One cannot do a month in Edinburgh without writing about the city itself and our experience of it.
Redford barracks is on a bus route that takes you in 20 minutes into the centre of this
fair city, Princes Street.
The city is basically in two parts the Edwardian "new town" and the old city, which runs
the length of the Royal Mile and between the castle on the one end and Holyrood Palace on the other.
The bands (some of us) first trip into Edinburgh that wasn't for a tattoo was to a pub called
Ryrie`s in Edinburgh new town. Now we had heard a lot about this Pub from Porridge (Patrick Dean
- had lived there during his last Tattoo) and we weren't disappointed as it was a place where
quite frankly many a day could be wasted. The city has some of the UK`s most famous pubs and
of course being true believers in the concept of seeing what a city had to offer, we visited
them all. The Scotsman's Lounge, The Worlds end, Deacon Brodies Tavern, The Albanach, and
of course ….Finnegan's Wake to name a few.
August in Edinburgh is also when the Edinburgh Festival is in town, which turns the city into
the world's largest arts carnival and street fest. The Royal Mile is literally awash with
performers either performing or handing out flyers advertising their performances in one of
the many theatres hosting these events. The performers on the Royal Mile gave Edinburgh a
medieval feel as sword swallowers and stilted actors plied their trade in amongst buildings
that had seen their acts before, a thousand times. The band absolutely loved Edinburgh and
although expensive, the wealth of things to do and see made the hard work that performing
in a tattoo is, very enjoyable.
Shopping is something of course that we all do and Edinburgh is certainly one of the places
that won't disappoint in terms of what's on offer. I'm not sure they were ready for some of
our contingent however. August 2005 was the month in Edinburgh that saw T- shirts questioning
whether extinction was upon them. The reason for this was because Dave (Harris) and Louise (Miles)
had hit town and no t-shirt was safe. Armed with their cash they stalked out a good t-shirt
purchase, found it, purchased it and stuffed it kicking and screaming into suitcases until
recently occupied by uniform. The uniform by that time was already winging its way to Joburg in a cardboard box.
Shoes also sought cover as Julie Reid sought out the Holy Grail of casual loafers. It as author
of this document that I have the opportunity to attest to the state of my feet, and to a degree
my composure after a day going from one shoe shop to another - and she didn't find anything!!
Is it a male thing just to buy SOMETHING/ANYTHING make the day less than well……unsuccessful?
Capt Gibbs took shopping to extremes when he walked into Edinburgh to feed his model train addiction…..
Rory "SQQQEEEUUUUAAAKKKK" Bellingan and Tony "Scottish Leader" Reis spent most of their days
not in Edinburgh but in that much under-rated city Glasgow where the International Piping Festival
was taking place. A few looks at their shopping drove all of us to covet "Porridge Men" CDs.
Daniel Limpitlaw and myself also found ourselves in "Glasgee" as we tried to find Lauries the
bagpipe maker because Daniel wanted a new chanter. We found one but only after having transiting
between the cities tower blocks where being English is probably not good.
Porridge in his quest for fame, stardom and a spot on "MTV New" as a DJ in a pair of spandex
dungarees sought out the principle DJs of Edinburgh club scene and proceeded to have his latest
"Bagpipe House" track played…..in a gay club. (Well, it was the Liquid Room, which was having
an "alternative" evening - Ed) Och right up ya kilt wee man! Why is this club full of
poles……or was that another club? The what triangle…….goes how…..oh……jingle jangle?
It was highly
amusing to note that Buckle and Readinkovski spent the evening propping the corners up with their
shoulders, butts and ankles.
Sergeant "Unsanitary" Matthew Buckle spent his time on Princess Street buying daft hats and touristy
boxer shorts. He did get to tour St Giles (WITH HIS MUM AND DAD) where he almost converted yours
truly to Presbyterianism by shouting "LEWIS" at the altar whilst I was admiring the tapestries.
I could only answer …….."yes God"…….
Greg Reading`s interest was not the fair city of Edinburgh; in fact his interest was probably
closer to Vladivostok. The ladies of the Cossack dance troop who were extremely beautiful
were drawing him into their web so that they could entrap him……and make him sell us old Soviet
T-shirts and Red Army cast off hats and badges. Dave and Louise of course bought the
lot…..DA COMRADE WEEZY U EES LOOKING MOST COMMUNIST TODAY…….DA COMRADE DAVE DEED U BREENG DA YAK?
Craig Herwill our esteemed leader spent all his time (bless him) tracking down a Claddagh ring
for his beloved Laura. Top man Craigus! This is of course when he wasn't in the recovery position.
Our Bass drummer Julian "Inspector Gadget" Pienaar lived up to his nickname and provided us
upon request all manner of gadgetry to aid our assistance. "Julian do you have a spade?"
"I've got a hydraulic digger if you like, its here in my sewing kit.".
Colonel Eddie shopped for aspects of his long lost (but not forgotten) Celtic heritage
and im sure he absorbed every possible inch of military history that Edinburgh could offer.
They are now filed and are able to be re-called at a moments notice. This particular trait
endeared him to the Irish Guards, who were threatening to kidnap him and take him down
to Wellington barracks, so they could show the Brits what a real "Rupert" (officer) should be like.
"Daniel Lite" (John Pattinson) Im not sure purchased anything, he was too busy carrying the girls bags!
Now what can we say about Meg "Powderkeg" Hendry and shopping? NOTHING WAS SAFE?.........
It was certainly an eye opener for many of us because you suddenly discover your band
mates (well some of them) have hobbies and interests outside of pipes and boozing. We
haven`t "outed" any stamp collectors or trainspotters yet ….but we will.