My Edinburgh Festival Fringe Date

We had a great time last night.

All dressed up, my daughter appeared through the front door in time to advise me to keep my jacket unbuttoned. (Not this jacket, a pink one).

Scottish writer Fran Macilvey, pictured in her home city of Edinburgh. Rights: Non-exclusive licence. This photograph may be used for publicity in editorial or advertising in connection with publications by the author in all territories, without limit of time. No third-party sales, syndication or archiving permitted.
Scottish writer Fran Macilvey,  pictured in her home city of Edinburgh.

‘You are aiming for smart casual, right?’ I was grateful for her advice, and for confirmation that I passed muster, as I flew up and down the stairs, waiting for the cab. (Getting into town in my own car, in the evening in the midst of Edinburgh Festival Fringe Frenzy, is not to be contemplated.) Aware they are much in demand, taxis whizz in and out of the city centre like maniacs, like bears hoping to catch the autumn salmon migration from the river, before the quietness of September and the pre-Christmas austerity of October.

However, I digress.

The staff at the Venue helpfully said I was early, and then – joy of joys – my sister came, to keep me company, she said, and to help, and to be there. Given that she would be home late, I was especially touched by her generosity. Martha has always been so kind, and often in ways that I feel I don’t deserve. So, anyway, she and another Quaker friend visiting from Canada, went up to our event space and sat quietly for fifteen minutes. The room was set out with two long rows of chairs facing the windows. Aware of my mother’s urging to caution, I was quite prepared to speak to a select group of two, when the organiser came and mumbled something about letting the crowd in now, maybe?

Oh, are there others? Yes, and they had been waiting patiently to be admitted at seven. Every seat set out for the purpose was taken, that I could see. Blinking in delighted astonishment, I bade them welcome and thought, ‘OK girl, do your thing…’ so I read a few excerpts, and then we had a most – most – interesting and wide ranging discussion.

One of the most useful questions, was, ‘So, what should I do, if someone falls over and I want to help them?’ I answered something like, ‘If you would like to help, do so from your heart…and if you are rebuffed, (which you might be, remembering how embarrassed and sore I used to feel when I fell) don’t take it personally.’

This morning, I realise, it is easier than that. If someone falls over, don’t ask, ‘Are you all right?’ (Which I have done too….it trips off the tongue with almost no thought.) Instead, ask, ‘Is there anything I can do to help?’ Then see what happens.

Thank you so much to Venue 40, the Quaker Meeting House, for making our evening such a success. Without the support, faith and friendship of our Quaker community, I would still be sitting in the armchair under the window, wondering what to do with my life.

Bless you all, and thanks for reading.

'Thank You' by Moeez, July 2014
‘Thank You’ by Moeez, July 2014

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