TO BE honest, it wasn't until the nice man at the airport asked me to turn out my pockets that I realised just how many leaflets and flyers I had collected.
All weekend I had been accepting glossy slips of paper from people in the street, glancing at them, folding them into neat quarters and sliding them into my back pocket.
Occasionally, when I sat down on a chair, I would feel a noticeable wad in the pocket, but I didn't pay it much notice. I just kept accepting the flyers, folding the flyers, and moving on down the street.
At the airport, though, it became apparent that I had the output of a small rainforest in there.
We were at the Edinburgh Fringe, where the streets are thronged with visitors, and also with anxious young people handing out literature trying to persuade you to go and see their shows and performances.
It would be churlish to say no, so you take one of each proffered flyer and assure them that you will do your level best to come and see them in action. Except, of course, that there is no chance of seeing everything, because there is just too much going on.
We were there in the first place to see a play called Pigeon English, performed by the Bristol Old Vic Young Company and produced by Older Daughter. I am immensely proud of both of my children every single day, regardless of what they are doing, but it is safe to say that on this occasion I was inflated almost to bursting point with parental pride.
This was especially true when we were standing in line to go in and see Pigeon English and a chap was walking up and down the queue asking if anyone had any tickets for sale, because every performance for the whole fortnight had been sold out and he couldn't get one for love or money. Proud doesn't really do it justice.
It was only my second time in Scotland, having once paid a whistle-stop visit on the overnight bus to be at an old mate's wedding. This was much more civilised, with a brisk flight up from Bristol costing not much more than it would have done on the bus these days, and far less than it would have done in petrol.
For accommodation we had a look through all the listings, and went for something called the Snoozebox. This is basically a few storage containers piled together, much as they are on the deck of those ungainly great ships you see going up and down the channel and dropping their pilots off Berry Head.
They drop them into places where there is likely to be a large influx of people for a short space of time, like a Grand Prix motor race meeting or the Edinburgh Fringe. Each container is divided up into segments, and each of those segments is kitted out to become a bedroom for up to three people, complete with toilet and bathroom, comfy beds, TV, wifi and air conditioning.
The segments are compact, to say the least, but they are spotlessly clean and tidy, well kitted out and comfortable. I recommend them very highly.
We walked the Royal Mile, collecting leaflets and flyers and having no idea whatsoever of what we were likely to go and see.
We took a flyer from a young lad who implored us to go to a pub called the Voodoo Lounge to see a sketch show he and his friends had put together. It was free. Mrs H was won over by his boyish charm, so we went, and were wonderfully entertained by Staple/Face, three lads with a succession of very funny routines and sketches. They deserve to do really well, and it would be good to see them again.
We saw The Six Wives of Henry VII, not the Rick Wakeman concept album but a hilarious play performed by Howard Coggins and Stu McLoughlin. It was great, especially the Kraftwerk Anne of Cleves.
We were on a roll, and took a gamble on a performance called My Dad's Deaths with an Australian storyteller called Jon Bennett. He was excellent, too, spinning tremendous yarns and getting some huge laughs from an audience packed into a sweltering hot room under some arches somewhere down the hill behind the castle.
Then it was on to a session with Rory McGrath and Philip Pope, who sang irreverent songs and sent us home with laughter and swearing ringing in our ears.
Older Daughter managed to get us into the VIP car in the centre of the festival site, and we sat for a while pretending we belonged among the talented stars of the Fringe. Comedians came and went. Tim Vine left as we came in. It must have been something we said. I nearly spilled cider down Alistair McGowan's front through trying to carry too many glasses at once, and a prolonged bout of staring and head-scratching ended when we realised the very familiar-looking ginger-haired chap standing in front of us was the nerdy one out of the BT broadband advert.
Edinburgh is not without its perils, though.
Exploring, we wandered into a gift shop near the castle, and made the mistake of walking deep into its displays of tartan clothing, tea-towels and leisure wear. After about five minutes we realised we were lost, sucked into a swirling maelstrom of Scottishness. Some tourists were having their pictures taken in full Highland warrior dress, others were watching a weaving demonstration, still others were picking through mountains of material looking for the Ramsbottom tartan. God knows how long they had been in there.
We tried to retrace our steps but we were more lost then we had ever been, with bagpipe music skirling in our ears and a faint smell of shortbread everywhere. Every time we found a doorway it was one we had already been through. Finally we rushed at an opening and emerged through the crowds, blinking in the broad Scottish sunlight. Take care, any of you who dare to enter that particular shop.