Friday, August 26, 2011

A feast followed by six hours at Heathrow

Feeling a bit worse for wear on Thursday morning, I made my way to a cafe around the corner I had passed quite a few times when going to the little supermarket. It's a bike shop and a cafe. A sign outside says, 'Have a coffee while we fix your bike.'

Then, passing Lady Stair's Close, I went to my final Fringe show, Translunar Paradise. It centres around an old man whose wife has died and his coming to terms with living without her. The story itself was a bit cliched, but what made it worth seeing were the masks. The actors who played the old man and his wife were young (in flashbacks they played younger, maskless versions of the characters) so most of the time they held 'old' masks in front of their faces. The masks were so detailed they actually seemed to change expression depending on how the actors were moving or the mood of the scene. There was no dialogue, only very clever accompaniment by an accordionist who actually played a big role in the show, sometimes holding a mask in front of an actor's face to free up their hands, singing, provide genius sound effects using only the accordian (my favourite was the sound of slow motion breathing). There's a trailer and a photo here, but neither really do the masks justice.

There's a lot of dance in the show and overall I thought it got a bit repetitive, some sequences were done numerous times with only slight variation or none at all, but it was a really beautiful production.

Then Ed and I had tea milshakes at a cute wee tea place on the way to my abode. I'd had a tea milkshake there the day before by accident (I walked in thinking it was a tea shop and was taken aback by opening the door and immediately having someone say, 'Table for one? Over here please' that I just sat down) and it was so yum.

For my last night in Edinburgh Lisa cooked a Scottish feast for Ed and I.

We had Scottish salmon. Followed by:

Haggis with mashed turnip and mashed potatoe (after trying my first ever haggis and liking it, I proceeded to follow Lisa and her partner Luke's lead and smother everything in cheese sauce and brown sauce, SO DELICIOUS) accompanied by Iron Bru. Looks like Fanta, tastes a bit like cough medicine. Apparently it outsells Coca Cola in Scotland.

Despite being absolutely full to the brim of hearty haggis and root vegetables, I managed to fit in a little bit of cranachan. A desert made with oats, cream, whiskey and berries. Lisa said its only the second time she's ever made it, the first was in New Zealand for her flatmates on Burns' night. It doesn't seem like it would be too difficult so I think I might have to try making it myself, it was really good.

I felt like I wouldn't need to eat for a week by the time I bid farwell to Ed, who is off to London on Monday, and then who knows where. I packed my bag - it's a squeeze but not too bad, lucky I left room for accumulating stuff (although it's actually only about 3kgs heavier than when I left Wellington) and set my alarm for 4.15am.

When the taxi I'd booked the night before pulled up at 5am, the driver asked, 'For 116 St Stephen Street? To the airport?' I felt like saying, 'Because you wouldn't want to confuse me with any of the hundred other people waiting on the footpath outside number 116 at 5am with a pack, would you?' The street was deserted.

Edinburgh Airport was packed and I stood in line for 45 minutes to check in. Helpfully the woman behind me kept saying, 'This is ridiculous, this line is hardly moving, they should have more staff on, what are they thinking? We're not going to make it.' Airports, such fun places...

Especially when you're now stuck at one for six hours. Currently two hours down, four to go.

My final verdict of my time in the UK: Cardiff still wins. I liked Edinburgh but I didn't love it. It's hard to know what it would be like outside of Fringe time - Luke said, 'Ten times more boring'. The Fringe was great but more expensive than I thought and the quality was much more varied than I expected. It was awesome being able to see so much stand-up comedy and puppetry though - two things we don't get so much of in New Zealand.

The traffic lights in the UK are strange. I'm not sure I'm convinced by this flashing yellow between red and green. Also, all the traffic stopping while pedestrians cross wastes time for everyone. Is it that difficult to turn after giving way to pedestrians who have the green man? 

The best thing about Scotland has to be Tunnock's Tea Cakes. Like Mallowpuffs but way better. The marshmellow is like eating a cloud.

Lisa kept saying it was a shame about the weather but it hadn't bothered me. It rained at least once a day but only for about an hour or so and it was nowhere near as cold as when I left Wellington. I'm hoping New Zealand is struck by a strange heatwave in the next 24 hours.

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