I know now that whenever I go on a trip I usually incur a series of mini disasters along the way. Today was no different. I had arranged for my local MP in Norfolk, Keith Simpson, to provide a taxi service and pick me up at 8am to take me to Norwich International Airport - the International bit must not be forgotten. Honestly, the things Keith will do for his constituents know no bounds. Anyway, he duly turned up before I had even got dressed. Remarkably, I remembered to lock the door after me and didn't manage to leave anything behind.
Yesterday evening, I had written a blogpost announcing my new book and I timed it to go live at 7am. On the way to the airport I flicked through Twitter and was pleasantly surprised by the largely positive reaction. It won't last.
I always like to get to an airport early, remembering the time in Miami where I missed a plane and then lost my boarding pass. Twice. I checked in with no problems, which makes a nice change, then fell victim to the Norwich International Airport departure tax of £10. They ask if you'd like to pay £3 extra to be fasttracked through security, so like a lemming I fell for it, to then discover all it meant was walking round to the left rather than round to the right, where there was no queue anyway. Mugged off.
I'm not a massive fan of cooked breakfasts and really should have listened to my inner doubts. This massive plate of pure grease appeared, half of which I left. I got up to get on to the plane when I couldn't find my glasses. Shit. First disaster. They were nowhere to be seen. I retraced my steps back to security, back to WH Smith. Nope. Nowhere. I went back to the greasy spoon and asked tentatively if anyone had handed in some glasses. They had. Phew. First disaster averted.
The Loganair flight only took 55 minutes. It was a small jet but there were only about 20 people on board so I can't imagine that flight runs at much of a profit. Black cab drivers should look away now... My promoters, Seabright Productions, had booked an Uber to take me into Edinburgh. It took me a little while to find the driver, who is not allowed to pick up passengers in the, er, pickup zone. He seemed very excited to see me, which was a little odd. Turned out he's a regular listener. As we drove into Edinburgh it started to spit with rain. Start as you mean to go on, I thought...
We arrived at the block of flats I am staying in at around 12.30 to met by Debbie from Seabright Productions, who's handling all the logistics of the show. She had booked an early check-in but that seemed news to the people who initially told us we couldn't get access util 3pm. I noticed a sign on the wall saying this was a Unite Students building. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, I am spending two weeks in student accomodation, owned by Len McCluskey. Or so I thought, until later in the day Guido Fawkes informed me on Twitter it has nothing to do with Unite the Union. Bang goes my introductory joke with Len on Thursday...
Anyway, I remained unchacteristically silent and Debbie did the business and got us in. Now how can I put this? It's, er, fairly basic student accomodation. Not even a TV. Not quite what I was expecting from the pictures I was sent a couple of months ago. Hey ho.
I dumped my suitcase and Debbie and I went to check out the two Gilded Balloon venues in which I'm performing. The first show is at 4pm every day in the main Gilded Balloon Teviot building in Bristo Square, while the second is at 6pm in the Gilded Balloon at the museum which is only a couple of hundred yards away from the Teviot. Both venues have unique atmospheres and just being there got me quite excited. We kick off three days of Previews tomorrow at 4pm with Sayeeda Warsi and 6pm with Brandon Lewis and Eric Pickles.
I was going to do a bit of flyering today but there didn’t seem to be many people around so Debbie advised to leave it until tomorrow.
Debbie went off to deal with other performers, leaving me at the Teviot to charge my phone. I phoned my partner, John, to tell him about my day so far. I told him I woul go flyering in my red suit tomorrow. He replied by saying that would be a bit difficult considering it was hanging up in my bedroom in Tunbridge Wells... Disaster number two appeared. Bugger. He's now couriered it up to arrive before 1pm tomorrow...
I went back to the flat around 5pm thinking I'd go out again, but I then started writing this and have got to work out how I'm going to play things for the two shows tomorrow.
My problem is that because I know a lot of people are coming to more than one show, I can't do the same opener each time, so my idea of doing a bit of a stand up routine has had to be abandoned. It's so much easier doing a comedy act, you can do the same thing each night!
So, big day tomorrow.
PS I'm going to try to do one of these diaries each day that I'm here. Let's see if I keep it up.