As regular readers of this blog know, this year I went to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival for a couple of weeks. I know that Edinburgh is a Tea Towel Lover’s paradise; they have everything from the Loch Ness Monster to Robert Burns, from Highland Cows to Scottie Dogs, from the Monarch of the Glen to the Haggis. Some are ‘tacky’ (I love a tacky tea towel), some are very artistic (quite like an artistic tea towel), some are sophisticated (I do like a sophisticated tea towel), some teach you things like Scottish words or a piece of history (and I do love to learn something from a tea towel). Before I left home, I had a serious word with myself about only buying a tea towel if it was something very special and something I hadn’t got already. I did see some tea towels that I thought even I wouldn’t want in my collection. I came across one, of many, shops selling a large number of tea towels; I wandered through, casually, and saw these two. “I haven’t got a tea towel of a Westie”, I thought and I am, after all, a bit short of dogs in The Animal World Collection. Then I saw the Tartan Stags; I love anything with tartan. A little bit of tartan reminds me how much I love Scotland. It was a bit of an extravagance buying two tea towels in one shop, at the same time but, after all, I was on holiday. They were a bargain, a lower price than most tea towels I had seen. The fact is, I really do love them. So I paid for them, put them in my rucksack, thus avoiding having to pay for a plastic bag, and went off to see the next show.
The next show was ‘Be Prepared’ by Lesley Stone. This was a very funny, and clever, show about Lesley’s love of the Girl Guides, Guiding and Collecting Badges. Purportedly having been a Girl Guide in her youth, Lesley’s ambition was to set up Girl Guides Reunited, for people too old to be a Guide and who wanted to rekindle their youth. Girl Guides Reunited would have a whole new set of badges to collect (like the Hip Replacement Badge) and as a group could determine whatever badges they wanted. There were some great tales and innuendos from the past. Audience participation was encouraged with the opportunity to sing “Ging gang gooley gooley…….” one more time.
I couldn’t help thinking of my friend Jean who had been a Girl Guide, a Ranger, a Guide Leader and a member of the Trefoil Guild. She would have loved the show. The audience participation meant we all had to work hard to gain our Community Singing Badge; as we left the auditorium, at the end of the show, Lesley was standing at the door to hand out the Community Singing bade which she stuck on our jumpers (I still have mine, not on my jumper but on the front of my Tea Towel Blogging Book, as a reminder of what a great time I had). I tweeted Lesley to say how much I enjoyed the show and could I suggest one badge for Girl Guides Reunited could be for Tea Towel Collecting (and would want to nominate myself as the first recipient). I didn’t expect to get a reply.
After the next show, Liz and I went for a meal, still wearing our Community Singing Badges. As we were pondering on the menu, the woman at the next table said, enthusiastically, to us “You’ve been to see my show. What did you think?” I hadn’t initially recognised Lesley out of her Guiding Uniform. I explained that I had sent her a message, via Twitter, saying how much I enjoyed her show and my suggestion of a Girl Guides Reunited Badge for Collecting Tea Towels. She looked slightly bemused but this could only lead to a conversation (or maybe a lecture) about the Tea Towel Blog and the Virtual Tea Towel Museum. “What is your favourite tea towel?” she asked. My response always, and genuinely, is “I don’t have an overall favourite, my favourite is always the last one I bought”. “What’s that?” she asked. This is where, with a flourish, I produced my two ‘Iconic Scottish Images’ from my rucksack. She laughed. Photos were taken and she pondered how she might include a tea towel in her sketch. It was only when I was describing my unique cataloging and storage system, out loud, that I realised, once again, just how weird and slightly bizarre this is (but then I’m not creating a Girl Guides Reunited with a Hip Replacement Badge to collect; we all have our quirks!).
At this point, I invited Lesley to be a Guest Tea Towel in the Virtual Tea Towel Museum and she accepted, once she got back home and had recovered from the Edinburgh Fringe. I look forward to receiving her article in due course but in the meantime these two tea towels will remind me of a great show, a lovely, unexpected and funny meeting over a fish pie and the receipt of another Guest Tea Towel in the Virtual Tea Towel Museum. Below is my Community Singing badge, can’t wait for the Tea Towel Collecting one!