Tom Skelton’s one-man show, a dress from Woolworths, Dave Eggers, and icing penguins (Rousse)

Although by mid-September the Edinburgh Fringe was well and truly over, a few acts had stayed in town to try their luck with the locals and last of the summer tourists.

Tom Skelton of Racing Minds was still performing his solo show in a tiny venue hidden down a shadowy close in Bruntsfield. The venue was so small that its capacity was limited to just the performer and one audience member. I counted myself lucky to be the one with the single ticket to the show today. Audience participation was unavoidable in such circumstances, although it has to be said that Tom would not be drawn on the mechanics of his magic tricks and comedy. He was a true professional. Would he be the next Rik Mayall, I wondered?

Half way through the performance my mobile phone rang. It was my long-dead Granny H full of concern about a dress that she had bought for me from Woolworths. The garment in question was now in the post heading in my direction, but she was worried that it wouldn’t fit. I told her that I would just take it back if that was the case (completely forgetting that Woolworths is no more).

When the show was over a few more fans squeezed into the room to see the star. Amongst them were my school friend AG and his wife, who had also come along to thank me for a book recommendation. I had suggested that they read The circle by Dave Eggers in preparation for their move to California.

Meanwhile Tom worked quietly in the corner putting away the props for the show just ended, and preparing another set for his next. Amongst these was a huge cream cake. It was decorated on top with a colony of three dozen six inch tall penguins, cleverly crafted in black and white icing.

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