We drove over to Rye to take the kids to the castle today. It’s a pretty town and full of history - I don’t think I’ve ever been there before. Lots of cobbled streets and old houses and an imposing church and then the castle at the top - though of course, it was closed. But the kids liked seeing the cannons and I threatened to put them in the stocks like any good dad would.
I was more taken with a shop called Rye DIY. If I’d owned it I would definitely have called it DI Rye. Though written down that does look confusing. And might be the name of an ITV Cop drama about a Detective called Ian Rye who lives in Rye, likes making rye bread in his spare time and makes wry observations about the many murder victims that he encounters.
More pertinently perhaps, I don’t really know much about DIY and even if my name made people laugh more and if I called it DI Rye (DIY) to explain the joke, when they came in they’d find me woefully inept at selling spanners and stuff and I’d quickly go out of business. But then I’d write up my DI Rye script and become a billionaire. “Oh God, has there been another murder? I have just put a loaf of rye bread in the oven. What a Rye-ight pain!!” (Makes wry face to camera).
The kids were excited to visit the church as they hoped they would see the king. I don’t think they know the difference between a church and a palace or castle. The idiots. But the church is more impressive than the castle (especially when closed). I pointed to a stained-glass window of Jesus and told them he was the king of kings, and hopefully ingratiated myself with any passing vicars.
We ate our sandwiches outside the church, amongst the dead of Rye. Probably all murder victims, but DI Rye had almost certainly caught their killers, or at least made a comforting hot loaf for the grieving family. Whilst drinking whisky. He also drinks rye whisky, didn’t I say? And raise his eyebrows (apparently RYE is text speak for raise your eyebrows). Oh wait, he has a partner called Barley. They don’t get on and have very different working methods, but they get the job done.
I wrote a short Edinburgh memory for the times a few days ago. It appeared in the paper today, though heavily edited and with some stuff I didn’t say thrown in.
Here’s what was printed
In 1988 I discovered the tiny baked-potato shop Tempting Tattie at the top of Jeffrey Street. I would always recommend it in interviews, but the owners never seemed to care. In 2009 I took my audience to the shop to see if we could break it. I arrived with 100 customers, who waited patiently for service, and the owner sort of found it funny, but, like a true Edinburgh citizen during the festival, was mainly angry he had to do all this extra work.
Here’s what I wrote
I’ve been coming to the Fringe since 1987 and I think it was in my second year I discovered the tiny baked potato shop “The Tempting Tattie” at the top of Jeffrey St. It’s huge and cheap potatoes kept me alive in the early days and it became a tradition to go back there at least once every year. I favoured the medium (huge) with orange Cheddar and Mango Chutney and hoped that one day that would be named “The Richard Herring”. Whenever a paper asked me for restaurant recommends over the next 25 years (as they did often) I would always say The Tempting Tattie, but the owners never seemed to know who I was. Eventually the grumpy but lovely owner realised who I was and said I could have free potatoes. It’s probably the main benefit I have accrued from all my years in showbiz, but I felt self-conscious about taking him up on it.
In 2009 after the lunchtime recording of the Collings and Herrin podcast, we encouraged our audience and podcast listeners to all descend on the shop at the same time to see if we could break it. It was just after lunch, when usually the owner would be winding things up. I arrived with the audience to find the queue already snaking down the hill. There must have been at least 100 customers in all and they waited patiently for service and for the owner to put in another batch of potatoes.
He sort of found it funny, but was mainly put out that he had to do all this extra work when he was about to get to a quiet time of the day. He pretended to head butt me. Even though I had brought him a day’s takings in one hour. It made it funnier that he was angry with me, but it was a beautiful thing to see.
Someone made a video.
I had that moustache for my stand up show.
I hardly ever got involved in Edinburgh happenings cos they usually happened late and I liked to go to bed. But 100+ nerds eating cheese and mango chutney baked potatoes provided by an annoyed man was a wonderful thing to make happen.
He never named the potato after me
Quite a different take there. When they were cutting out so much, why insert a bit that I didn’t actually write?
Some fun memories in the article nonetheless, though who knows how much they have been altered to reflect the journalists anti-Scottish agenda.