"Gather round, gather round, make plenty of noise and the crowd will get bigger and bigger".
It's that time of year in Edinburgh again.
Pretty people look at pretty sights and buy pretty much anything that physically represents their visit to the capital of Scotland. I went to "The Athens Of The North" and bought this cuddly Nessie wearing a kilt. Of course.
The streets are awash with leaflets and leafleters.
People wait to be entertained while entertainers wait to entertain enough people. It's funny how everyone seems to reach their creative peak at a time of year when it could prove most profitable.
If a clown is rendered speechless by the madness of it all does he automatically become a mime?
"See our show, see our show".
See one, see them all, see none at all. See the crowds in your way as you try to get home from work. See the stewards shepherding tourists into organised groups and police walking about looking as if they care. It's the time of year when you walk during the daylight in a mass of eager faces and walk at night around broken glass, broken spirits and broken dreams.
"If everyone applauds at the same time then nobody looks stupid".
Jugglers keep juggling as they have done for so long, now joined by comedic contortionists and hula hoopers. The entertainers seem to get younger and younger every year, or maybe that's just me getting old.
A bigger proportion of the acts seem to get worse every year, or maybe that's just me getting old.
Famous faces sit beside hopeful unknowns. But not for too long.
"This is a free show, ladies and gentlemen. Free to get in but not necessarily free to get out".
Everything doubles in price. Who knew that ice cream was such a precious commodity? The grandeur of the buildings and natural geography overlook all of this grubby money-grabbing, this tawdry attempt to bilk tourists for all they're worth and then wait another full year to do it all over again.
But don't get me wrong.
I still love it.
"Here comes the hat, here comes the hat. If you've enjoyed yourself today then do spare some change".