Thursday, 24 March 2011


Yesterday saw the publication of the programme for this year's Edinburgh Internationl Festival.  Fantasy Bob is sure that his readers are aware that Edinburgh is Festival City.  Each month is Festivalised - the August International Festival is of course at the top of the tree, but throughout the year there are other Festivals including the truly excellent Festival of Children's Theatre in May and the early summer Film Festival. 

Fireworks don't mark the end
 of Edinburgh's all year round
 Festival of Streetworks
Is there space for more Festivals in Edinburgh's crowded calendar?  Evidently, since some inspired policy maker in the Council has decided that Edinburgh should have a year long festival devoted to street and road works.  Celebrity holes in the road from all parts of the globe have been invited to form creative partnerships with local holes. The epic hole in the road that is the Tram project is back in rehearsal to iron out some technical flaws.  Taxi drivers talk with pride about this new venture.  Residents stoically get on with their lives, muttering to themselves about the Dunkirk spirit.

FB notes how Cricket Festivals are a feature of many places in England.   The Cheltenham Festival was first staged in 1872 making it the oldest in the world.  Its early days were graced by Grace and many great cricketers have performed there.  Similarly at Scarborough.   These Festivals traditionally involved the county side on location with a 4 day game and a limited overs match combined with a celebrity/charity fixture.  Beer tents and food stalls ensured a good time was had by all.  Like the fading pictures on the Pavilion wall their significance may be declining in today's hard commercial world.  FB hopes they can live on.

Prego.  Dove e il cricket pitch?
But such festivals are not a feature of the Scottish cricket calendar so FB has concluded that the Edinburgh Cricket Festival is likely to remain a thing of his imagination.   But hang on there.  Edinburgh is twinned with Florence and a casual Google Search tells FB that Florence has an annual cricket festival.  Now this sounds promising. His previous visits to Firenze had not located the cricket field but he is sure it is handy to Il Duomo.  As the search engine whirs, FB imagines strolling to the Uffizi Gallery to take in the Botticellis before taking his place on the boundary.  He is thumbing through the phrase book to check the Italian for square leg. He then looks closer at the page.  Crushing disappointment.

Festa del Grillo / Cricket Festival (Florence) - this festival takes place on the Sunday after Ascension day in Cascine Park and stallholders sell crickets in tiny woven straw cages, which are traditionally released by their new owners in the park for good luck

No chance of watching the descendants of Michaelangelo put together an innings on the banks of the Arno.  Only grasshoppers, and they can't bat.

Florentine  Festival crickets in cages

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