The Road to Edinburgh: what’s the secret of a good joke, timing

10 Jul

Salamanca. Cobblestones, iglesias, and a hotel room that smells like Glade and how do you turn those bloody things off and why does anyone think that Glade smells better than whatever it is that the Glade is supposed to mask?

I have not been able to spot the frog on the facade of the universidad. Spotting said frog is supposed to bring you luck. The lads were rather patient while we looked, but in the end, eldest boy said, ‘Yeah, but Mum, I’ve never spilt even a grain of salt and look what bad luck I’ve just had’. He’s just this afternoon lost a his sketchbook which was filled with a series of cavemen he has invented, and the inventions of the cavemen, and their food and their interactions with each other, and he was going to post it to his granny. We’ve retraced our steps through the streets of Salamanca looking for it, but it’s nowhere to be seen. He’s been as brave as he can, but it’s a lot to lose and I just can’t understand how it happened, because he’s been clutching one sketchbook or another so tight for a month that it’s almost like an extension of his arm.

I will tell you one day about this last month. About me and Spain and two boys and a Ford Fiesta. I haven’t been blogging, but I’ve been writing in my journals. I wrote great screeds in my journals, two new books filled with thinking and thoughts, more journal writing than I’ve done for years and years. It’s such a different way to write. I’ve missed the internet and my blog and your blogs, but I’m convinced that writing in journals has let me learn a lot.

I’ve learnt a lot about what it means to make your way in the world with both of your parents gone. For a while, I thought I was making too much of that, and I tried to talk myself out of giving it too much credence. It happens to everyone after all. But actually, it’s a bloody big deal. For me, anyway. I’m different now to what I was.

It’s been a good (by which I mean opportune) time to have some thinking and writing time, because in one week, it will be one year since my Dad died. One year. I can not believe it. I don’t mean this in some kind of ‘does time not fly’ sense. I mean that even if the year has been a full and complex one, it might easily not have passed. I mean that I could answer the phone tomorrow and Dad would be on the other end saying, ‘it’s me’ and I would say, ‘oh, you’ll never guess where we are’ and he would say, ‘well, we’re at the footy, we’re thumping Richmond by twelve goals, it’s raining and your man Chad’s done nothing all night’.

I mean that we would talk as if nothing had changed as if it had only been a day or two since we spoke. That could happen and I would not be surprised.

And yet.

It couldn’t.

I know that.

So one day, when I’ve got my thoughts in a fashion that’s a little more concise, I’ll blog a bit about the last month or so.

The mister arrived last week, and oh, yes, one day we’ll laugh about driving around Galicia until 4 am and my boys in the back of the car saying, ‘oh, well, it’s all right Mum, you already taught us that word’ and later eldest boy, ‘Mum, I’m one hundred percent sure you know how to find Dad’. But suffice to say that 250 euros that he got as compensation for the overbooked flight is mine. Mine, mine, mine.

But I can’t write about all that now either, because my mind is on other things. Tomorrow, we are travelling down to Sevilla, and then into the mountains of Andalucia for a week. In Andalucia, I will be ‘in rehearsal’ because ‘my show’, the show I’m staging at the Edinburgh Fringe, ‘opens’ in one month. Just the thought, the very thought is making my heart race and my fingers shake and why would anyone do this to themselves? Who makes their solo debut at forty years of age, what was I thinking and so on and etcetera, etcetera, etceteraaaahhhhh.

Actually, I know what I was thinking. It has been, in fact, one of the few rational decisions I’ve made over the last year or so. All I need to do is to remind myself why it is that I’m going to Edinburgh and how it happened that I could think to myself, ‘Well, if I wanted to, I could. So, why don’t I? Why don’t I bloody well give it a go?’

Last night at two am, or possibly three, as I was doing just that, reminding myself of all the excellent reasons to put on a solo show, I thought to myself, ‘That’s a perfect set of blog posts and haven’t I missed blogging and I think tomorrow’s hotel has internet access, so what about a series: The Road to Edinburgh’.

At two am, it was an excellent idea. It has grown less excellent during the day as the time for actually writing the post has shortened, and as I’ve realised that a ‘Road to Edinburgh’ series threatens to be a bit like a term-long school project at the end of which the teacher might write, ‘Tracy might have done better had she spent more time doing her project and less time talking about it.’ And yes, that’s pretty much what my school reports looked like, and yes, I probably could have done better, but anyway, here we are.

The first step on my road to Edinburgh (there are many steps – I’m telling you, this was a highly rational and well-thought-out decision).

It started because I don’t like the heat. Not at all. Like, really. Not. At. All. And even in January, Abu Dhabi wasn’t cold and I knew that I needed to plan my summer escape, and that because of reasons I would be going to Spain (one of those reasons being that before we went to Abu Dhabi, we had planned that the mister would take long service leave and we would visit Spain this September and so I was sort of modifying the plans even though the mister couldn’t come, though as it’s turned out he is here now, as I told you up there a bit). But as I sat in Abu Dhabi looking into things, I realised that August in Spain was going to be hot, August in Abu Dhabi even hotter, and that I needed to find a place to be that I could sit with the boys and life would not be too complicated and also it would be coolish and not too far from Spain on account of airfaires.

It was two in the morning (I’ve seen a lot of two in the mornings these last few years) in a bed in Abu Dhabi, and I was thinking to myself that Ireland would be cool and so would Scotland. And I suppose because I was preparing for the Adelaide Fringe at the time, my brain thought to itself, ‘How about Edinburgh, you could take in the Fringe and the boys would love it and you could have a look around and see if you might one day put on a show’. At that particular moment, I do believe that my brain just said to itself ‘put on a show’ in the way that it has sometimes said ‘study medicine’ or ‘become a park ranger’ or ‘actually make a living at something’ – that is, they were words, not an actual idea. But because it was two in the morning and at two in the morning pretty much anything is possible, my brain did translate those words into an idea which went along the lines of, ‘But why not put your own show on if you’re going to be there anyway.’

My brain was a teensy bit sensible and said to itself, ‘Nah, the registrations have probably closed’, but not sensible enough to say to itself, ‘But who will care for your children, because the mister is no longer able to take his leave’. My brain said, ‘Get up and turn your computer on and use the internet to check whether registrations have closed.’

So up I got and thanks to the magic of the world wide interwebs, I discovered that registrations had not yet closed. Finding a venue might be tricky. Accommodation might be expensive. But registrations had not yet closed. Anything was possible.

I got back into bed and I slept not a wink as I waited for the sensible part of my brain to kick in.

Still to come on The Road to Edinburgh (though it will be a week or so, because we off to rustic accommodation where there will not be an internet connection): ‘chicks aren’t funny’, or ‘are you some kind of feminist or something?’.


20 Responses to “The Road to Edinburgh: what’s the secret of a good joke, timing”

  1. SQ July 10, 2009 at 3:10 am #

    What an excellent post, so good to have you back on the blog. Have been wondering how you’re going. Thinking of you lots this last month and coming up to next week. XX

  2. elsewhere July 10, 2009 at 3:46 am #

    Great post. I’m sure the journalling’s been good but we miss the blogging!

  3. Stomper Girl July 10, 2009 at 3:57 am #

    Great to hear what is going on, and your blogpost title is one of my favourite jokes. Good luck with all the preparation. No pressure but I love the idea of the Road to Edinburgh and I hope it’s the school project that fulfils your potential.

  4. blackbird July 10, 2009 at 4:22 am #

    Looking forward.

  5. franzy July 10, 2009 at 4:59 am #

    I had identical school reports, except “talking about it” was replaced with “designing the title page”.

    Knock ’em in dead in Edinburgh. Seriously. I hate those Scottish arseholes.
    You can use that one if you like.

  6. Pavlov's Cat July 10, 2009 at 5:12 am #

    Excellent to have news of you, and what a great post. Glad to hear everything appears to be on track, and no you are not alone in the orphan weirdness thing; although (touch wood) I have not got to it yet myself, I have heard many friends and indeed both my parents, back in the day, talk about how disorienting it is. It would be more worrying not to feel it. Besides, in a way he sort of kind of still is winding you up about your man Chad (who is back playing earlier than expected in this round BTW), just as my late Ma is still ticking me off about my terrible pruning.

  7. peppermintpatcher July 10, 2009 at 5:41 am #

    My heart aches for the lost cavemen sketchbook. I hope he is not defeated by its loos and has the resilience to start again.

    Isn’t there something about a journey starting with one step? Sounds like that step is taken. The saying doesn’t mention the end of the journey because that is the bit that you get to make up. Exciting… isn’t it….?

  8. Sari July 10, 2009 at 6:00 pm #

    Is this the facade of the universidad that not only has a frog but also an astronaut on it? I found the frog there about 17 years ago. But luck is such a relative concept, isn’t it?

    Good luck with the rest of your travels and all!

  9. Helen July 11, 2009 at 4:19 am #

    Wonderful to read you again. On the “are you some kind of feminist, or something”, I noticed your comment about the inner voice saying “but who will look after the children” which was temporarily switched off. That’s the voice of society at large. And then they say “Oh, feminism is over, but the women chose not to do stuff.” It’s great that you are one person who is overcoming this non-choice.

  10. suse July 11, 2009 at 10:41 am #

    From memory, that frog is up really really high, perched on someone’s head? I’m sure there’s a metaphor in there somewhere.

    I’ve been thinking of you. Good luck in Edinburgh!

  11. Kath Lockett July 11, 2009 at 2:33 pm #

    My reports were the same as yours and Franzy’s with a bit of ‘she entertains her classmates with imitations of her other teachers’ thrown in for good measure….

    ….maybe your journals, journey etc could form the basis of your second novel?

  12. Mummy Crit July 11, 2009 at 3:48 pm #

    I’m really looking forward to seeing more of ‘the road to Edinburgh’ too…and lovely to see you back on the blog.

  13. MissPrism July 11, 2009 at 4:53 pm #

    Here via Hoyden – I’ll definitely come to your show!
    (By coincidence, my brother has another show on in the same street, but a different venue.)

  14. DeusExMacintosh July 11, 2009 at 7:14 pm #

    Bad news. The temperature here in Edinburgh in the last week reached 30. Look forward to seeing you at the fringe.

  15. Ariel July 12, 2009 at 11:04 am #

    I have missed your blogging … glad to hear you’ll be doing more.

    I so admire your chutzpah, in so many ways. What a fab account of how you decided to do the show … a ‘why not, give it a go’ moment that’s actually happening. I find it inspiring.

    And POOR eldest boy. My heart aches in sympathy for him. That’s just terrible; my boy would be so devastated at something like that. (As would I, at 33.) It’s the worst to lose your creative work and know you’ll never do it exactly the same again. Hope it doesn’t get him down too badly and that he keeps on creating.

    Okay, back to hard slog now …

  16. The Coffee Lady July 13, 2009 at 12:58 am #

    It’s years since I went to the Fringe. What a fantastic place to be going.

  17. Francis Xavier Holden July 13, 2009 at 4:43 pm #

    ooh ahh – I’m going to Edinburgh/Aberdeen on August 3 then Ireland on the 10th and Amsterdam from 14 to 21.

    When you on in Edinburgh?

  18. Francis Xavier Holden July 13, 2009 at 4:51 pm #

    I found it – I’ll be up in Aberdeen – so I won’t make it.

    Still I’ll pretend I would have been there with a huge bunch of sensitive but boisterous, intelligent but bawdy, friends who are huge fans of female librarian wordplay humour performed solo standup in Edinburgh but firmly rooted in adelaide.

  19. mikhela July 16, 2009 at 4:07 pm #

    God you’re impressive.


  1. Femmostroppo Reader - July 11, 2009 — Hoyden About Town - July 11, 2009

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