The Fringe (and beyond…)

The Fringe (and beyond…)


We’d been to the Edinburgh Fringe before but only for one day and we’d not had chance to take in more than one show before. We’re often away in August, but this year we booked early and took advantage of the Camping Ninja campsite, which is set up every year at the Royal Highland Showground on the outskirts of the City.

The drive northwards on Tuesday up the M6 made such a pleasant change from driving south. There were no holdups and the scenery is brilliant. We were at the site by 3.15pm and greeted by the very friendly and helpful staff, who even gave us a free beer when we checked in!

We chilled, had a sandwich, then caught the bus into Edinburgh, but not before I’d used the new GoPro gimble that Boris bought me for Father’s day, to film a walk around the site. The weather was amazing and the site looked fantastic.

We’d booked to see a couple of comedian’s on Tuesday night: James Acaster at the Pleasance Courtyard and Mark Steel at the Assembly Hall. Both were brilliant and it was a great start to our trip. Adding in a few beers and glorious weather gave us a perfect day.

It was easy to catch the bus back although you have to cross a busy dual carriageway to get to the lane to the site. The difficulty is remembering where to get off (or maybe that’s the fault of the beer).

Wednesday was even hotter once the sun broke through and we could laze around at the van until it was time to go back in to the city to see Hardeep Singh Kohli at the Pleasance Dome. We had time to wander around Edinburgh first and then have lunch at Tony Singh’s restaurant at the Apex hotel on the Grassmarket. The food is Asian fusion and very good it was too. Chef Singh made a couple of appearances but there was no chance for a selfie opportunity!

HSK was a big disappointment. His show was subtitled, Hardeep Singh Kohli’s Mix Tape and was in a very small intimate venue. He tried to engage with the audience but, when we didn’t laugh, apparently it was our fault for not finding his jokes funny. He tried taking the mickey out of people’s names but that didn’t work either; “What’s your name?” “Florence”. “No, I haven’t got anything for that” Ostensibly, he was due to talk about the music that defined his life but apart from one track he didn’t bother with that either. We left and went in search of beer and a seat in the sunshine.

We’d booked to see a favourite of ours, Camille O’Sullivan, later at the Underbelly Circus Hub and we weren’t disappointed.

We grabbed a glass of wine at the Circus Hub and heard an audience roaring and whooping at the show that proceeded Camille, The Raunch – but more of that later.

We had some time to kill, so wandered into The Meadows, a lovely park where people were having barbecues on the grass and others were practising circus skills.

There was a commotion from one of the walkways heading into the park so we went to see what was happening. A large group of people came dancing into the park, all wearing headphones and being led by an extravagant character, dressed in orange. It turns out that they were taking part in a silent disco that started in the Grassmarket and moved through the city to the park.

It looked great fun and we decided to try and book ourselves on for the next day.

Back to Wednesday evening then and the Camille O’Sullivan show. As always, she was brilliant, engaged with the audience, and even sang a song whilst sitting on the big top trapeze above our heads. She finished her set with a tribute to David Bowie, avoiding being clichéd, by performing All The Young Dudes. This is one of my favourites songs and was actually a hit for Mott the Hoople, but was written by Bowie.A perfect way to end the evening.

Thursday wasn’t quite so sunny to start with, but it cleared up later. We’d booked to see Croft and Pearce at Underbelly Wee Coo. Unless you’re Radio 4 listeners (and we are) you’ll probably not have heard of them, but if you get the chance to see them, and you like laughing, then this show shouldn’t be missed. They did non-stop sketches for an hour in a tiny room, then greeted everyone at the end of the show with free fudge and details of their upcoming tour.

Their show was definitely the highlight of the week for us – we’ll certainly try to see them again.

We had several hours to wait until the next show so we tried to take in as many sights as possible. Here are a few random photos to prove we didn’t spend ALL our time in bars…

It’s not that we didn’t visit any bars:

We managed to book tickets to The Raunch (see above) and later wished we hadn’t. The whole show was bizarre. It had a Western theme but not as you’d know it. At one point the lady sheriff had a duel with the baddie – not with guns but with nipple tassels! Later, the climax of the show, involved the sheriff on a trapeze with a laser light up her bottom, shining three different coloured lights around the Big Top. Would I recommend it? Definitely not!

We finished off on Thursday with a Simon and Garfunkel tribute act, called Bookends. They were very good and the arrangements of the songs were excellent, but there wasn’t much interaction with the audience and I was left disappointed that I’d not been able to sing along more. On reflection, maybe it was for the best…

The weather turned on Friday with wall to wall rain from mid morning until about 10pm. By the time we got to the show we’d booked we were soaking wet.

We grabbed a beer or two in a pub next to the B’est Restaurant where the Faulty Towers Dining Experience was being held and got chatting to some fellow diners. Tickets in hand, we went next door and were told to wait in the covered area next to the restaurant with the other guests.

Manuel, Basil and Cybil soon made an apperance and so started a brilliant couple of hours of food, drink and, most of all, laughter. The whole show was superb and very well done. If you get the chance to go (the show tours throughout the UK), then it’s well worth the cost.

The vegetarian option

From the show we headed across town, north of Princes Street to grab another drink before seeing our final show of the week. We were absolutely drenched when we got into the Taylor Walker pub and seats were at a premium. We managed to get a couple of seats on a table with a lovely couple from Sao Paolo, where Absinthe, our campervan was built. They were on holiday and loving Edinburgh (but less so, the rain).

It was great to chat about Brazil and the rivalries between cities there. For Manchester and Liverpool, read Sao Paolo and Rio de Janeiro!

A bit later we were joined by two Scottish couples. The men were brothers and one couple lived in Australia now. At one point I had to act as translator bewteen the broad Scots speakers and the Brazilians, who spoke American English. A good time was had by all, before we headed off to see the Rat Pack Live.


The Rat Pack show really wasn’t very good – the singers neither looked like Dean, Sammy and Frank, nor did they sing like them. We left after a while and eventually made our way back to the campsite.

Saturday morning was time to pack and head off after a brilliant few days. I know this is a Campervan Blog so I’d better put some photos of the site and a few vans, so here we go:

Finally, Alison seemed to think this was appropriate:

There’s a full set of photos here: FLICKR

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