|Image: Alasdair Middleton|
Yesterday was about as good a Saturday as I’ve ever had for a long time, teeing up what looks like finishing up to be a cracker of a weekend. It had—and is going to have—everything I would want out of living in Edinburgh: coffee, reading, the Book Festival, family time, St Mirren in town, and fine dining.
It all started off at 7am yesterday when, after brewing some fresh coffee, I logged on to the company systems to take care of some scheduled work. It all went smoothly enough, and by 9am I was off down to the bus stop to hop a bus into town.
My first task was to avoid the torrential rain that was falling from dark clouds blanketing the sky. Typical, I thought to myself, since last year the opening day of the Edinburgh Book Festival suffered the same blight. I never managed it, of course, so after buying a newspaper I headed for a cappuccino and warm chocolate pastry in my usual Saturday morning coffee shop.
Afterwards, I headed towards Charlotte Square and the white tents of the book fest. I always get such a tremendous buzz from just approaching the place, that when I walked in I couldn’t prevent my broad smile.
I took a tour around inside, just lapping up the atmosphere, and then spent some time browsing inside the book shop. It was very busy, as it always is on day one, and I purchased a book to give to Gail on our anniversary, a little something by the Edinburgh photographer, Colin Baxter.
It was soon approaching half past eleven so I joined the queue for Kate Atkinson. Sitting in the same seat I have sat in the Main RBS Tent over the past few years is one of the small things that makes coming here most enjoyable. Some would say it is sad, but I find it quite comfortable and personal now, that I look forward to parking my bum on it each time.
Kate was a delight. I found her very charming and interesting, sometimes hilariously funny but with it a sense of confidence that only a writer who writes for herself as opposed to a readership can have. She read from her new book, When Will There Be Good News, and after some persuading, the audience asked some good questions. It was a lovely start to the festival for me, and a great start to what promises o be a very rewarding and promising week in Charlotte Square.
I headed off to Slaters in George Street after the event, now basking in warm sunshine and clear skies—what a difference an hour makes to the weather in Scotland—and set about buying a new shirt, ties, and shoes to go with the suit I was also collecting. A pretty penny was handed over, let me tell you, but it will all be worth it come tonight.
Back home, and with the girls out buying school stuff for next week, I found myself at a loose end. While reading the sports section over a cup of tea I realised that in all my Book Fest thoughts I’d forgotten the Scottish football season kicks off today, with my beloved St Mirren playing right here in Edinburgh against Hibernian.
I checked their website and the game was pay-at-the-gate, so off I went, making the 10-minute walk toEaster Road stadium. I joined my fellow Paisley Buddies behind the goals at the away end for what proved to be an interesting start to the season. Saints got beat 2-1 in what turned out to be a typically frustrating match for us (see picture above for usual expression ofa Buddie while watch the Saints). We had a player sent off after 15 minutes, inconsistent refereeing, and made some basic schoolboy errors.
However, I had the loudest guy in the stadium right in front of me, so I spent half the match laughing at his banter with the Hibs fans sitting nearby in the next stand. It was great to be back at a game again, and it was even better to be sitting amongst people whose accents actually make sense to me.
After the match, and with Gail out for the evening, I settled down on the couch with a pizza and Irn-Bru to watch King Kong with Laura, as nice a way to spend a Saturday evening as I’ve had recently, and a really good way to top off what had been a fabulous day—footie result aside.
And so to today, the 6th year anniversary of my marriage with Gail. The taxi is already booked for this evening, which will take us to location number 1 for a couple of quiet drinks, and then we shall proceed to The Witchery restaurant for our celebratory meal. It can’t fail!
To top my day off entirely, althogh my Bluetones review wasn’t published (the music editor is a huge ‘Tones fan), my review of the Vertis gig on Tuesday was published in today’s News of the World: read it here.