​Don’t worry, it will soon be Christmas!  Where has the time gone?  What have I been doing?  Quite frankly, it’s been a complete melee; suffice to say, King Lear is my bedtime reading at the moment.  Telling.
2017 has been a strange year; can’t say a good one, so far, but certainly emotionally testing.  Of late, I have been very aware of Wimbledon postings on my facebook feed and the few sunny days we spent there, in July, seem a lifetime ago.  As I’ve mentioned before, for me, the end of Wimbledon has always been synonymous with the demise of summer and, boy, this year has only validated my opinion.  One questions, again, why we choose to live in this climate?  The world is vast but, here we are, glued to this little island now devoid of seasons and subjected to year round unpredictability manifested in sometime extreme temperatures, weird humidity, hurricane-like winds and monsoon rain!  What happened to winter snow, April showers, sunny summers and beautiful, crisp autumn days?  Are they all consigned to my photo albums of yesteryear or should I, maybe, go and live in Canada with Meghan Markle?  Believe she might be moving, though!
I think this post may justify the ‘trash’ in ‘Trish-Trash’ by the time I’ve finished – already done, I hear you say.  It’s just that I have a wealth of little notes everywhere denoting reminders of things to mention, each completely unrelated to the next.  My task is to try and string them all together into some semblance of structure.  Have faith.
Decrying our pitiful summer leads me to mention the metaphorical cloud which seems to have characterized recent months.  It would have been impossible to escape the huge media coverage surrounding the twentieth anniversary of Princess Diana’s death.  Immersed in footage and recollection, it was, at once, sad and draining and one can only feel for William and Harry.  In re-visiting her short life, however, one was reminded of how truly unique she was.  Denied the elusive happiness she craved, instead she changed the monarchy for good – many would say, saved it – her legacy being her two sons, devoted to continuing her path and making their mother proud.  There can be no greater tribute.
As if that weren’t enough, a dread of mine for years, we lost Brucie!  Sir Bruce Forsyth died on Friday, 18th August and the world became, instantly, more grey.  I was driving home when my phone rang and – on speaker – Manny told me he had some bad news; news that would make me very sad … and, of course, he was right.  Both he and Becca have heard me say many times in recent years, when told yet another well-known figure has died, ‘as long as it’s not Bruce Forsyth!’  This time it was.
What can I say?  It’s like a human pyramid, a balancing act, and one by one those on the ground are being picked off until the whole thing collapses; one’s foundation, as it were.  It is a stark reminder of one’s own mortality when those key players from one’s childhood depart this earth and, in the last two years, we have lost so many: Terry Wogan, Ronnie Corbett, David Bowie, Cilla Black, Glen Frey, Glen Campbell and let us not forget Charmian Carr – exactly!  Everybody knew who she was yet she seemed to slip away unnoticed.  Not Sir Bruce Forsyth.  Saturday evenings, fire on, all cosy whilst glued to The Generation Game …  How we laughed.  How I loved his sarcasm and how I wish I had met him!  I remember applying to go on ‘Play Your Cards Right’ in the 80s, not because we loved the show but because we thought it would be so much fun to be subjected to his teasing; always gentle, never cruel delivered with immense charisma and incredible timing, he made everything look effortless and everyone feel special.  A formidable talent and all-round entertainer, he was the last of the greats, in my book, and I am so thankful for the memories and the magic.  He was my favourite …  Now, that ‘pyramid’ has been left considerably weaker and I pray to God that Geoffrey Palmer is immortal!  Please tell me you know who Geoffrey Palmer is?
So, the Festival came and went engulfed in the blanket of cloud and rain which has characterized this ‘summer’.  Never a great fan, I do appreciate its enormity on the world stage whilst being constantly amazed by the unique ‘attributes’ of those whom it attracts.  That said, this year felt different.  I’m not entirely sure whether the lack of sun was responsible but there was no atmosphere and it felt as though Edinburgh had made no effort to enhance its being.  George Street was colourless and looked nothing short of a mess.  Such a pity because it is a beautiful city and worthy of more intelligence and foresight when it comes to its ‘performance’.  I always hark back to 2013 when most of George Street was closed off to accommodate the Spiegel Terrace.  There was sunshine, bunting, crowds and atmosphere; by golly, one might even have called it a ‘festival’!
The excuse is often given that the focus of said festival can be found in the old town and, certainly, most of the crowds are in the Royal Mile or in the environs of George Square and the university.  I did have cause to venture thus far, on more than one occasion, but the increased numbers failed to inject the colour and atmosphere sorely missing.  In fact, once more, I was reminded of the rapid cloning at large as the majority did their best to blend in and deny all semblance of individuality by dressing, predominantly, in grey and black with the apparent effort of one who has just stumbled out of bed!  Whatever happened to pride in one’s appearance?  I have no desire to be lost in a flock of sheep …
The Book Festival, as in the past couple of years, was uninspiring but, flicking through the Fringe programme, I circled a handful of ‘shows’ in ‘Theatre’ and ‘Music’ from which I chose two.  I have not lost my touch.  The Carole King Story was an hour and ten minutes of nostalgia courtesy of old black and white footage and the wonderful talent that is Phoebe Katis; and who could fail to wallow in that catalogue of songs which transcend time?  That afternoon, in that little pocket of Edinburgh, the colour returned.
The Fringe is saturated now and there is much one wouldn’t pay 50p to see let alone the average £12 of today.  However, there are gems to be discovered and and somehow, to date, I have always been lucky.  Literature is my first love but, aside from the classics, non-fiction is my genre of choice.  There is an integrity inherent in the writing of actual events, true stories; a rawness ungilded by imagination.  No surprise, then, that my eye was drawn to ‘Not About Heroes’, a play about the meeting and, sadly, short-lived friendship of celebrated WWI poets, Siegfried Sassoon and Wilfred Owen.  Meeting at Craiglockhart Hospital in Edinburgh in 1917, their mutual hatred of war and love of poetry ensured an immediate bond and, with props of only a hospital bed, a desk and some books, the two actors were spell-binding, transporting the audience back one hundred years with performances so heart-felt that the spectrum of emotion was tangible: fear, frustration, pride, desperation, resignation, acceptance and love.  Two talented young actors playing two gifted young poets entrapped in a war of horrific magnitude borne out of man’s disgrace.  It was thought-provoking and humbling and, upstairs in Potterrow, one could hear a pin drop.  Daniel Llewellyn-Williams and Lestyn Arwel, I salute you.  Part of the Flying Bridge Theatre Company based in Newport, Wales, this production won a Best Actor accolade at the Wales Theatre Awards and is embarking on a world tour.  I couldn’t recommend it more highly.
I have never studied the poetry of Sassoon or Owen but, in consulting my Oxford Dictionary of Quotations, I am spoilt for choice.  That being so, I leave you with several …
‘‘Strange friend,’ I said, ‘here is no cause to
‘None,’ said that other, ‘save the undone years,
The hopelessness.  Whatever hope is yours.
Was my life also.’                                                                    
Wilfred Owen, ‘Strange Meeting’  (1918)
‘Does it matter? – losing your sight? …
There’s such splendid work for the blind;
And people will always be kind,
As you sit on the terrace remembering
And turning your face to the light.’
Siegfried Sassoon, ‘Does it Matter?’  (1918)
‘Soldiers are citizens of death’s grey land,
Drawing no dividend from time’s tomorrows.’
Siegfried Sassoon, ‘Dreamers’  (1918)
This is Trish, signing off … don’t know about you but I am totally drained!