My 2019 Festival Diary Vol 1

Edinburgh styles itself ‘the festival city’. We have all kinds of festivals, about all kinds of subjects, all year round. But it is in the summer where the party really gets started.  Over the course of a few weeks, we have the Edinburgh International Festival, the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, the Edinburgh Art Festival and the Edinburgh International Book Festival.  It is an incredible period of vibrant creativity, excellence and fun.

My Mum and I kicked things off this year with art-immersion over a couple of days.  We saw the City Art Centre’s stunning exhibition of Victoria Crowe’s work.  I wrote about my love of this artist here and here. It was wonderful to see some familiar paintings again, and plenty of new-to-me ones too.  Here is a screen-shot montage of some of the photos I took as we went around.  I love this collage display of colour and texture, which is the epitome of Crowe’s style:

 

Talking of collage, we also went to see Cut and Paste at the Scottish Gallery of Modern Art. Among my favourite works were this pair of c1830 pictures by George Smart, depicting a goose woman and a postman.

 

And we managed to fit in a whizz round the National Gallery of Scotland’s Bridget Riley exhibition.  It is always fascinating to see her ground-breaking geometric work, but I particularly enjoyed the room of sketches and preparatory pieces which, in true maths good practice tradition, showed her workings:

 

Next came a few comedy shows with Hub and our nephew, Mitchel.  Perhaps the most compelling was the stand-up routine by New Zealander Liam Malone, who is a gold medal winning paralympian.  Mitch has his own paralympic ambitions, so Liam’s show was hugely motivating and inspiring for him (as well as being very funny).  He was also very kind and generous with his time, talking to Mitch before the show, giving him a shout-out during the routine, and posing for a photo afterwards.  Thank you Liam!

Mitch (L) and Liam (R)

 

Finally, I kicked off my book festival programme with a couple of memorable events.  Tim Winton spoke about his new book, The Shepherd’s Hut. I could have listened to him for ever.  He reflected powerfully on the importance of landscape in his work; the creative process (or lack of process in his case); and how he sees optimism and hope as disciplines and obligations which have the capacity to break and re-make things.

“Surfing and writing both involve a lot of waiting. A surfer is waiting for a swell, the residue of an event that happened in the past. When you get one, you ride their energy to the shore. That’s what I do as a writer. Stories and ideas are just ripples from old events.” ~Tim Winton

 

After a couple of hours relaxing in the festival’s garden, seated under this lovely old tree…..

…I saw Damian Barr and Kit de Whaal talk about the recently published Common People: an anthology of working class writers. I am a huge fan of both authors and this was a wonderfully entertaining session, with an important point about the need for us all to make space for perspectives and experiences which are different from our own.

Of course, a festival would not be a proper festival without the addition of a bit of weather.  This is Hub and Mitch in the queue waiting to see Irish comedian Jason Byrne:

Never let it be said that we allow a bit of rain to dampen our festival enjoyment! 🙂

Gloomy Joy

It has been a really dreich day weather-wise in Edinurgh today.  Misty and rainy –  the sort of day where you just want to curl up and watch the TV and/or read a good book with a nice cup of tea.

It occurred to me that it is so very easy to write about and post pictures of lovely sunny days.  How important, though, also to look around at the beauty available to us, regardless of the weather.  As I sit typing this post, I can hear the rain beating down outside – it is in many ways a comforting sound:  we need the rain for survival; and its rhythm is calming and peaceful, like a ticking clock.

Below are some shots of gorgeous flowers and foliage taken in the rain, just a few steps from our front door.  I love how cheerful everything looks, the splendour enhanced by the raindrops.  What an inspiration for life! 🙂

It’s not what you look at that matters, but what you see.

~ Henry David Thoreau

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