I once heard a comedian (it may have been Ed Byrne) talk about how amongst comedians, the month of August is simply known as ‘Edinburgh.’ ‘What are you doing for Edinburgh?’ ‘Oh, I’ll be spending it in Florida.’ Here in Edinburgh, August often just gets called ‘the festival.’ Locals discuss their festival plans, whether or not they involve any actual time at festivals. If you’re in Edinburgh during August, the festivals will be impacting your life whether you attend them or not. They are inescapable.
This year most of my planning for August has involved preparing for a large art exhibition I’ll be putting on. (If you’ll be in town, please come see it!) It has been good to have something to work towards, a way to focus my energy in this post-Scott reality where I am still finding my feet. I’m kind of impressed with myself that I’m doing anything productive at all these days.
Purrcules was as excited about the arrival of the Book Festival programme as I was!
My favorite of all the August festivals is the Book Festival. I haven’t gotten around to acquiring any tickets yet, but I have scoured the programme and used it as inspiration for my summer reading choices. The big names (Zadie Smith, Paul Auster, Ali Smith, Alexander McCall Smith) will have sold out on the first day. (One of the things I love about Edinburgh is the around-the-block queue which forms in the wee hours on the morning the Book Festival tickets go on sale.)
I’ve spent four Augusts in Edinburgh so far. Scott was receiving chemotherapy during two of them, but even those years we managed to see a couple Fringe shows together. I will miss him most during the nightly fireworks at the end of the Tattoo, which we could see from our kitchen window. Whatever we were doing when the first booms sounded, Scott would insist we run to the window and watch them, every night of the festival.
One of my many sketches of Edinburgh Castle
I was amazed to realize we’ve now been in Scotland for longer than we lived in Switzerland or Italy. I mean, our first year here was so strange that it almost doesn’t count. And the past two years have had a different quality about them, as well – a combination of “WTF just happened to us?”, “Yay, everything’s fabulous!”, and “What if it comes back?”. But the longer we live here, the easier it becomes to separate the Edinburgh experience from the leukemia experience. These days we have a lot of acquaintances here who don’t know Scott was ever sick. We’re just two regular old American expats in Edinburgh, two among many. Continue reading
I have kind of fallen in love with the Edinburgh International Book Festival this year. In addition to hosting lots of interesting book-themed events, it’s a charming place to hang out, to meet friends for a drink. Browsing the onsite bookstore Continue reading
This year I am diving head-first into the Edinburgh International Book Festival, just one of the many festivals going on in the city this month. Conveniently self-contained on Charlotte Square in New Town, the Book Festival grounds consist of several theaters, a big book shop, a couple of bars and cafes, and lots of lovely outdoor seating (some of it covered, perfect on a drizzly day). Continue reading
We haven’t seen darkness in months. Not real darkness, anyway – here the sun goes down and hovers just below the horizon before coming back up in a few hours. It adds to the general feeling of strangeness and anticipation that summer in Edinburgh brings. Continue reading
Big, smelly excitement in Edinburgh this weekend, as a titan arum (also known as amorphophallus titanum, or giant misshapen phallus) blooms for the first time at the Royal Botanic Gardens. Continue reading
This morning the Faroe Islands got to experience a total solar eclipse. (Well, they did in theory. In practice it was cloudy and they saw nothing.) Here in Scotland, we got around 93% of said eclipse. Continue reading
At the Hot Dub Time Machine stage
Edinburgh turns its city center into one gigantic party for New Year’s Eve, a day known in Scots as Hogmanay (pretty much tied with the German Silvester for most adorable thing to call New Year’s Eve). Continue reading
After a very expat Christmas in the US, we came back to Edinburgh to experience the glory that is Hogmanay for the first time. Continue reading
As if trying to prove to us that ever-earlier darkness isn’t such a bad thing, Edinburgh’s Royal Botanic Garden is putting on a special nighttime event this month.