The first shipment of packing goes up with a big-hearted fellow improviser who has an equally big car. We follow on a morning train, and astoundingly smoothly pull in to a comfortingly drizzly Edinburgh. Taxi to the digs and, with half an hour to dump bags and say "Hello" to friends, dash off for the first appearance in Scotland of The School of Night.
The Fringe is always intense, but even more so with children to look after, as well as doing two shows a day, which is a first for me (and this is officially time off from another show in London). If you think you're going to get quality family time under these conditions, forget it.
Many familiar touchstones are gone after missing a year for Albert's birth, Susie's Wholefood Restaurant especially missed, but there are enough familiar ones to find new rhythms - good coffee (Black Medicine), the big playground on the Meadows, Mamma's Pizza for a big Edinburgh birthday party. We've managed already to give Albert his first theatrical experience, a very sweet and well-executed wordless puppet play, and to see his face watching, absorbing and wondering as the action unfolds, has to be one of my highlights of this festival.
Above all, while all the familiar sights are here - random people in costumes on the streets at ten in the morning, hard or soft sell targeted flyering everywhere, random extraordinary buskers - it is refreshing to discover the Fringe is not, as I feared, a young man's game. Yes I've drunk less than in earlier years - I've slept less - I've watched fewer shows - but I think I've learnt to pace myself a bit better too. As I was saying to another member of The School of Night, the Fringe is a big river; you have to let its currents take you where they will.
The School of Night
Gilded Balloon Dining Room
17:15 (70 mins)
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