More time has passed since I last wrote a blog post than I’d realised.
I’ve decided to put this down to how totally immersing the party was and not to how lazy I’ve been about writing ever since.
Well, I’m back now and ready to give you an exciting run-down of the wonder that is…
THE EDINBURGH BOOK FESTIVAL 2014
I love the book festival. I think I may have mentioned this before. Probably every August since I started this whole blogging thing. I could check but I haven’t. I’ll leave that to you. Or not. Whatever.
This year the weather was a strange mixture of wonderful sunshine and pouring rain, sometimes shifting between the two in a matter of moments. But there was enough good weather to enjoy plenty of relaxing afternoons in Charlotte Square gardens eating and drinking and watching the world go by.
My brother Tim came up for the second week of the festival, which was excellent. He and I left the boys and Matthew to fend for themselves for whole afternoons and evenings at a time while we meandered around the book shop tents, drank tea, coffee, hot chocolate and Pimms (depending on the weather) and people-watched.
First day of the book festival. The lady selling The Scotsman was offering an amazing array of freebies with the paper. Over several days we picked up free recipe books, coffee, a dvd, children’s books and several I ♥ Edinburgh bags.
Lots of events on offer over seventeen action-packed days
One thing about Edinburgh during August…You never know who, or what, you might bump into on any street corner.
The weather was lovely on the first day. Probably the best day of all in fact. And lots of people flocked to the gardens to enjoy the ambiance. It was busy but still relaxing. Quite different from the more frenetic activity of the rest of the city as it hosts the enormous event that is the Edinburgh International Festival.
Here people relax and read and chat and catch up on the latest news.
This photo was taken by the book festival’s roving photographer and put on their website. I discovered it yesterday and spotted myself, captured (sitting on the chair to the left) mid ice cream and having a rifle through my free I ♥ Edinburgh bag!
It was still sunny when I met up with cousin Ruth and daughter Molly. We ate more ice cream. Of course. Shortly after taking that photo we all had to run for cover as the heavens opened and drenched the place.
And the people
The sky transformed as we watched from this…to this. It doesn’t look as dramatic here as it felt at the time. Imagine thunder and rain and a 5 degree temperature drop.
Despite the varied weather there were plenty of interesting events to choose from. I didn’t buy many tickets but did manage to sneak into a book signing queue to speak to one of my favourite authors.
I chatted to Alexander McCall Smith about greyhounds* and he signed a book for a friend of mine who’s also a big fan.
Tim, Matthew, the boys and I did actually attend an event with Michael Morpurgo and a French illustrator called Barroux.
While we waited to go in we ate…yes, ice cream
We had to wait quite a while
But it was worth it.
Barroux brought original drawings with him to show us and the WW1 French soldier’s diary that he found and illustrated.
He also signed our books with an artist’s enthusiasm.
This is his book, in both English and French
Tim and I did quite a bit of chilling out in and around the book festival.
Pimms was involved at times.
One interesting event we didn’t manage to get tickets for was with the famous Japanese author Haruki Murakami
Apparently, in Japan, Murakami gets mobbed by the press wherever he goes, so he requested that here he carry out his signing behind a curtain, out of sight of the cameras and press. So we watched as the patient queue of people clutching their books disappeared one by one behind the curtain, emerging a moment later the other side. Apart from this there was no mob waiting however, just the two of us and a man waiting for a cup of tea. At the end the staff formed a protective wall of people behind which Murakami escaped from the watching crowd of three.
And then all too quickly it was the last day. We all spent the evening mooching about, not wanting to say our final goodbyes for another year.
But finally it was time to leave.
We are lucky to have such an event almost on our doorstep.
* The reason we chatted about greyhounds was because Sandy used to say hello to Judy whenever we bumped into him in the street, which we did quite regularly as he lives on part of what was our main dog-walking route. Also, as I may have mentioned before, Sandy once included us (well, mostly Judy) in one of his books. It is a fleeting mention, but a mention never the less. If you want to find us/her you’ll need to search “The Lost Art of Gratitude” chapter 8, just after Jamie’s lovers song. Blink and you’ll miss us.