Anything can happen in Edinburgh.

Posted by  on August 19, 2022
The Greatest City in the World

As I sit writing this, I'm on a train leaving Edinburgh - my favourite place in the world. I've been here for just over 24 hours for a flying visit, but it's been just enough for me to take in the energy of this beautiful City at this time of year. Not only that, but I can assure you I made the most of every second I had here...

Edinburgh is a beautiful place, filled with awesome people - but the Fringe really takes it to another level.

You feel like anything can happen there.

...and I mean that in literally any sense you'd like to interpret it. The Fringe is full to the brim of every kind of Art. Midnight variety shows, Musicals about Brexit, comedians trying out their freshest material. The air is full of life, as the best musicians gather to play in the streets with each other. People in costume stand on each others shoulders to shout about their poetry jam happening that day.

You could turn a corner and literally find anything going on. It's incredible.

But not only that, the Fringe has a culture of endless possibility. If you're happy to turn up and be guided by it, it will always lead you to something amazing. I try my best not to plan anything before I go up and let the Festival take me to where I want to go.

I did however, have a list of things I wanted to do - and I ticked off every single one...

1. Take in the Royal Mile

It's customary for me to do this as soon as I get to Edinburgh. If you look back through my social media, you'll see I pretty much post the same picture every single time. It fills my soul with joy to see the Mile in all its glory, filled with artists performing and promoting their shows to passers by.

The Royal Mile

Every year I've been here has revolved around the Mile - whether it was helping to promote the first show I ever went up with 'The Dolls of New Albion' or sneakily performing with Out of the Blue as they busked on the mile. As I wandered up and down, memories of early morning coffees, standing in the rain and laughter came flooding back.

2. Catch up with Dan Morris/Seeing Boris III

Okay, so I did book one show before I came up - Boris III. But with good reason - my good friend Dan Morris (of 'Yule Love This Christmas' fame) is performing in it! I grabbed a coffee with him beforehand and we had a lovely catch up - then I was lucky enough to see the hilarious show.

Go and see Boris III!

The premise was based around Boris' time at Eton when he played Richard III but didn't learn his lines - and the hilarity that presumably ensued. The cast were superb and it was full to the brim with political satire - if you're going up before the end of the festival, I strongly urge you to go and see Dan in it.

3. Breakfast at Brew Lab

I had to grab a coffee and a croissant at my favourite cafe in Edinburgh - Union Brew Lab. This establishment was just around the corner from a flat where I stayed for two consecutive Fringe runs, so it was often a pit stop for fuel before heading to the Mile to promote.

The definitive almond croissant and flat white combination

Now I do not say this lightly - this combination of freshly baked almond croissant and a strong flat white is the perfect way to start a day. If I could have it every single day, I would. I will shortly be starting a petition to open a branch in Doncaster.

It also gave me the energy I needed to complete the next part of my adventure...

4. The Crags

Arthur's Seat and the Crags have a special place in my heart for so many reasons. To name a few; Filming the music video for 'Moon River' with Out of the Blue, taking my acoustic guitar up with friends to jam at the top, and of course the really emotional bit at the end of One Day.

A selfie at the Crags

Previously, I've walked to the top to see the sunrise - I've even ran to the summit (never again) and sometimes I've just gone to the Crags to take in the awesome panoramic view of my favourite place in the world. This time, I did just that and got some gratuitous selfies as I did - of course featuring the new Tea Break Club baseball cap.

5. Veggie Haggis

Since becoming pescatarian, I always thought I would miss out on the best part of Scottish cuisine - haggis. That was until I discovered that loads of places make incredible veggie haggis! I spotted a place near Potterow that was providing it with neeps, tatties and a delicious whisky sauce.

Veggie Haggis, Neeps and Tatties.

I, of course, added the can of Irn Bru - which was one of my Grandad's favourite soft drinks, too. You can't really have one without the other in my opinion.

Lennon and McCartney, Fry and Laurie, Haggis and Irn Bru. You heard it here first.

6. City Milkshake

This is yet another staple of any Edinburgh trip for me. After shows, the lads and I would often venture here to get one of their exquisite milkshakes to fuel a wander around the City to take in the atmosphere of the festival.

A glorious milkshake from City Restaurant

This particular one is a Biscoff flavour milkshake - which wasn't on the menu last time, so I naturally had to try it. Every bit as wonderful as you'd expect. 10/10 would recommend for anyone looking for a tasty beverage to wander around with.

In my case I headed to a few different places, including Calton Hill and the Meadows. All made better by the City milkshake of dreams.

A snap from Calton Hill

7. This glass of 16 year...

The final item on my list was potentially the most important - a glass of Lagavulin 16 Year in the Albanach. This combination of the best whisky in the Universe and the best place to drink it has been a wellspring of happiness, inspiration and nostalgia for many years.

This Glass of 16 Year...

I first tried this whisky in this very bar back in 2014 with my friend Sam. I'm not going to lie, I didn't instantly fall in love - but after a while I came to love it and it became a staple in my life. If I treat myself with whisky, it's always with Lagavulin - whether or not I'm at the Albanach.

It was sitting here and reflecting with this whisky that led to the opening lines of my song 'These Streets'.

'This glass of 16 year, told me that I'd find you here - but you're nowhere to be found'

These Streets

Being sat there with the glass made this lyric even more poignant this time around. As I gazed towards the door, I was expecting to see a familiar face - any of those who have joined me over the years in this remarkable place.

My Grandad used to say that when you walk in a place you love, you walk with ghosts. This is so true of Edinburgh. I know I was mostly exploring on my own, but the memories of everyone I've been there with were with my every step of the journey, laughing and sharing in the joy of being lucky enough to be there again.

It's amazing how lyrics written 4 years ago are still relevant (if not more relevant) to me and my life right now. I suspect I will feel this nostalgia every time I return to the Greatest City in the World.

Me, enjoying my Tea Break in the 'This City' t-shirt!

So with my list complete, it was time to head home - but not before I got a picture of myself in a t-shirt with a piece of artwork inspired by this place. If you love Edinburgh as much as I do and you'd like your own, you can get one here.

Thank you, Edinburgh. My batteries are fully recharged and ready to make the next thing that inspires me.

You've reminded me that in the right place and time, anything can happen.

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