My dear old friend and I arranged to have a drink in one of the really posh places, as a treat. I don’t know why I agreed to it.
These upscale watering holes are not for the likes of me. They seem to have a reverse age limit. They might check the ID of some young beauty as she sashays past security, but they reserve a look of utter horror for an old dame in her fifties as she lurches in the door.
The bar, as ever in these establishments, is a tad tall for the vertically challenged. As a result, getting served for me requires a combination of arm movements that look like modern interpretative dance, coupled with the plaintive cry of ‘excuse me, excuse me . . .’
And this being the Fringe, I expect a glowing a review in Contemporary Performance Art Monthly.
Finally, the terribly handsome young barman caught sight of the gesturing dwarf and, with god-like calm, leaned down to ask me what I wanted to drink.
White wine, I said, full of confidence. I know wine. My favourites are red, white, and special offer.
“Certainly, madam,” he said. “Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Gringo or Semillon? “
Clearly, I had wandered into an exam.
“Chardonnay.” I said, well knowing that’s the easy way.
He countered with, “Small, medium or large?”
Aha! That question was easy.
Guess what I chose? I figured I had all the answers correct, so magic up my wine, amigo! He gave a customer service smile, then reached for the glass, which he then inspected minutely, with the air of a diamond cutter planning his first strike on the surface of the Koh-i-Noor. Satisfied at last that this glass was, indeed, fit for purpose, he then wiped it carefully. The wine was fetched. The glass was now filled with ice cubes and clear, spring water, and swirled about. The glass was checked again. The ice cubes were swirled once more, before they were cast away. The glass was checked again, and wiped again. This glass was inspected more rigorously than an MP’s expenses claim.
Meanwhile, in front of the bar, an increasingly desperate housewife has morphed into a deranged female orang-utan and is considering pole vaulting the bar to get her drink.
Finally, and I mean finally, the wine is carefully poured into the glass. But the performance is not yet over! There is a further flourish involving a yet another swirl and a flutter with a wee black paper napkin to catch any spills before my glass is landed gently before me. I seize it with both hands like a maternally outraged gorilla momma who’s just been given her baby back by Attenborough.
I only wanted a drink, not a full-on Japanese Noh theatre performance.
Get your kits back on, lads
There was a topless protest carry on up the High Street the other day. A topless protest is just the sort of thing you’d see in a film called Carry On Up The High Street. I can practically hear Sid James laugh. Most of us failed to notice it, aside from the flyering teams who would have immediately spotted stationary targets and swooped like seagulls over dropped chips.
The disrobers demand parity for women’s nipples. Men can, at the first glimpse of the sun, whip off the shirt and go ‘taps aff’, as we say in Scotland. Women cannot.
Women should have the right to party when the sun shines, too.
Equality is wonderful. Shed the layers, take in the sun, build up that Vitamin D, go mad, sisters. But here’s an idea. Why not, in the name of equality, persuade the men to cover up? Seriously, some of sights you see at the Fit O’ The Walk would, to use my mother’s wonderful phrase, “put you right off your dinner”.
Spit’n’sawdust was fine by me
Once upon a time, in a bar far, far away I met a pal for a drink. Now, this bar is named after the port in which it stands. It did not boast wee black paper napkins. Spillages were dealt with by a mop, or in cases involving lumps, sawdust.
On the plus side, the bar was easier for me to get to and there were plenty of smiles to be had from the staff.
I ordered wine, specified white. The barmaid hauled out a glass, poured the plonk and took my cash.
It’s not what you’d expect in church
Last chance this Sunday to see what’s left of lill’ old wine drinker me after three weeks of Fringe madness. Just Festival at 4.30pm in St John’s Church.
I’m talking about things I don’t think you should be talking about in a church hall. It’s Edinburgh’s dark and, frankly, bonkers history.
Best warn you – it’s not entirely serious. It’ll be a hoot and there’s an outside chance I might get struck by a thunder bolt if the Almighty spots me.