Back up to Edinburgh on a flight which was helpfully delayed by half an hour – FlyBe operating with all the urgency of a glacier, there.

Just time for a shower and change, before heading out for tapas with dad, and then to The Stand for a 20 spot (Ian Cognito headlining, fretting about having left a washbag full of the weekend’s earnings in his Glasgow hotel room).

As he doesn’t get the words, dad’s analysis of my set is always interesting: ‘People were really listening to you,’ he said, which is a relief. Some nice laughs, but I was conscious that I was a bit flabby after missing the Berwick and Beehive ‘warm up’ gigs.

It will be a few days until I stop scratching for inspiration for my entry for next year’s competition. These things tend to come along when you’re not looking for them. But I am looking forward to coming back fitter and stronger, when I will, in Ruth Badger’s beautifully mixed metaphor, ‘step up to the plate and start eating.’

Finally, a big thank you again to the support of Early Bird Speakers, those who came to cheer me on, those who gave me brilliant feedback to help shape my speech, and the deluge of rah-rah texts, emails, tweets and Facebook messages that kept my spirits up. At the front of the cheerleaders was President Ben Taylor, who is coming to the end of a successful year at the helm of the club and whose enthusiasm has been the wind beneath my wings, never a weight on my shoulders. Taz Miah and Al Cowie deserve a second mention, because their advice has been beyond valuable, and as good for the soul as for the speech.

If my glass trophy doesn’t get back to London in one piece, there is a chunk for each of you.



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