August is marked by the Edinburgh International Festival, and the city’s population of 500,000 doubles to one million. The historic town centre is flooded with rivers of tourists, and the double-decker buses float through them like lazy hippos. Even inveterate festival-haters get dragged to performances. My husband took me to a stand-up comedy show in a bus where I learned that to wear a cable-knit cardigan and a gold cross to a comedy show is to give the comic a lot of material. “The woman in the sweater got on the bus thinking it was really a bus and now is too polite to leave!” was just the beginning.
Hotels are packed solid. Canny natives with holiday time rent their homes to tourists and leave town. Fashionable young Londoners reserve sofas in the homes of their Edinburgh friends. Even St. Mary’s Roman Catholic Cathedral gets in on the festival action by offering Latin Choral Vespers with professional singers. But all this blazing activity was shoved in the backs of the minds of my little church community last Sunday, for one of our boys had returned a newly minted temporary deacon.