We are joined by David Hammond who has a 17 piece big band concert every Friday night at Summerhall. He and I talk about Tam and Gunnie MacPhail. He goes to get me a hot chocolate. Get into a conversation with two fellows from Belgium. One is the father of a little beauty. They have a production in Summerhall Bonanza. Marina, from Madrid, offers me a ticket to see a show in Spanish at 8 pm. I accept. I call Toni to see if she would like to join me. She says she will stay in her hotel room and do some writing. Later I am pleased she did not join me. The show is super silly. But Isabelle Stoffel, Sigfrid and David say they will come. I elect to have a quick meal. We rush to see the show. They like it better than I do. But I think I am tired and this is one reason. Afterwards we have drinks in the bar. Sigfrid and David decide to see a late night production. Isabelle and I find a taxi and I drop her at her place. And continue to mine. And straight to bed.

Saturday, 3rd: Up at 7. Then back to bed for two hours. Blood sugar level is OK. Ruth brings me coffee and toast. Walk to Florentine and have a latte and a bacon roll. Bus up the Mound and stick my head into the Assembly press room. Chat with Bill Burdett Coutts and with Kelly Fogarty. Give all the press staff condoms. Walk to George Square and spot Sigfrid and David. Sigfrid photographs me in front of the rhino sculpture. Visit briefly with Elsa Parent and she is so lovely. She will go to New York after the Festival to discover her American roots. Lucky New York! Walk to the Teviot and hand out leaflets and condoms. Chat with Shawn and Ruby in the coffee stand. Ruby is from Sydney. Tell Ruby about my free trip round the world thanks to the Mayor and Mayoress of Melbourne.
Go up to see The Surrender at 1.30. Isabelle Stoffel is wonderful. Sit with Toni and Antonia afterwards. We all express our admiration for Isabelle.
Stroll with Antonia to the Fringe Centre and it is packed. Go upstairs and wave to Kath Mainland who is in a meeting. Back downstairs and briefly chat with Neil Mackinnon. Antonia and I walk to the Assembly private bar and Callum serves us cranberry juice (me) and pineapple juice (Antonia). He is from Edinburgh. We next taxi to the Traverse. Head for something to eat downstairs. Cross paths with Linda Crooks. We talk about her meeting with Jane Alexander and Ed Sherrin in New York City recently. We both agree that they are 100% wonderful! Antonia has soup and I have fish and chips. On our way out, see Orla O'Loughlin, the current Artistic Director of the Traverse. And give her a warm embrace. We walk across to the Sheridan Hotel so Antonia can change into another dress.
Then we find a taxi and ride the short distance to the Assembly on the Mound. Broadway Enchanté is extremely good tonight. I never tire of it. Outside we find another taxi and soon arrive at the Scottish Arts Club.
And the party begins. The Club President, Diana Allen, introduces herself. So many friends. So many new introductions. Head upstairs and immediately spot Barbora B and she looks extremely beautiful. She is sitting with Martin Burke, Ruth Holloway and Hugh Muirhead. Isabelle Stoffel and Sigfrid Monleon are present. See Junko and Ian MacKenzie. Then spot Catherine Robins and Astrid Silins. Fiona Duff has come. Mike Wade, a delighful fellow and a London Times journalist, and I exchange greetings. He has his notebook out and seems to be taking notes. Isabelle Georges, Frederik Steenbrink, Jérome Sarfati, David Grébil, Edouard Pennes and Veronique, his fiance, all arrive. Later they will sing and play for everyone. Meet the Directer of the French Institute, Vincent Guérin. There is a large number of people from France including the mime, Julien Cottereau, a Professor of Economics from Bordeaux, Vanessa Olta, who has written a play about Adam Smith. Am introduced to Lucy Dreznin, Alison Smale and Sergei Dreznin's daughter. She tells me her mother in now running the New York Times bureau in Berlin. This I knew. I tell her that her father once stayed in my place. Before she was born. Everyone seems to be having a grand time. I spot George and Sara McBean. Exchange hugs with Hilary Mounfield. See Tom and Ann Drake. Lance Tait is present and busy talking with Ian MacKenzie. David Sloan has come with a lovely blonde woman. Later I am told that 120 people is the limit for people on the premises and we were 135.

Sunday, 4th: Up at 8. Last night's party was a big success. My blood sugar level is a perfect 137. My nurses in Paris would be pleased. Give myself my morning insulin injection. Ruth arrives with coffee and toast. We discuss last night's party. We talk about her two daughters, Grace and Tara, and their pregnancies. Quickly shave, shower and shampoo. Call Astrid. She invites me to join her and a journalist friend of John Lloyd's for lunch in the Grassmarket. Call Catherine Robins and get invited to her place for brunch. Take a taxi to Catherine's and she greets me and leads me out back to her garden. We are joined by Anna Stableton and a fellow named Steve. Then Antonia Hoogewerf arrives. I mention Antonia's family name, Wheatley, and Catherine reveals that her mother and father know Antonia's mother and father. Small world. After a delightful brunch, I slip out and go to meet Astrid in the Grassmarket. We have lunch in a restaurant called Gennaro with a journalist friend of John Lloyd's, David Goodhart. And his son and his son's girlfriend. And David kindly picks up the check for everyone.
Later I go to the Fringe Media Centre. Then end up at a sidewalk café just opposite the McEwan Hall with Barbora, Ruth Holloway and Antonia, I have my usual hot chocolate.
Go and meet Toni in the Hotel du Vin upstairs bar. She is with Liz Block who has just seen The Surrender and they are talking about it. Our waitress is a delightful young woman from Lithuania named Indre Bikulcyte.
Somehow end up having dinner in Summerhall with Antonia, Toni Bentley, Isabelle Stoffel and Sigfrid Monleon. Then Antonia and I go to George Square and end up seeing Vegas Underground. Clare Walters is looking after this venue. We are pleasantly surprised to see each other. Clare tells me she might need a bed next week for one or two nights. Take a taxi and drop off Antonia. Our driver is named Robert and he tells me he exchanged a taxi fare for my autobiography in 1984.

Monday, 5th: Up before 8 am. I have an email message from Jesper in Brooklyn. Ruth brings most welcomed coffee and toast. And the Aurora Nova programme. Call Carol Allison to see if she has a room and/or bed available for Clare. Alas she is full. Thank her for looking after Barbora. Bus up the hill to Café Rouge and await Antonia's arrival.

Sit at a table in the window. Talk to the nice waiter from Poland. Antonia arrives and we order. A feast. After we stuff ourselves, Antonia departs for Waverly Station and a train South. She is going to her grand daughter's wedding. Talk to a pretty young woman from Berlin. Elisa Schloht is an actress. I offer to get her and her friend tickets to The Surrender and Broadway Enchanté for today.She is delighted. Go across the street to the post office and purchase stamps for France. Write a few postcards. Taxi to the Scottish Arts Club. I have forgotten it is closed on Monday. A cleaner lets me in and I sit and write a few cards to friends in Paris. My mobile phone rings and it is Isabelle Stoffel. We are on the front page of The Herald today. Hooray for Neil Cooper. Inside is a great review and a wonderful large colour photograph of Isabelle.

Isabelle Stoffel and The Surrender on The Herald's front page
The Herald front page header on Monday August 5, 2013

Taxi to the Assembly press room and visit with Kelly, Fiona and les girls. They are one of the best shows in the Festival. Kelly gets me a ticket for the Peter Straker's Jacques Brel show this afternoon and for Steven Berkoff and Nirbhaya tomorrow.

Monday, 5th: Up before 8 am. I have an email message from Jesper in Brooklyn. Ruth brings most welcomed coffee and toast. And the Aurora Nova programme. Call Carol Allison to see if she has a room and/or bed available for Clare. Alas she is full. Thank her for looking after Barbora. Bus up the hill to Café Rouge and await Antonia's arrival. Sit at a table in the window. Talk to the nice waiter from Poland. Antonia arrives and we order. A feast. After we stuff ourselves, Antonia departs for Waverly Station and a train South. She is going to her grand daughter's wedding. Talk to a pretty young woman from Berlin. Elisa Schloht is an actress. I offer to get her and her friend tickets to The Surrender and Broadway Enchanté for today. She is delighted. Go across the street to the post office and purchase stamps for France. Write a few postcards. Taxi to the Scottish Arts Club. I have forgotten it is closed on Monday. A cleaner lets me in and I sit and write a few cards to friends in Paris. My mobile phone rings and it is Isabelle Stoffel. We are on the front page of The Herald today. Hooray for Neil Cooper. Inside is a great review and a wonderful large colour photograph of Isabelle. Taxi to the Assembly press room and visit with Kelly, Fiona and les girls. They are one of the best shows in the Festival. Kelly gets me a ticket for the Peter Straker's Jacques Brel show this afternoon and for Steven Berkoff and Nirbhaya tomorrow.
Go and catch the second half of The Surrender and see Elsa and her friend from Paris at the exit. Sit with Toni and we talk about the production. Give her tickets for Steve Berkoff and wander off to George Square. Eat a fajitas wrap. Walk back to Assembly Checkpoint and see the Brel show with Peter Straker. I have never been a big Jacques Brel fan, but I do enjoy this show. Meet Geraldine Menzies afterwards, the producer. And we talk about Martin and Ruth. And this show.
Stroll slowly down George IV Bridge and stop and have a fish and chips dinner. Share the table with a Barbara from the Czech Republic. It is her first time in Scotland and she is enjoying it.
Walk to the Assembly on the Mound and see the second half of Broadway Enchanté. An almost full house. Superb performance. See the actress from Berlin, Elisa, again. She thanks me and tells me she loved the production. Josette Milgram-Todorovitch, the principal producer of Broadway Enchanté, invites me to dine with her and the cast at the Hotel du Vin restaurant. I tell her I have dined already, but will join them for a drink. Bus down to Chambers Street and walk the short distance to the Hotel du Vin. Sit next to the wonderful and beautiful Isabelle Georges. Taxi home at midnight.

Tuesday, 6th: Up at 7. Decide this is silly and go back to bed for another hour. Ruth brings coffee and toast at 8, so get out of bed again. Test blood sugar levels and it is high again. Damn. Get a good review of The Surrender via email from Toni. Ruth tells me that she enjoyed The Surrender and that she and Martin enjoyed Broadway Enchanté. Martin has not seen The Surrender. Taxi to Stockbridge and leave two shirts and a pair of trousers to be dry-cleaned. Go the Scottish Arts Club and write a check to pay for another 12 guests. Walk to the Traverse and get tickets for Events for Thursday evening. Chat with all the Traverse press staff. Not sure how many there are, but it includes Ciar O'Siochain, Becky McGann, Jeremy Abrahams, Julie McSkimming, Joy Parkinson, and Kate Park. Leave them and go downstairs and have lentil and bacon soup for lunch.
Taxi to the Assembly on the Mound and am allowed upstairs. Wait on a bench outside the main hall. Steven Berkoff walks by and we chat briefly. Tell him I am going inside shortly to see his performance. Get a call from Toni Bentley and tell her I will save a seat for her down front on stage left. Soon we are allowed inside and I select the third row on the ailse. Toni soon jons me. Toni agrees with the Joyce McMillan review. In a way, it is tough that An Actor's Lament should come just before Nirbhaya. One is committed theatre and Steve Berkoff's An Actor's Lament is about theatre itself.
We wait outside in the hall because we are going right back inside in minutes for Nirbhaya, which translates from Hindi as fearless, the name given in the press to the Delhi rape victim. Yael Farber's unforgettable production is painful but necessary. It should tour India and the world. Unfortunately most men who commit rape will never see it. But it needs to be seen far and wide nevertheless. We walk to the Hotel du Vin for hot chocolate (me) and tea (Toni). We talk about the two productions and Toni's painful toe. We have waited too long to go to a pharmacy. It is after 7. She will soak her foot in hot salted water and maybe this will help. I walk down Chambers Street to the venue C and ask about Executed for Sodomy: The Life Story of Caterina Linck and am told it is being performed in venus C in Victoria Street. Walk there and get two press tickets for tomorrow.
Decide to dine in Ondine. Maybe Barbora will be waitressing there. Go up and sit at the counter. Order a fish curry. It is delicious. No sign of Barbora. Her night off I guess. Text her and she replies that she is home in bed, having an early night.
Taxi to Summerhall. Am told by Xela Batchelder that I just missed Steven Berkoff. He left minutes ago. Meet Anne Goring's daughter. Anne is now a grandmother.

Wednesday, 7th: Up at 7 and this time, stay up. Sugar level is OK. Ruth brings coffee and toast. It's nice being spoiled. Martin Walker calls to say that Sophia has a reading today. I tell him I hope to be there. The BBC sends a car to collect me about 10.30 and delivers me to the Royal Mile near Moray House and Betterton Street where Ricky and I first met in 1957. They are filming a programme for the Culture Show on BBC2-TV about the history of the Traverse. It will go out nationally on the 28th of August, the day when I am travelling to Paris.
I am introduced to the film crew and of course we are late starting. We are waiting for a Volkswagen to arrive. Finally it does. It's not black and it is a convertible. Otherwise it is the same as mine. It looks more and more like I will not be free by 2 pm. Maybe by 3, but somehow I doubt it. The volkswagen will be used to re-produce the scene in 1957 when I stopped my volkswagen in the High Street and asked Ricky Demarco plus his wife, Anne, and his wife's sister, Elisabeth, if they wished a ride. They piled into my car and we drove to the Leigh Coffee House in Hanover Street and a fifty year friendship started with all its ramifications.
Ricky dates the start of the Traverse to this meeting and I suspect he is correct. This encounter certainly changed a lot of people's lives. The BBC faithfully shoots this scene. Ricky and I are interviewed by Sue Perkins. Sue is excellent. The Director of the production seems to be Sarah Howith. (It went out on national television the day I traveled from London to Paris, the 28th of August, so I have not seen it yet. But dozens of email messages report it is superb. A DVD has been promised.)
Then we go for lunch in Johnston Terrace. I have haggis. More filming in the afternoon in James Court, the scene of the orginal Traverse Theatre. Finally at 5 pm, it is finished.

 
Jim Haynes and Sue Perkins, snapshot from the film by BBC2 TV
Jim Haynes and Sue Perkins
(snapshot from the film by BBC2-TV)

I walk down to the Hotel du Vin and collect Toni. She has some salmon and I have a hot chocolate. We sit in the open court yard. Afterwards we walk to venue C in Victoria Street to see Executed for Sodomy: The Life Story of Caterina Linck at 6.30. Alas for me, the production is disappointing. One unusual event did take place: I give two women a condom and a leaflet about Toni's show, The Surrender, and the women throw it back at me. Don't remember exactly what they say, but they are disgusted. I have insulted them in some way.
Toni and I walk back to the Hotel du Vin and head for the restaurant. We are joined by Isabelle and Sigfrid. Get a text from Martin Walker. He and Julia are off to Mull and I have missed them again in Edinburgh. Also in the restaurant is Karen Koren. She comes over to our table and introductions are made. We thank her for supporting The Surrender. Taxi to Isabelle & Sigfrid's flat off Leith walk and continue to Great King St.

Thursday, 8th: Ruth brings coffee and toast at 8.30. Get up and get into action. First the blood sugar tests, then the insulin injection and pills. Get a text from Martin Walker; he reports that he and Julia are on the island of Mull. Talk with Barbora who says she will come to Great King Street at 11. She arrives and looks fabulous. We briefly embrace and then head out to St. Andrew's Square and the Bank of Scotland. Because I do not have my bank card with me, I am only allowed to withdraw fifty pounds. But if I come back with my passport, it can be more.
We taxi to George Square and say hello to Elsa Parent. Then we have a fajitas wrap. We walk to the Assembly press room and get two tickets to Best of the Fest in George Square at 2.30. I should be going to Sophia Walker's Round the World in Eight Mistakes, so I feel extra stupid when I discover that Isabelle Georges and Frederik Steenbrink are not performing. Barbora decides to return to Stockbridge to have a siesta. I go to the Teviot to visit with Toni Bentley, Isabelle Stoffel and the rest of the gang. Toni says she wishes to invite us all out to dinner on Saturday, her last night in Edinburgh.
Leave them and stroll to the Assembly press room and visit with les girls. Meet Lynn Ruth Miller, from San Francisco, who knows Karel Beer. She says they once danced together. Give her a condom and a leaflet about The Surrender. She promises to see the production. (And she does and even speaks with Isabelle afterwards.)
Leave the press room and take the No2 bus to Lothian Road. It's funny how I still know the bus routes in Edinburgh. Walk to the Traverse press room and Ciar drops eye drops in my eyes. Go down stairs and have fish and chips. Chat with Linda Crooks about Jane Alexander. Barbora arrives. We go to see Events. Another piece by David Craig.
Encounter Philip and Xaviera Hollander afterwards. They were not impressed with Events. Barbora and I taxi to Grassmarket and manage to see the show that Fiona Duff wanted me to see. It is entitled Hooked and is written by Carolyn Smart. A Canadian actress, Nicky Guadagni, does eight monologues in which she becomes Myra Hindley, Unity Mitford, Zelda Fitzgerald, Dora Carrington, Elizabeth Smart, Carson McCullers, and Jane Bowles. It's very well done. Thank you, Fiona.
Taxi home. Barbora continues to Stockbridge. I discuss the possibility of her coming with me on the train from Edinburgh to Paris when the Festival ends.

Friday, 9th: Ruth and I discuss the Book Festival. Taxi to the Assembly Members Bar in George Square for the Scotsman Fringe First Awards. Chat with Bill Burdett Coutts, Joyce McMillan, Carol Tambor & Kent Lawson, Karen Koren, and several Indian actresses from the wonderful show, Nirbhaya. Of course they all know my incredible friend, Alyque Padamsee, in Bombay.
Walk to the Royal Oak pub in Infirmery Street. Ask a young attractive woman if she knows Sophia Walker and she is Sophia Walker. Hooray! We hug and chat and I tell her that I will come on Monday to her performance. Walk back to Tiviot and see The Surrender. And Isabelle is terriffic. She is everything that Toni reported and more. A great perfomance. Chat with Toni and the crew afterwards.
Stroll over to the Assembly press room. Kelly gives me two tickets for Who's Afraid of Rachel Roberts? I purchase another four. Cross the street to the Hotel du Vin and check my blood sugar level. It is a bit high. Damn. But silly me, I order a hot chocolate anyway. And the lovely Lithuanian waitress, Indre Bikulcyte, says it is her treat. She will not accept my money.
Toni invites The Surrender team to a new Malaysian restaurant. It is called Nanyang and it is located on the grounds of the old Royal Infirmary. This is where Viveka gave birth to my son, Jesper. He was delivered by old friend David Baird. We all walk the short distance to the restaurant. Very sweet Polish waitress. We are Toni, Isabelle, Sigfrid, David, Veronica and yours truly. Food is delicious. It's a delightful dinner.
Taxi to Great King Street. Stewart Trotter and I enter at the same time and walk up the stairs together. Get a call from Claudia Monteiro. She invites me to join her and Patrick plus Peggy and others in the George Square gardens on Sunday afternoon. Check my tablet for email messages and I have a message from Joan Bakewell in Paris. She is there with her grand daughter and wants the names of all the restaurants we went to together the last time she was in Paris.

Saturday, 10th: The Book Festival starts today. And the Herald Angels Awards are this morning in the Festival Theatre on the Bridges. Once again an early morning start. Stewart drives me up to the Bridges and drops me in Chambers Street. I am one of the first to arrive. See Keith Bruce and he tells me that I am mentioned in his column in today's Herald. Greet Jackie McGlone, Bill Burdett Coutts, all the Indian actresses from Nirbhaya, Anna Stableton, Neil Cooper, and am introduced to a John Lloyd. I tell him that I went to Edinburgh University with another John Lloyd. Wonderful coffee and bacon roll.
At 3 pm, go to Who's Afraid of Rachel Roberts? in the Assembly Roxy with all five from The Surrender. Alas it is not my cup of tea. The story of a beautiful actress who becomes a drunk just doesn't excite me. We all go for pastry and coffee afterwards. It's Toni's last coffee with us. She flies to L.A. tomorrow. Isabelle and I walk to Spoon in the Bridges. We have a small feast. She insists upon paying our meal. I love liberated women. We walk towards Teviot and she peals off. I continue to the Assembly press room. Kelly has a new hat and looks great. Am told that a critic from The Scotsman goes to see Broadway Enchanté tonight. Hooray. It is a man and not Joyce McMillan.
Cross the street to the Hotel du Vin. Chat with the two women behind the reception desk. One is from Portugal and the other is from Poland. Both are delightful. They tell me that Toni has asked to stay three more days in the hotel. I suspected that she might try to extend her stay. Toni comes down to join me. She is beaming. She has successfully changed her flight departure and is feeling super satisfied. We taxi to Charlotte Square and the Book Festival opening party. We are warmly welcomed. I introduce Toni to everyone. We find a table inside the Spiegeltent. Slowly the place begins to fill up and I start seeing more and more friends. Nick Barley passes our table and I introduce him to Toni. Ian Rankin passes and we exchange greetings and smiles. I want to introduce him to Toni, but someone engages him in conversation. So it does not happen. Jenny Brown joins our table and I introduce the two fabulous ladies to each other. Gill Taskar, the editor at Cargo, joins our table. Another fabulous lady. Then two more come: Angela Bartie and Eleanor Bell. John Ritchie and his wife, Catriona, stop by to say hello. Ian McEwan passes by the table, but I do not stop him. He and I have good mutual friends: Elisabeth and Jaco Groot in Amsterdam. Then the speeches start. The Bank of Scotland CEO, Lady Susan Rice, followed by Nick Barley and then Jenny Brown. The talk is of 30 years anniversary of the Book Fair. Everyone seems to have forgotten that John Calder, Sonia Orwell and I co-organized a Book Festival in 1962. The band starts playing extra loud music. We listen a bit and then go outside for some fresh air. More friends loom into view. Peg Hughes sails by and I introduce her to Toni. Tell Toni she is next "Lord Provost" of Dundee. Peg is moving to Dundee to run the Dundee Book Festival. She will do a terriffic job. See lots more people I know. David Petherick and Roza. Leslie Hills and I talk about her lovely daughter, Stephanie. About midnight, Toni and I escape. We find a taxi and she drops me at Great King Street and continues to the Hotel du Vin.

Sunday, 11th: Blood sugar level is a low 114. Lunch today with Astrid Silins at her place in Leith at 1.30. Text Frederik a message that the Scotsman critic was in their performance last night. John and Sheila are invited, but they cannot come. Astrid's elevator is out of order and John cannot make it up all the stairs. I can barely make it for that matter.
Bus to Princes Street and walk to Marks & Spencers. Change 600 Euros. Take a bus to the West End and check with Orange and I still have 30 pounds of credit. Visit with Frances and Charlotte. I am pleased to learn that Frances has a sweetheart on the Island of Mull named Richard. He is a farmer and a hunting and fishing man. Perfect for Frances. Chat a bit with Colin Fraser. Chat also with Nick Barley about last night's party. Call Astrid and get bus details for Leith. Walk to Princes Street and am stopped by a young woman who tells me that she has been to one of my Sunday dinners and greatly enjoyed herself. I thank her and tell her to come again.
Get on Bus 22 and near the top of Leith, Mona Shea also gets on. We are both pleased by this accidental encounter and gossip and exchange news all the way to Astrid's place. It seems we are eight for lunch: Stephanie Wolfe Murray, George McBean, Vanessa & William Prosser, Eric Wishart, Astrid, Mona and me. Lunch is, of course, very delicious. Lots of good talk too. Clea, Astrid's beautiful daughter, passes with her new handsome son, Tygo, and with the father, Kevin Murray. Peg Hughes texts me to say she is waiting for me in George Square. About 4, people begin to depart. Mona, George, and I find a taxi and I drop them half way up the Mound. Continue to George Square. Join Claudia Monteiro and her husband, Patrick, plus Peg, Frances Travers (a doctor and a cousin of Patrick's), and others.
Later walk to the Hotel du Vin. No Toni. Cross the street and visit with the Assembly press girls. Go to see Lady Rizo 17.40 in the Assembly Checkpoint. The lady is a vamp. This brazen New York blonde is over ze top. Then dine alone in The Outsider. A very pretty waitress named Sophie, from Edinburgh. See Faith Liddell with her Brazilians. Taxi home. Get a message from Kristi McIntosh in Paris. All is well.

Monday, 12th: Ruth kindly brings coffee and toast at 8.30. Wash and dress and out the door about 9. Walk up the street to the printers and have another 50 copies produced of the Chicago Tribune article about the Sunday dinners.
Bus to Princes Street and walk to Charlotte Square. Allison Kennedy is one of the first people I encounter upon entering the gardens. Charlotte Gosling gives me an invitation to an Indian curry dinner party tonight in Forrest Road. Talk to Di Hope in the Yurt. She and I talk about Sonia Orwell. She introduces me to someone. A woman writer, but I cannot remember her name. Di gives me bus information. I take the No 33 bus from Princes Street to Infirmary Street. Go to Sophia Walker's 2 pm poetry reading in the Royal Oak pub. And she is good. She recites a long poem entitled Round the World in Eight Mistakes. She has a good audience who seem to really like her performance. It's a free fringe event, so one contributes what one wishes. I stick a five pound note in the jar. And congratulate her. Sophia has talent. But so has her mum, dad and sister. We go to a nearby café for hot chocolate and chat. Afterwards walk toward Bristo Place and find myself walking with Jane Pickering, one of the Assembly press staff. We talk about her first impressions of Edinburgh and the Festival. At the press room, Kelly exclaims that she craves an ice cream. I volunteer to walk with her to get some.And she wants a special place in the Grassmarket, called Mary's Milk Bar. After we reach Mary's and the craving is satisfied, we stop in another shop and purchase Haggis Poo chocolate drops for les girls. They find it funny. Cross the street to the Hotel du Vin. No Toni. She is out somewhere.
Stroll up George IV Bridge and bump into Lucy Dreznin. She and I go for a coffee in the Quaker Centre nearby. Long talk about the festival, her parents, Berlin, Paris, Isabelle Georges & Frederik. Meet her fellow, Ben, when he texts her and joins us. He has a successful show in the festival.
Go to the 6.30 show in the Quaker Centre, His Majesty, the Devil, a play with music by Alexandra Devon, and inspired by Dostoyevsy. With the actor, MacIntyre Dixon. His son is one of the musicians, Colin Pip Dixon. Colin is a friend of Linda De Nazelle and Colin came for tea several weeks ago in Paris. His father played one of the fathers in the off-Broadway bit, The Fantastiks. Not sure what I make of the production.
The dinner party is wonderful. The hosts seem to be the British Council and Sanjoy Roy of Teamwork Arts. Based in Delhi, his company organizes festivals all around the world. The curries are all superb! Indian cooking at its best. Lots of lovely people including William Burdett Coutts and his sister, Diane Anthony. Talk with Diane about her exhibition of Zimbabwe sculptures. Dana MacLeod is one of the hosts and she is with the British Council (Scotland). Talk a long time to several actresses from Nirbhaya. Talk with Poorna Jagannathan. Also with Priyanka Bose and with Rulhsar Kabis. Tell them how much I enjoyed the production and how important I think the show is. We all agree that it needs to tour India and the world. Also talk a long time with Bob Flynn. Also talk with Dilip Shankar. Tell him I will try to see his show about Nehru. (I do make the effort, but go the day it is not on.) And with very attractive Skye Reynolds. Skye and I talk about Stephanie Wolfe Murray and about sexual politics. Fairly late, Dana MacLeod drops off Skye and myself in a taxi.

Tuesday, 13th: Sleep late this morning. Up about 8.30. Martin brings me coffee and toast. Ruth is off to babysit Stella, Grace's daughter.
Meet The Surrender team and we all see Working on a Special Day in Assembly 2 at 11.10 in George Square. Afterward Toni and I sit outside George Square and I have a fajitas wrap and we talk about our sex lives. Pass the Assembly Info hut and mention to Elsa about the possibility of returning to Paris together in a train. The idea appeals to her.
Toni goes to see The Surrender. And I walk to the Assembly press room. Give Kelly a copy of Thanks for Coming! Get a ticket for tonight for In Flagrante at 22.30 in the Assembly Roxy, and tomorrow for Julien Cottereau (also in the Assembly Roxy). Astrid Silins calls me; she is at the Book Fair.
Taxi to Charlotte Square. See Astrid and secure a press ticket for Neal Ascherson for tomorrow at 15.30. I manage to purchase one for her. She goes into a talk about Scottish nationalism, The Independence Debate with Kirsty Wark.
Taxi to the Traverse. Test blood sugar levels in the press room. And thankfully all is OK. Talk briefly with a journalist, Robin Strapp. He reports meeting The Surrender team. Hamish Pitrie enters and he tells me we met last year. He is the Assistant Artistic Director of the Traverse. This festival he has directed I'm with the Band. Ciar O'Siochain, one of the press staff, departs to pick up his daughter from kindergarden. Kate Park, another one of the press staff, agrees to drop eye-drops in my eyes. Kate also arranges with Andrew in the box office for a ticket for tonight for Toni Bentley Toni arrives. We dine downstairs in the Traverse. Fish & chips for me. Toni has an open sandwich. Andrew Findlater gives Toni the ticket plus a Traverse T-shirt. (It has written on the back: Thanks for Coming! Jim Haynes) I cross over to Filmhouse and am pleasantly surprised to see that Rainer Kölmel's film, The Wall, will be screening in Filmhouse very soon. Martin Lehberger and I saw it in Paris some months ago. We both liked it.
Taxi to the Assembly Roxy and see In Fragrante at 22.30. It is "Crazy Horse Paris" has come to Edinburgh via New Zealand. Beautiful semi-naked bodies dance and move about for an hour of big tease. It's nice to know that New Zealand has these extremely sexy ladies. I would like to invite all of them to visit me in Paris. Maybe not all at the same time. Taxi home.

Wednesday, 14th: Taxi to Waverley Station to change my Eurostar ticket and am told they cannot do it. The taxi driver tells me his daughter has diabetes 2. Damn, poor darling. Go for a Thai take-away round the corner from Bristo Place. See Kelly who is also having something. Taxi to the Assembly Roxy to see Julien Cottereau. He is deliciously funny. Sit next to a lovely girl from Milano.
Bump into David Calvitto, an actor I see every Festival. He tells me he is living in London now. He introduces me to a Jo from Adelaide. Take a taxi to Charlotte Square and drop David in Princes Street. I see Rachel McCrum in the yurt and we talk about Robert McCrum. They are not related. I tell Rachel that Robert was my editor at Faber & Faber when my autobiography was published in 1984. Meet Astrid and Roza. Give Astrid a ticket for Neal Ascherson. We go into this event but we don't sit together.
At 15.30, it's Neal Ascherson, Pankaj Mishra and Malise Ruthven, sponsored by The New York Review of Books. A woman from Australia who seems to be working with the Review makes a few opening remarks about this being the 50th anniversary of the Review, etc etc. She also says that she is going to be directing a literary festival in Paris. But she does not know it is the 50th anniversary of the Edinburgh International Festival Drama Conference and the infamous nude happening. They talk about fifty years of The New York Review of Books. They discuss that old chestnut "national identity" - which is a lot of hot air as far as I am concerned. I sit next to Magnus Linklater's sister.
Afterwards chat briefly with Neil in the signing tent. Sit outside with Vanessa and William Prosser. Go inside for a hot chocolate. Talk to the Australian woman. Give her the Chicago Tribune article and invite her to a Sunday dinner when she comes to Paris. Tell her that 50 years go, John Calder, Ken Tynan and I co-organized the Drama Conference here in Edinburgh for 130 people connected to the theatre. Go back outside and encounter Lynda Myles. She says she is coming to Paris soon. See Murray Grigor and we chat briefly. Exchange greetings with Ian Rankin.
At 7, I am to meet Peg Hughes and Claudia Monteiro in the courtyard of the Assembly on the Mound. They are going to see Broadway Enchanté tonight. I get a text from Peg and then one from Claudia. They are not coming. Damn. I call Claudia and she changes her mind and says that she will come. Contact Peg by text and she is too far away to make it. Claudia arrives and we go up to see the show. And it is as always wonderful. Claudia is pleased that she made it. I spot William Burdett Coutts and we exchange smiles. Claudia has to rush away at the end to see someone. I go down to the courtyard and chat with a woman who is with the BBC. Isabelle Georges joins me. Frederik comes over and suggests I dine with them. What a delightful idea. Find a taxi and Isabelle and I make our way to their flat across the Meadows. Frederik elects to walk home in order to get some fresh air. Of course they are on the top floor and it is a long walk up, but I make it finally. Frederik arrives minutes later.
Cannot remember who cooks, but I think it is Edouard Pennes, the guitar player. Anyway it is delicious. We are a lot of people who dine. It's delightful to spend time with them all. But finally I excuse myself and take a taxi home.

Thursday, 15th: Up at 7.20. Test my blood sugar and it is high this morning. All the pasta I ate last night. Damn. Ruth arrives with coffee and toast. I thank her for collecting my dry cleaning from Stockbridge. She asks if I can get her a ticket to a talk at the Book Fair on the 22nd. I tell her I will try. (And I succeed.)

Taxi to Summerhall. Sit in the café and have a hot coffee and a croissant. Go up to the session with Sean Hignett and Sheila Colvin. Catherine Robins chairs the event and successfully steers it along. Her talent is wasted; she should be in the United Nations. She does a fantastic job. On the panel from left to right: Sean Hignett, John Martin, Ricky Demarco, Catherine, myself, Sheila, John Calder. It is all a part of the Traverse Through Time lecture series organized by Xela Batchelder, and is all being filmed and it will be made into a book and a documentary. After we are finished, I go down to the bookshop to collect the copies of Thanks for Coming! and Everything Is! that have been stored there for me. And they are not to be found. The young woman in the shop thinks they have been sold.
Ride in a taxi with Sheila and John to the Scottish Arts Club and lunch. I have fish pie. It's excellent. Also Gavin Henderson and his wife, Mary-Jane, join us. He has invited us to a lunchen in the Scottish Arts Club on the 20th. Derek Watson also joins us. Since Odile Hellier has closed the Village Voice Bookshop, Derek is the main supplier of books for John. Sheila treats us all for our lunch. Slip upstairs and check The Scotsman and still no reviews of The Surrender and Broadway Enchanté. Damn. We need reviews in The Scotsman.
Take a taxi with Mary-Jane and Gavin Henderson the short distance to the Traverse to see the production, I'm with the Band. Test my blood sugar levels and still high. Damn. See Carol Tambour and give her a copy of Thanks for Coming! She seems delighted to get it. See Sanjoy and give him a copy of Thanks for Coming! and Everything Is!

  Traverse Through Time flyer
Traverse through Time flyer

Take the No 2 bus to Bristo Place. Fiona Evans gives me an Assembly producer's pass. Kelly tells me they found the rhino sculpture. But she didn't see the second one. Walk to the George Square Info hut and get Elsa's mobile number from Arron Ashton. Call her number to see if she is free to dine, but get her answering machine. Taxi to Merchant Street in order to see Nehru, but it is on every other day and it is not on today. Damn. Go into Divino and have a hot chocolate. Taxi to Hill Street Theatre and Tomek Borkowy opens the taxi door for me. He just happens to be going out when I arrive. Go up and see a one-man show that is just starting. Not my cup of tea. But there is something about the performer that I cannot put my finger on. Later I realise that it is Bremner Duthie. He used to live in Paris and he created a one-man show that consisted of Kurt Weil songs. And it was very good. Tonight's show was a bit of a mess. It needed, as far as I am concerned, a good director. Maybe even a better script. I still think he should do a Kurt Weill show about Weil's life and music. It would have structure.
Walk the short distance to Café Rouge and give myself an insulin injection. Eat a delicious chicken dish. Waitress is from Turkey. Her name is Elif and she is super nice.
See Ruth Wishart, Liz Smith and Anna Stapleton sitting at a nearby table. Go over to say hello. Chat with the Polish waiter and he says he will go see Broadway Enchanté on Sunday, his day off. Walk down Frederick Street, pass my old flat on the corner of Queen Street and continue to Great King Street. Softly falling rain. The weather has been fabulous this Festival. I never used the umbrella I brought from Paris. Check my email on my new tablet and I have nine messages. They can all be answerd tomorrow. Bed calls.

Friday, 16th: Up at 6. This is crazy. Go back to bed and get up again at 6.50. Blood sugar levelis not too bad at 165. Ruth brings coffee and toast. We talk about a production that she saw yesterday and greatly enjoyed. Bus up The Mound and get off at Chambers Street and walk to the Assembly press room. Greet les girls. Walk to George Square. And no Elsa to be found. She starts at 5 pm today. Taxi to Summerhall and sit with Catherine Robins in the café. John Martin joins us, looking dapper as usual. We all go up for the second day of remembering the early days of the Traverse for Traverse Through Time. Today we have a packed theatre. Astrid Silins, Liz Smith, Anna Stapleton, John Byrne, Junko MacKenzie and many others.
Afterwards get a ride with Catherine Robins and Anna Stapleton to Waverley Station and book a place to London on the 27th on the 10.30 train. Get a call from Ernie Eban; his sister, Jeanette, died last week and was cremated on Wednesday. In August 2012 when Ernie and I travelled to London, we had a glorious lunch in a restaurant in the Portobello Road. Jeanette was in top form. Now she is gone. Ernie reports her end was peaceful and not at all painful. Dear Jeanette, RIP.
Bus to the West End and walk to Charlotte Square. Have lentil soup in the yurt. Kevin Short contacts me and we arrange to meet in the Traverse press room at 4.30.
Taxi to the Traverse. See Ciara at 15.15. Sit near Orla who directed it. The actress, Blythe Duff, is super sweet. She came up to me at a Herald Angels ceremony and introduced herself. Go upstairs to the press room and am interviewed about the Festival by Kevin Short. The camerman is Douglas. Very quickly over. Test my blood sugar levels and it is more or less perfect. Hooray for this. Just as I am departing, greet Linda and Orla in the press room.
Take the No 2 bus to Bristo Place. Greet les girls in the press room. They are all so lovely. Emma tells me that her mother and father think Broadway Enchanté is the best show in the Festival. Smart parents. Walk to George Square.
Sheila Colvin calls. We agree to meet at Pizza Express in Stockbridge at 8.15. See Elsa Parent at her post in the Assembly Information hut. Tell her I have decided to go to London on the 27th, stay the night and continue on the 28th to Paris. She is welcome to join me. Walk to Forrest Road and take the 27 bus to Northumberland Street. Walk slowly towards Stockbridge. Get a call from Isabelle Stoffel. I suggest that she and Sigfrid join us at Pizza Express in Stockbridge. She agrees. I am the first to arrive. Then John and Sheila. We get a round table. Soon Isabelle and Sigfrid are with us. John is pleased to be speaking German with Isabelle. The lovely Polish waitress brings me water so I can take my pills. And we have a lovely dinner. I insist upon treating everyone. The last of the big spenders! Sheila drives Isabelle and Sigfrid to their rented flat, then drops me at Great King Street. A lovely evening. Talk with Ruth before falling into bed.

Saturday, 17th: Up at 7, then go back to bed for another hour. Ruth brings coffee and toast. Lazy morning. Slowly wash and dress. Suddenly realize I am missing the Herald's Angel Awards ceremony. Quickly get into action and get a taxi to the Festival Theatre. Arrive at the end of the ceremony, but in time to have a coffee and pastry and to greet a few friends like Keith Bruce, Kath Mainland, and Susie Gray.
Bus to Princes Street. Stop at the Orange shop and add another 10 pounds on my mobile. Walk to the Press tent of the Book Festival and Alan Taylor tells me that I am in his Diary tomorrow in the Sunday Herald. Talk with David Robinson, the Literary Editor of The Scotsman, about my two productions and that they still have not been reviewed yet in The Scotsman. Again mention to Chris Close about having a photographic exhibition in my atelier in Paris. Have some soup and a pastrami sandwich.
At 3 pm, go to hear A.C.Grayling's The Argument Against God. He is an excellent speaker. Get two calls on my mobile from Angela Bartie. She and Eleanor Bell are at the Book Fair and looking for me. I find them in outside the book signing tent. Angela has her new book for me. It is The Edinburgh Festivals (published by Edinburgh University Press). She has written in a dedication: 'Spooky! I just checked, and I first met you to interview you on 17 August 2003!" Exactly ten years ago. Wow. And over the past ten years we have become such good friends. Then at 5, we three go into the Edinburgh World Writers' Conference Event in the Studio Theatre. This is a semi-closure to the project that was launched last Book Festival by Nick Barley and the British Council. It started with a look at the 1962 Writers' Conference and the subjects we delt with. This project was based on the book that Angela Bartie and Eleanor Bell co-edited about the 1962 conference. And this superb book published by Cargo in Glasgow. Since last year it has moved to 14 locations around the world. Today there is an attempt to sum up. Nick praises Angela and Eleanor and John Calder and myself.

 
The Edinburgh Festivals by Angela Bartie, Edinburgh University Press 2013

Claudia Monteiro and I decide to have a quick simple dinner. We walk to Tiger Lily in George Street. And the only table available is outside. It is a bit cold but nevertheless we accept. Our waiter is Richard Simpson and he is a sweetheart. So, too, is Sadiq Ali who produces two large warm towels for us to wrap around our shoulders. And there is a third staff member. The lovely Louise Scott from Kinross. A delightful meal because these three staff members are so nice.
Afterwards we are invited to a wee party and celebration. More words of praise are dumped on Angela, Eleanor, John Calder (who is not attending) and yours truly. Nick is super kind.
Meet Leslie Hills. Meet the Arts Editor of The Scotsman, Andrew Eaton-Lewis. Talk with Roddy Martine, Joe Farell (who translates from Italian for Christopher MacLehose) has kind words to say about Thanks for Coming!, my autobiography.
There is another party. Christopher MacLehose is celebrating an anniversary of his publishing house. He, too, has kind words to say about the Paperback Bookshop and The Traverse Theatre. He tells me to help myself to a book bag that contains some of his publications I take one that contains a new biography of Sir Lawrence Olivier. Bizarrely enough, it was fifty years ago this month that I collected Sir Lawrence from the airport and drove him to the McEwan Hall where he participated in the 1963 Edinburgh International Drama Conference.
Catherine Robins and I decide we are tired. We go out of Charlotte Square, find a taxi and I drop her at her home. And continue to Great King Street and bed.

Sunday, 18th: Get up at 6 and then decide to go back to bed for another hour. Test my blood sugar level and it is a low 129. Dear Ruth brings coffee and toast and we gossip a bit. I ask her if she has yesterday's Telegraph and she does. There is a strange photograph of Frances Sutton in it. Get a call from Sheila Colvin. The lunch with Junko & Ian MacKenzie is not today, but next Sunday. Talk with Sophia Walker and we agree to meet at the Traverse on the 20th to hear Kate Tempest. Talk with Isabelle Stoffel.
Out the flat and stroll down Great King Street. Walk to Dundas Street and purchase The Sunday Herald and two lottery tickets. The jackpot is 68,000,000 pounds. I could be a one-man foundation with that kind of money. I have no major needs myself, but it would be great to support lots of friends and institutions. Bus to Chris & Herzmark's home in Inverleith Row. It seems I am invited to lunch, not brunch. So I am early. Sit in the kitchen while Chris and Herzmark prepare a feast. It is so good to discover that Herzmark is her old self again. Their home looks great. The kitchen seems bigger and more comfortable. Chris has prepared a lamb dish and Herzmark is busy producing a salad. Soon Philip and Xaviera Hollander arrive. Lunch and conversation ensues. Both delicious.
Taxi to Charlotte Square. Meet Kevin Toolis. He and I first met many years ago at an Edinburgh Festival. He has written and directed a play of the fringe, The Confessions of Gordon Brown, which he invites me to see. Just let him know when and he will have tickets at the box office for me. I see Alan Taylor and tell him I purchased The Sunday Herald, but was not able to find his Diary item. He opens the paper and turns right to it. I must be blind. Alan has written a funny piece about the fact that I have given my body to French medical students. He suggests that it should be embalmed and placed in a glass case in the entrance to the Traverse.
Decide to see Jenny Brown and Richard Holloway discuss 30 years of Scottish Society at 16.30 in the Baillie Gifford Main Theatre. Sit next to Catherine Lockerbee and Ron Butlin's wife, Regi Claire. It's good to see that Catherine is looking good and healthy. Near the end of their conversation, I must slip out to go and pee. Realize that I missed Amit Chaudhuri's talk at 15.30 entitled A Personal Tribute to Calcutta. Damn. I wanted to go to that event. I discover that it was chaired by Al Senter. Ask him if Amit is still at the Book Fair. Al thinks so. He takes me to the Spiegeltent and introduces me to Amit. Amit and I talk about our mutual love of Calcutta. I tell him that I advised the Directer of the Calcutta Film Festival for about five years and journeyed to Calcutta every November for the film festival. Leave him and go to the bookshop tent and purchase two copies of Amit's book, Calcutta - Two Years in the City. Go back to the Spiegeltent and get him to sign one to Antonia Hoogewerf. I tell him that Antonia also loves Calcutta.
Jenny Brown has a party at 18.30. Arrive early and find a stool against the wall. Peter Guttridge and Roza Nazipova join me and we three have a good long talk. In the yurt see old friend Christopher MacLehose. Chat with the fabulous Rachel McCrum. Thank Al Senter for introducing me to Amit Chaudhuri. See Sanjoy. He and I embrace. He is off to Delhi. We will next meet in Paris in September or October.
On my way out of the Yurt, cross paths with Colin Fraser and he introduces me to his brother. Taxi to the Traverse, then taxi to Summerhall. Have a polenta and falafel dinner. Then taxi home to have an early night.

Monday, 19th: Awake at 8. Test my blood sugar level and it is OK. Coffee and toast compliments of Ruth Holloway. Stroll down Great King Street and purchase The Scotsman and The Herald. And another lottery ticket. I did not win the 68,000,000 pounds super jackpot. It's too bad because I had already had a lot of it spent. I would have secretly given most of it away: to the Book Festival, to the Fringe, to the Traverse, to the official Festival and to lots and lots of friends. (I read in 10th of August issue of The Herald that Carol Colburn Grigor has given more than 20 million pounds to the arts in Scotand, including 8 million to the Edinburgh International Festival. She is quoted as saying: "Some people's hobbies are buying expensive race horses or whatever. Our hobby is giving." Hooray for her!) Taxi to the Bank of Scotland and am able to withdraw 300 pounds. Bus to the West End. Add another 20 pounds to my mobile phone account. Check The Herald and Neil Cooper has written a super nice portrait of yours truly with a great photograph. Call Alasdair Riley and we discuss meeting later this afternoon. Walk to the press tent and Charlotte reports I am in The Herald today. I tell her I have seen it. We both agree it is a super nice article. Meet Abdel Bari Atwan in the yurt and we embrace. He is to be interviewed in the Main Theatre at 11.30. Tell him I will be there and we can meet afterwards. Back to the press tent and joke with Frances Sutton about her photograph in Saturday's Telegraph. Show her mine in today's Herald. Charlotte gives me a press ticket for Bari at 11.30. Call Frederik Steenbrink and tell him about The Herald article. Text Isabelle Stoffel and tell her as well.
In the 11.30 event with Bari and Gavin Esler in the chair. Am suddenly hit with a need to pee. Sadly have to leave at 12, so manage only half of Bari's event. Slip out pass Nick Barley and tell him that I have a sudden need to pee. Later sit and talk with Robbie Jack. Then have tomato soup in the Yurt. When Gavin Esler returns to the Yurt, tell him I only managed 50% of his event. For some reason, I tell Gavin about my days and nights at Kirknewton, listening to the Russians. Gavin used to live near Kirknewton when he was a lad. See Bari. He wants to see a production, so suggest Toni's The Surrender. We taxi to McEwan Hall. Walk to Teviot, elevator up to the 4th floor and slip Bari into the theatre. I go up the back stairs and sit in my usual place at the rear. Afterwards we meet in the café next to the theatre. Bari buys a bottle of champagne to toast Isabelle, Sigfrid and Toni in her absence.
Later Bari and I walk to the Assemby press room and I introduce him to les girls. We continue to George IV Bridge and sit outside and have hot chocolate. People stop by to speak to Bari and to me. It is like we are holding court. Mona Shea is one who stops and I introduce her to Bari. Later we continue to C Venue in Victoria Street. He has been invited to see the Osama Bin Laden show. The writer used a lot of information from Bari's book on Bin Laden. It's a well done production. Afterwards we are invited to meet the actor, the director and the team for drinks. Sheridan Humphreys, the attractive Australian I met at the Prossers party in 2008, is one of the people running the C venue and she joins us. Plus the fellow the runs the venues, Hartley Kemp. Someone suggests dinner and about six of us, plus Max, Sheridan's son, pile into taxis and head for the Bar Napolina in Hanover Street where we feast and talk. Bari graciously picks up the bill and treats us all.

Tuesday, 20th: Up at 7. Test blood sugar and it continues to be high. Shave and shower. Dress. Victor Albrow and Hazel Petherick call. They are downstairs. Go down, pile into their car and we drive to Victor's studio in Leith. He puts a black coat on me. It fits and he says it is now mine. That's nice. Shoot is fun. Aterwards they drive me up to Charlotte Square. Purchase today's Scotsman and there are reviews for both shows. Joyce McMillan reviews The Surrender and Martin Gray gives a great 4 star review of Broadway Enchanté. Call Frederik. Call Isabelle. At last reviews in The Scotsman. This should help fill the seats for both shows. Greet Stuart Kelly. Call Alasdair Riley. He suggests we have lunch today in the Scottish Arts Club. Good idea.
Then to my surprise, I see Alasdair in the Book Fair. We walk slowly to the Arts Club almost having lunch somewhere else. But we arrive at the Club and sit in the dining room, studying the menu when Gavin Henderson arrives and reminds me that I have been invited to dine with him and a group of others today. I suddenly feel very stupid. And Alasdair feels embarrassed. But Gavin is very welcoming to Alasdair and insists he join us. We go upstairs and there is a group of 10 to 15 people that includes John Calder, Sheila Colvin, Richard Demarco, Catherine Robins and many others. It is super generous of Gavin to host this gathering.
I cannot remember how the rest of the day and evening unfold.

Wednesday, 21st: Up at 7.45. Test blood sugar level and today it is OK, 121. Coffee and toast. Wash and dress. Walk to the Stockbridge Pharmacy. Mr Berry is super nice. We talk to the Western General Hospital. He can fill my French prescription. He tells me to leave it and he will fill my pill box and I can pass later in the afternoon to collect it.
Bus to Northumberland Street and make 40 more copies of the Chicago Tribune article. Walk to the news agent in Howe Street. Damn. I did not win the 68,000,000 pounds jackpot. Purchase another lottery ticket and the taxi to the Bank of Scotland in St Andrew's Square. Withdraw 300 pounds. Taxi to Charlotte Square. Have some soup in the Yurt. Chat with Rachel McCrum. Al Senter asks if my encounter with Amit Chaudhuri went well. I tell him it did and thank him again for making it happen.
Walk to Hendersons. Get a Thai veggie item and sit in the downstairs area with two elderly women. They depart and I am joined by Neill Walker. We talk about my giving my archives to the National Library of Scotland. Joan Koenig telephoned me earlier and I suggested she join me at Hendersons. Soon she arrives. This is her first Edinburgh Festival and she is loving it. She just arrived yesterday from Paris and now has been less than 24 hours in Scotland. She and I bus to Bristo Place. We stick our heads in the Assembly press room. Les girls congratulate me for the 4 star review in The Scotsman today for Broadway Enchanté. Kelly and Fiona say they are going to see the show tonight. Someone tells us about a show tonight upstairs.
Joan and I walk to Charles Street and I show her my two sculptures. Then we walk to the Assembly Info desk and chat with Elsa and with Arron Ashton.
Taxi to Great King Street, collect an empty pill box and walk down to the pharmacy. Mr. Berry is busy, so asks me to leave the box and he will fill it later. I can come back tomorrow morning. Walk down to the Stockbridge post office and put 20 pounds on my mobile phone. Bus up to Princes Street and out the Bridges. Get out and walk the short distance to Summerhall. Joe Farell stops me and asks when I am publishing Vol 2 of my autobiography. One of these days maybe, Joe. Thanks for asking. Have a hot chocolate in the Summerhall café. No Barbora in sight. I hope she is having a great time in Edinburgh.
Taxi to the Hill Street Theatre. Chat with the box office ticket-seller. Her name is Bori Godley and she is from Budapest. She is a lovely sweet blonde. Go to see Donal O'kelly's Fionnuala and Skeffy about Shell's activities in Count Mayo in Ireland. He won a Herald Angel for his performance.

Thursday, 22nd: Up at 8. Sugar level is good this morning. Thank goodness for that. Give myself my morning insulin injection. The pain that I have had the past few days in my right foot has disappeared. Ruth is off to babysit a friend's child. We agree to meet at the Book Fair at 11.10 or so. Get a text from Barbora. She suggests we have lunch tomorrow, I text Neil Cooper and Dorotha Chrisp. Martin brings me coffee and toast. Shower, shampoo and shave. Arrange to meet Neil Cooper tomorrow night in the Traverse at 10 pm. Walk to the Stockbridge Pharmacy and Mr. Berry fixes me up with all my pills and insulin. Thank him. Out the door, cross the street and bump into the actress, Una McLean. We chat a few minutes. She tells me she is shooting a movie in Edinburgh. What a delightful character. A taxi comes and I hail it and head up to the Book Festival.
See Frances and Charlotte and they tell me it is Charlotte Higgens Day. She is reading today from her new book.
Go for a hot chocolate in the book-signing tent. Share a table with a Philip Grant. He lives in Marbella. I always think of my dear friend, Benny Puigrefagut, who used to live in Marbella. Alas Benny is no more. Philip is an author and screenwriter. Give Ruth a ticket. Read today's Guardian. Chat with Charlotte Orinson. Chat with Nick Barley. He asks me about John Calder. I report he is at the Festival and doing fine. I chat with Rachel McCrum. We discover a mutual friend: Sophia Walker. We both agree that Round the World in Eight Mistakes is a total delight. Rachel suggests that I come on Sunday afternoon to an event in the Scottish Parliament when she and Sophia will both be performing. Astrid Silins calls; she will come up to the Book Fair. Walk to the book-signing tent and pass Rachel McCrum on the way. She hands me information about the Sunday event with Sophia Walker. Chris Close has put up another photograph of me next to the book-signing tent.

Walk to the French Institute. Vincent Guérin, the Director, greets me warmly. I tell him I have come to see Adam Smith - Le Grand Tour at 3 pm. He presents me with a complimentary ticket and I climb upstairs to the theatre. I am knocked-out by the production. Vanessa Oltra, the author and one of the two performers, has done a magnificent job. She is a Professor of Economics at the University of Bordeaux. The piece is full of her passion and love for Adam Smith. I go down to the café and soon Vanessa appears. I tell her I loved her production. Maybe it will be my favorite in this year's festival. I tell her that Nick Philippson must see this production. She says she has read Nick's recent biography of Adam Smith, that he was invited to the opening, but did not attend. I call Sheila Colvin and get Nick's telephone number. Immediately call Nick and tell him that he must see this production. That I will get tickets for him, Sheila and myself. I think I get an OK from him. I see Keith Bruce in the café and I tell him that I have just seen a fantastic production and that he must see it too. He is going upstairs to see another production and suggests I join him. I say OK. So up I climb the stairs to see a piece I think entitled something like How to be Modern. I cannot get my mind into this production because I am thinking about the Adam Smith production I just saw.
Afterwards Keith and I ride the bus to Summerhall. He is going to see Hela and I hope to get a ticket to join him. But I encounter Tom Morris and Alison. They have an extra ticket to another production, Gym Party, and I agree to go to see it instead. Anyway there were no tickets left for Hela. Gym Party is too silly for me. I do not get Tom and Alison's opinion because they are rushing off to see another production. I think I am still in the Adam Smith state of mind.

  Adam Smith, le grand tour flyer
Adam Smith, Le Grand Tour

Agree to meet John Calder and Sheila Colvin for our annual trip to Lancer's in Stockbridge. Leave Summerhall, find a taxi and zoom to this superb Indian restaurant. I think I have dined there many many festivals with John and Sheila. I tell John and Sheila about the Adam Smith production. Sheila says she is free to go on Saturday afternoon. I tell her I will call Nick to see if he is free to go on Saturday. It is always a delight to dine with John and Sheila in Lancer's. Sheila insists upon treating the three of us. Hooray for liberated women! I have also been invited to dine in the Grassmarket this evening with Isabelle Stoffel and all The Surrender crew, so I excuse myself and find a taxi and zoom to the Grassmarket.
I cannot remember the name of the restaurant, but I think it is Le Petit Paris or something like that. They are all down in the basement: Isabelle, Sigfrid Monleon, David Ricondo, Veronica Porizzi Doynel, another Isabelle Gonzales and a woman named Chur. Everyone is excited about the possibility of The Surrender going to the Clurman Theatre in 42st Street, New York Cith next January - thanks to Carol Tambor. This is not official yet, but it is a strong possibility. The production will go to Barcelona, Valencia, Avila, Buenos Aires, Mexico City and New York City. Amazing.

Friday, 23rd: Ruth brings coffee and toast at 8.15. Call Sheila Colvin and we discuss going to see the Adam Smith show at the French Institute tomorrow afternoon. She is up for it. I call Nick Phillipson and get cold water dumped on me. Completely different from the last time we talked when he was warm and expressed an interest in seeing the production. Now he says no, he is not interested. Damn. What went wrong. I don't argue with him or try to persuade him. Call Sheila back and tell her what unfolded. I am shocked and sad because I think Nick would love the production. I do not understand what changed his mind. I feel like a ton of bricks has hit me.
Taxi up to the Assembly on the Mound for the last Scotsman's Fringe First Awards. It has just started when I arrive. Slip into a seat in the back. It's delighful to see all the happy winners. Of course I would prefer to see Isabelle Georges, Isabelle Stoffel and Vanessa Oltra on the stage and getting awards. See Joyce McMillan when it is over. And for some reason we talk about Shakespeare & Co and Sylvia Whitman. Sylvia will co-produce a son the end of October. Then see the couple from California that I encounter every Festival. I sadly do not remember their names. We ride in a bus to Chambers Street. They tell me about two wonderful productions on the Free Fringe.
I go to see Interruption in the Assembly Checkpoint. Nice, but I cannot get my head around anything since seeing Adam Smith - Le Grand Tour. It is Kelly Fogarty's birthday today. What a sweetheart she is! She is out somewhere having lunch. I sit and talk with Fiona Evans and a fellow who lives in Hawaii named Duke Burgeone. I am supposed to be having lunch with Barbora today, but she texts me and cancels. Have a Mexican wrap next door alone.
Walk to George Square. Elsa is not on duty. Taxi to Summerhall. Meet Rupert Thomson and we exchange words. Meet a photographer named Gary Platt who says he likes my newsletters. Thank him. Tell him a few people enjoy them. The late Paul Getty also liked them. John Calder has suggested that they are a kind of Pepys diary. Go to the café. Meet Malcolm Dickson from Street Level Photoworks in Glasgow and we sit together and chat. Meet Sam Gough and he says he will find Xela Batchelder for me. She arrives and she takes me upstairs to a small comfortable room where she will film an interview with me. Dave Hammod is the cameraman. There is also Andrew Jones, a professor who teaches at L.S.U. present who asks a few questions. We are re-tracing the days in Edinburgh before the birth of the Traverse and how the Traverse came to be created. My story is that the Traverse is the result of three love stories. My love of theatre and Jane Alexander, Tom Mitchell's love of Tamara Alferoff and Edinburgh, and my and Richard Demarco's love of the festival and our desire to have the festival spirit in Edinburgh all year round. This is the fertilizer that made the Traverse a reality.
It is over about 5. Go downstairs and encounter Robbie Jack. He says he is here to meet John Ritchie and Geraint Lewis. We spot them right away. They are sitting in the courtyard. Also see Cathie Boyd. She and I embrace. She introduces me to her husband, Michael. They are rushing off to see a production. Join John and Geraint. We share a table with Robert McDowell. Later see Toby Gough and he says he is still looking for an actor for his production in Paris. We both talk about Séamas McSwiney as being almost perfect for the role. Wolfgang Hoffman sits at a table behind us. Christopher Richardson, who created the Pleasance complex, joins us. Toby introduces me to a bunch of people from Jamaica. One woman is running a Literary Festival. Her name is Justine Henzell.
John Ritchie drives to the Book Festival and I join him. Meet Mark Buckland and his father. I cannot remember how the rest of the evening unfolds.

Saturday, 24th: I had a superb night's sleep last night. Coffee and toast à la Ruth. Martin reports he is cooking a mussaka dinner tonight and I am welcome to join them. Taxi up to The Herald Angels Awards ceremony in the Festival Theatre.
Bus to the West End of Princes Street. Purchase two Martin Walker Bruno novels, one for my hosts and one for me. Check with Orange and I still have 12 pounds on my mobile phone. Walk to Charlotte Square. Have a bowl of tomato soup in the yurt and sit with Padmini and she tells me that Hannah McGill has had twin girls. The father is a photographer named Ryan McGoveme. Frances Sutton passes and gives me a kiss on the cheek. Nick Barley introduces me to Ed Miliband, the Leader of the Labour Party. Cannot remember why, but I tell him I have had dinner with Vladimir Putin before he became a Czar of Russia and with Indira Ghandi when she was Prime Minister of India. Wish him well in the next election.
Go and visit with Frances, Charlotte and Tom in the Press tent. Get a call from Steve Gove and we agree to meet in the Fringe Centre. Find a taxi and zoom to George Square. Spot Steve straight away. He is sitting with Ben Divall. And staying with Phoebe Grigor. I ask Steve to pass my best wishes to her.
At Steve's suggestion, I rush to see The Veil in the Pleasance Dome at 16.20. This show has been partly created at the Prague Fringe Festival. It features Lucy Hopkins. She has been to my atelier and we have had tea together. A lovely woman and a delightful production. Thank you, Steve. Thank you, Lucy.

Sunday, 25th: Today is Isabelle Stoffel's birthday. Or maybe she is just celebrating it this evening. I have a half dozen appointments today. Can I made them all? First there is a brunch date with Zen Craig and Xaviera Hollander in the Café Rouge at 11.
Then there is the Ian & Junko MacKenzie lunch in their Edinburgh flat next door to Catherine Robins' place. I ride there with Sheila and John. See lots of people I know including Robbie Jack and Catherine Robins. Am introduced to an attractive Vietnamese-American woman named Tiana Alexander. Lunch is, of course, fantastic. Afterwards I am so tired that I go into the front room and rest on the couch.
Alas I am too tired to make the Rachel McCrum/Sophia Walker reading in the Scottish Parliament in the late afternoon.
But I do manage to get my strength together to attend the "Flying Artichoke" award party in the Scottish Arts Club at 6 pm. Judges include Catherine Robins, Liz Smith, and Joyce Caplan. The award is co-sponsored by the Scottish Arts Club and John Ritchie. The winner this year is the play at the Summerhall that I attempted to see, Hela, but was not able to do so. Get a call from Roza. She is coming to pick me up and will be in her car downstairs in 10 minutes. I say goodbye to a few friends and slip out.
Roza arrives and soon we are at her flat. David had cooked a feast. Other guests begin to arrive and they include Alan Bissett and his lovely girlfriend, Kirstin Innes. Also two wild ladies from Glasgow, Genevieve and Catriona, who Roza met in a Sunday dinner in my place in Paris. There is also Jane Adams. After a bit I must excuse myself because I promised Isabelle Stoffel that I would attend her birthday party tonight. David Petherick walks downstairs with me and waits until the taxi arrives.
Soon I am at the party. And it is a wild Spanish affair. Isabelle is so happy. She, Sigfrid, David and all The Surrender team have greatly enjoyed the Edinburgh Festival. I am so pleased for them. I am really tired, so excuse myself, give Isabelle a last kiss and warm embrace and go out to find a taxi to take me to Great King Street and bed.

Monday, 26th: Get up and perform my usual rituals. Then pack. Somehow manage to get everything into the big bag and my medicine and a few other things in a small cloth carry-on. Taxi up to the Book Festival to see William Dalrymple. I think he is on at 11 and I am wrong. He is on at 10 and I have missed him. Damn. Say my goodbyes to Frances Sutton, Nick Barley, Charlotte Gosling, Tom Birch, Chris Close, Rachel McCrum, and many others. The Book Festival is almost over. The Fringe Festival is ending today. And I am departing for London tomorrow morning. My 56th Edinburgh Festival is rapidly coming to an end. I will be pleased to be home in Paris in my big bed and my super shower. But I will miss Edinburgh, the Festival and my many friends.
Taxi up to Bristo Place and go into the Assembly press room. Take Fiona Evans across the street to the Hotel du Vin and we have a long interview. She is writing another play and wants this interview to use in her play. We have lunch outside in the courtyard and it is glorious. Bill Burdett Coutts sit at a table near us with his sister, Diana, and a pretty blonde. Fiona thanks me and insists upon treating our lunch. I thank Bill for hosting Broadway Enchanté and tell him I will see him again next year.
Stroll to George Square and say goodbye to Elsa Parent-Koenig. Her glorious mum flew to Paris yesterday and she flies to Paris tomorrow.
Walk past my two sculptures and over to Teviot. I will see the last production of The Surrender. Take the lift up to the 4th floor. Veronica is guarding the theatre entrance. She tells me that Barry Humphries has come up from London to catch the last production. And no sooner are these words out of her mouth and I am meeting the man himself. He is super charming. We chat briefly and he goes into the theatre. I elect to sit in my spot at the last row. Isabelle is fantastic. Better than ever. What a sweetheart! Afterwards Isabelle has several curtain calls and thanks me from the stage.

We all go upstairs to the Gilded Baloon Members Bar and sit outside on the terrace. Barry tells us all that he loved the production and wishes to invite it to the Adelaide Festival next Spring. He is the Director, so has the power to invite the production. I mention Germaine Greer and ask Barry if he ever sees her. We both agree that she has become a Grande Dame.One part of me wants to dash to the French Institute to see the last performance of the Adam Smith show. But I am still upset that I was unable to convince Nick Phillipson to see the production. So don't dash to the French Institute. I know that Keith Bruce managed to see it and that he liked it.
Walk to the Assembly press room and say goodby to les girls. Tell them they are all welcome to come and stay in Paris in my guest room. What a wonderful group of attractive ladies!
Go to see Breaking the Silence in C venue at 16.45 with Ana Adams. She is an actress based in Madrid. She coached Isabelle Stoffel with her English. Ana is half English/half Spanish. A lovely person. We both enjoyed this production.
See Boadway Enchanté for the last time here in Edinburgh. Tiana Alexandra joins me plus Chris Close and Ana Adams. Tiana gives me her DVD of From Hollywood to Hanoi, a film she has produced, written and directed. (I watch the DVD when I am home in Paris and can report it is full of passion, tenderness, humour.) At the end of several curtain calls, Isabelle thanks me from the stage. A wonderful performer and a wonderful person. I see her and Frederik Steenbrink after the show. Lots of hugs and warm embraces. Isabelle Georges is flying to Paris tomorrow. Frederik Steenbrink will drive the truck with all the props.
Tiana and I embrace and then she too leaves us. Chris and I head for The Outsider to have some food. Ana Adams comes with us. We get a table and soon we three are having a delicious meal. My last supper in Edinburgh until next August.

 
DVD cover for "From Hollywood to Hanoi", a film by Tiana Alexandra
From Hollywood to Hanoi,
a film by Tiana Alexandra, 2013

Tuesday, 27th: Up early. Perform my morning rituals. Shower, shave, shampoo. Dress. Pack. Have coffee and toast. Thank Ruth and Martin for putting me up and for putting up with me. Tell them they are welcome anytime they wish to come to Paris. Call a taxi and soon I am on my way to Waverley Station and the train to London.
The train ride South is fast and comfortable. David Calvitto is on the same train and comes and sits with me. We talk about the festival and his future acting possibilities in Dublin and London.
Get great help in Kings X from a staff member when we arrive. His name is Alfonso Cummings and he is from Jamaica. He wheels me to a taxi queue and pushes me to the front. Alfonso, you are a gentleman.
Taxi to Gloucester Terrace. Ernie lets me inside and we talk about Jeanette, his sister, and I give Ernie a report on the festival. Many people asked about him. He and I walk to Queensway and we have hot chocolate in the Spanish café. We walk back to Ernie's place.
Early evening Ernie drops me in a taxi at Samra and Ali's place. Then he goes North to see his nephew, Jeanette's son. Have a quiet meal with Samra and Ali. And a talk about the festival. Then it is early to bed.

Wednesday, 28th: Up and start getting ready to depart London for home. Discover the shampoo bottle has opened and shampoo has spilled into the clothe bag. Damn, but no major damage done. At least I did not have it in my large bag. Get up and perform my medical rituals. Ali comes downstairs and I join him in the kitchen for coffee. He gives me another clothe bag and I suggest he throw away mine. Samra comes down with their son, Hakiya. He seems to be in a good mood and we exchange playful glaces. More talk about the festival and various mutual friends. The time passes and suddenly Dan Topolski has arrived with his son, Luke. We head for the car. I hug Samra and Ali. And we are off in the glorious sunshine headed for St Pancras. Dan parks the car in a side entrance near the taxi rank. Luke and I head inside to the Eurostar Passenger Assistance. There we are assured that a wheel chair will be provided and Luke is free to leave me. I thank him and ask him to thank Daniel. Soon two fellows wheel me inside through security and passport control. I ask about Michael Jones. Is he still here at St. Pancras? Yes, he is I am told. So please pass my best wishes to him. (Back in Paris, I get an email message from Michael Jones that he was sorry to have missed me.)

That's it. Another Festival. My 56th. I jokingly say that I wish to attend 100 Festivals in Edinburgh and now I only have another 44 to go. It is one hella way to spend the month of August, seeing old friends, meeting new ones, falling in love daily, eating great meals, seeing some wonderful shows (and some not so wonderful). So come and be festive with me next August in Edinburgh...

Jim Haynes
September 2013

Atelier A-2,
83 rue de la Tombe Issoire,
75014 Paris France

 

 

 

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