Brian Ferguson: Blue skies finally bless the Festivals

The sun was out and so were the crowds in Edinburgh yesterday.

Summer has arrived and tourists and locals take to Princes Street Gardens for a spot of sunbathing

It was no real surprise that the first fine weather of the festival coincided with the arrival in Charlotte Square of Alexander McCall Smith.

The master of the comforting novel walked on stage at the Book Festival at roughly the same time as a perfect sunset enveloped the capital – and had the audience in the palm of his hand till he left an hour later.

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The author attracts one of the most well-heeled crowds to Charlotte Square. And there was no holding them back when he embarked on an impromptu walkabout at the end of his session.

A spur-of-the-moment decision to give away the mini-mountain of books he had brought along was greeted by a veritable forest of hands.

The blue skies could not have been more fitting for the official ceremony setting the seal on a new cultural pact between Edinburgh and Adelaide.

Festival directors from the two cities were probably thankful of the shade in the purpose-built “pergola” in Summerhall’s courtyard – where a handful of folk were huddling from the rain on my last visit.

But Australian arts minister Jack Snelling had done his research on Edinburgh’s ever-changing weather – turning up in a dark suit and tie.

There was much exchanging of notes on sensible early nights and restoration of energy levels after the frenzied start to the festivals had abated.

It was also reassuring to hear from one press office manager that I am not the only one accumulating a worrying mountain of discarded clothing and footwear in the office – although I’m not sure that my workspace is “worse than a teenager’s bedroom” just yet.