This was the view I woke up to on Saturday morning: Edinburgh to the left; the Forth Rail Bridge to the right; further to the right, I could see across Fife; further to the left, the harbour at Newhaven. Gorgeous.
I had spent the night at the Premier Inn on Leith Waterfront (that's it in the picture below).
Premier Inn contacted me recently to see whether I fancied not only a night in one of their Edinburgh hotels but breakfast and an improv comedy workshop in the morning. I - well, I was going to say I had no hesitation in accepting but I did hesitate long enough to check that Steve was okay with solo parenting for twenty-four hours (he and Matilda could have come along but we're still a bit scared of taking her on long train journeys!). He couldn't bring himself to refuse - my excitement was obvious; I have always had a bit of an "I could be a stand up comedian!" fantasy which has been further fuelled by reading Tina Fey's and Amy Poehler's autobiographies. This was my big chance to indulge it.
Also: an uninterrupted night of not having to share a bed with two other people and a cat! And food! Yes!
As it turned out, my train down to Edinburgh was hugely delayed so it was coming on for 11pm when I made it to the hotel. I didn't have a chance to (!) read a book for hours or (!) watch a film or (!) drink a tiny bottle of wine. I starfished on the king size bed and that was me out for nine hours.
In the morning, I made the most of the all you can eat Full Breakfast - three courses' worth of it. Premier Inn had been quite keen for me to sample their new Purple Sauce but I'm not really keen on condiments (sorry, Premier Inn) so I just stole a sachet for Steve instead (sorry again, Premier Inn). The small boy at the table next to me liked it so much he was begging his parents to let him stay there for lunch, though.
After breakfast, I had half an hour before heading to the improv workshop so I had a quick stroll around the harbour. It was a warm, still morning and loads of men on boats wished me a good day - lovely.
Then it was off to the workshop at the Haymarket Premier Inn - eeeeeeeeeeeeeeh!
Also there were Ellen from In a Bun Dance along with her two eldest sons, Stephanie from Stephanie Arsoska, Lisa from The China Doll Diaries, Laura from The Breastest News, Susie from The Glasgow Dragonfly, Tasha from Hello Freckles and Jenny from Monkey and Mouse (all of those blogs are worth clicking through to). Also a couple of friends and family and Sophie, the PR person who had arranged everything.
Of course, I'm that person in the photo:
The workshop was being run by three members of The Maydays (pictured above).
By the time we got there, my initial excitement had been replaced by nerves - I had no idea what I had let myself in for and had visions of being shoved up on stage and told, "Describe your breakfast! Be funny about it! NOW!"
Luckily, that was not how it went!
It. Was. Brilliant.
Over the course of ninety minutes, we all went from clinging nervously to cups of tea at one edge of the room to ditching our self-consciousness and roaring with laughter.
I won't describe all of the games (I could say "exercises" but that doesn't sum up how playful the whole workshop was) because you should go to one of these workshops (or find a group near you) and I don't want to give too much away. Amongst them, though, was the "Yes, and..." game I had read about in Amy Poehler's book - briefly: you pair up; one of you makes a statement; the other agrees and adds to it; repeat, repeat, repeat as things become more and more ridiculous. It was so much fun to come up with increasingly ludicrous suggestions and not be met by doubt or negativity.
I feel so lucky to have been invited along to this event by Premier Inn. Improv is something I have long wanted to try and it completely lived up to my expectations; add in getting to meet several really lovely bloggers, having a good night's sleep and downing a mountain of food and the whole thing couldn't have been improved on.
I had a baby to get back to so, alas, I didn't have time to take in any of Edinburgh's festival events but I'm really looking forward to heading back down in a couple of years when Matilda's old enough to enjoy herself, too.
Has anybody else tried improv comedy?
Disclaimer: Bed, breakfast and the improv workshop were all courtesy of Premier Inn but the views are entirely my own.