Monday, 24 August 2009

Sunday 16/8 Goodbyes

Another marvellous Edinburgh experience drew towards
its close, and we resolved to relax a little on our
final day, seeing shows by friends and saying fond
farewells to those who would be here for another
fortnight, at least. I spent the morning delivering
the last of our Certificates of Elevation for this
year - 12 down, 357 to go! Then it was a whistle
stop in our favourite Turkish establishment before
rushing to ketch a comedic entertainment in Guthrie
Street. A rather busy afternoon tea was shared with
Greyfriars Bobby, followed by a trawl through the
enticing emporia of Victoria Street, before Mr.
Hopkins and I made our way across to the New Town
for a little home-town stand-up at The Phoenix.
Finally, an evening of goodbyes began at Zoo
Southside, where Mr. Tubbs' appointment to the
ranks of honorary Butler was celebrated, before
proceeding to the familiar surroundings of the
Pleasance Courtyard to share a libation with the
likes of the delightful Ms. Gulati. Then, warmed by
a last silken malt, we raised anchor and sailed
away into a glorious sunset for another year.
Fletcher the Butler

Tuesday, 18 August 2009

15/8 Certificates of Elevation

Further Certificates of Elevation have been
awarded to the following venues:-

257 ft 10 in (78.58 m)

280 ft 10 in (85.61 m)

VENUE 34 - C
249 ft (75.89 m)

248 ft 3 in (75.67 m)

247 ft 8 in (75.48 m)

266 ft 10 in (81.33 m)

Glad to be of service.

Fletcher the Butler

15/8 The longest day

Saturday saw my earliest start of the Festival,
commissioned to awaken a most surprised gentleman
with orange juice, toast and a Fringe programme at
an ungodly hour. Then it was directly from this
apartment to another nearby, where I tidied, swept
and washed for a delightful theatre company, before
rushing to meet a scientist who wished to interview
Mr. Newsam and myself about surveying and Science
Butlers. The Hub proved most unhelpful in this regard,
but the staff at the Quaker Meeting House could not
have been more accommodating, for which I thank them
profusely. By this time, the steady morning drizzle
had eased and, having completed a delivery on behalf
of the Fringe Society, we made full use of the sunshine
to measure a further five venues with an alacrity that
stemmed from our developed confidence in using this
previously alien apparatus. I then took the opportunity
to see a couple of shows. The first was a moving
biographical piece at Augustine's which left me
emotional to the extent that I felt compelled to buy a
gentleman's cider and cigarettes for him on the street
outside the venue. Later, after serving cocoa for one
last time, I met up with Mr. Hopkins, who had barged
his way through the tattoo crowds with his date, and
we went to see a late-night offering which we agreed
was perhaps the worst show that we had ever seen. Mr.
Hopkins was most angry as we returned to our palatial
accommodation, threatening in his wrath to pen a
stiff missive of disgust - a sobering end to a long
and varied day. Fletcher the Butler

14/8 The rain, it raineth every day

This was to have been a day of measuring, but rain
cut a swathe across the city, and I had to content
myself with a good deal of messaging instead. The
delivery of messages is, of course, ever a pleasure,
particularly when addressed to somewhat famous people.
However, it was a special thrill today to be asked to
deliver a proposal of marriage which, I understand,
was accepted. After sheltering another young lady
from the rain on the Royal Mile, all the while plying
her with rather lovely Orkney cheese, Newsam and I,
together with our Artist in Residence Ms. Leibl,
decided to brave the inclemency and at least attempt
a little surveying. Thus, we made our way to Nicolson
Street, encumbered with tripod and level, and
accomplished our most complex calculation of elevation,
before retiring damply to a new favourite eatery for
lashings of chai. The evening was spent in excellent
company over dinner, the highlight of which proved to
be a most lively whisky-tasting, the winner of which
modesty forbids me from revealing. Fletcher the

Friday, 14 August 2009

13/8 Certificates of Elevation

Further Certificates of Elevation
have been awarded to the
following venues:-

280 ft 5 in (85.47 m)

276 ft 8 in (84.32 m)

Glad to be of service.

Fletcher the Butler

Thursday 13/8 One thing leads to another

A day which began with a delightful apple
tea and concluded with a delicious peaty
malt. In between, a veritable raft of
commissions were undertaken, from flyering
to messaging, from serving cakes to
swapping badges (although, of course, we
did not need any). A new map opened up
hitherto unreachable horizons, and a
chance encounter led to a butlerial
broadcast on national radio. A rather
wonderful Thornton Wilder play was seen,
and I became a temporary member of the
joyous Honorary Gentleman's Club. By the
end of it all, my feet ached like billy-o
but I retired most satisfied.
Fletcher the Butler

Wednesday 12/8 Theodolitic

Mr. Newsam's theodolite was put to use for the
first time today, as we ascended Calton Hill
to survey the cityscape, taking multiple readings
whilst being relentlessly photographed by
Japanese tourists. Dodging showers, a spell on
the Royal Mile ensued, immersed in the sonorous
skiffle of hang and horse-trading, followed by
an abortive visit to the beautiful city library.
Then, after a most pleasing renewal of
acquaintanceship with Extraordinary Girl, it was
out with the surveying apparatus once more,
taking advantage of a meteorological reversal,
before concluding the day with cocoa and a
much-needed early night. Fletcher the Butler

Wednesday, 12 August 2009

Tuesday 11/8 Man is the measure of all things

It's so nice when, after a few days, strangers begin to call, "Hello,
Butlers!" as they pass us in the city's streets, demonstrating our
ubiquity. Favourite moments from an eventful day were being mistaken
for a speed camera as we measured outside The Zoo, serving a most
serene and polite Canadian flyerer on the Royal Mile, and receiving my
first commission from an American. Amidst all of this, I also managed
to see two shows - a rather lovely lament from old friends and an
affecting Korean tale - before ending the day trapped in a somewhat
dinghy underground car park, comforted by the soothing sounds of the
great Teddy Wilson. Fletcher the Butler.

Tuesday, 11 August 2009

The first two days of Edgar's return

After a trouble-free journey from southern England, Edgar returned to
the Edinburgh Fringe with his colleague Heward who was preparing for
her first. Both were keen to get started with commissions for
residents, tourist and players. Accomodation at the delightfully
situated Morton Hall is wonderful and so with shirts pressed and shoes
shined Heward and Edgar felt optimistic about the week ahead. Both
were pleased to liase at The Hub with the other Butlers and to meet
Artist in Residence and documenter Marion. Plenty of networking
throughout the day, tea taken in Greyfriars Cemetary, first commission
secured and the day finished with a small libation with Hopkins at
Morton Hall.

Mother Nature gave us a cleansing shower overnight and suitably
refreshed the Butlers set about their measuring project starting with
Venue 1. Edgar proceeded to fly the Mile for a couple of hours
promoting responses ranging from "Genius" to "It's a sham". In
addition, one potential client thought it valuable for audiences to
know the height above sea level of venues to avoid any adverse
reaction to altitude which might impact upon their health or enjoyment
of the show. Edgar and Heward took an invisible tea on the Mile. One
commission completed, a further commission secured and two wonderful
shows viewed rounded off the day.

Edgar the Butler.

11/8 Certificates of Elevation

So far, Certificates of elevation
have been awarded to the following

278 ft 9 in (84.97 m)

267 ft 11 in (81.66 m)

238 ft 6 in (72.26 m)

252 ft 4 in (76.46 m)

Glad to be of service.

Fletcher the Butler

Monday 10/8 Elevations, tisanes and antipodeans

How excellent it was to commence an admittedly drizzly day with our first
stint of surveying, during which we were able to calculate the elevation of
Venues One and Two. Hopkins met an enthusiastic local businessman, and I
took a midnight commission, before repairing to a favourite Turkish
hostelry for an excellent meze platter and outstanding fresh apple tisane.
Then it was up to the Royal Mile, more replete with the barque and babble
of flyerers than I had ever seen it. The remains of the day and evening
were spent in occasional completion of commissions, punctuated by the odd
Islay malt and benchmark-searching down-time, during which I encountered a
most charming antipodean gentleman. But what a late-night finish, prompting
a much-needed butlerial lie-in, methinks! Fletcher the Butler

Monday, 10 August 2009

Sunday 9/8 Benchmarks, old friends and cocoa

Our first full day of butlering began with the customary breakfast
meeting over a latte at the Hub, before our duties took us separate
ways. I carried guitars and delivered messages, before embarking on an
arduous and futile journey through the crowded city streets with
theodolite and tripod, following which pakoras and masala chai were
most definately in order. Our hunt for benchmarks proved gratifyingly
successful, celebrated with a goodly dram of Laphraoig and a chat with
Peter Duncan in the Pleasance Courtyard, before curry and cocoa
rounded off the day. A late night sighting of Butoh was marred by the
battleship grey skies overhead, which opened to precipitate the first
steady and persistent rain that we have so far seen, but our spirits
refuse to be dampened. Fletcher the Butler

Sunday, 9 August 2009

Saturday 8/8 Into the Fray

Well, the Butlers have arrived in Edinburgh. Having checked into our
palatial accomodation, we relaxed in warm afternoon sunshine with
welshcakes and an excellent spicey chai. But the forthcoming excitement
of the vibrant city streets was soon tugging at us, and so we donned the
Butlerial garb and made our first acclimatising reconnaisance. Hopkins
was quick to remark that the atmosphere was "not as good as previous
years", but all it took was a little haggis on the Royal Mile for us to
hit our stride. I was thrilled to locate my first Ordnance Survey
benchmark, and both Hopkins and I undertook our first commissions. The
evening ending in the company of a rather alarming contortionist and
escapologist. All in all, an excellent start to our sojourn.

Thursday, 6 August 2009

The start of Edinburgh 2009

As Butlers begin to converge on Edinburgh for a record fourth consecutive year, I can only say how ferry excited I am to be returning, and expectant of a marvellous and most stimulating sojourn. We shall, of course, be offering our traditional services to friends old and new during the course of our visit, as well as individual specialisms. I shall be hand-delivering messages on a silver platter. Hopkins shall be undertaking journeys, both psychogeographic and otherwise. Newsam shall be documenting and recording, as ever. Edgar, who we are pleased to welcome back after three years, shall be acting as chaperon,  as will Heward, the first female Butler to journey North of the Border. All of this, and we shall also be endeavouring to measure the height above sea level of Fringe venues, using a plethora of traditional surveying instruments. Busy we shall be, then, but sustained by the thought of four o'clock tea and cake, and well as the odd haggis supper and wee dram. We are as excited as Butlers are decently allowed to get!

Fletcher the Butler