Day 9: 18 September 2012

Where to begin? hmmm let me see …

Everything started off fine and normal apart from having a borrowed bus (that is someone else’s story) but the borrowed bus will have a strange coincidence factor in a wee while.  The connection to St Andrews on the 99 went smoothly … and then I made a poor choice.

Instead of staying 0n the bus to go to the far end of St Andrews I decided to walk as I did yesterday … with hindsight I wish I had taken the bus!  Half way to Sainsbury local I went from vertical to horizontal in the blink of an eye – not sure why I know I didn’t trip.  I am well padded and fortunately nothing breakable was in the collision zone with the ground.  A very kind bypasser immediately offered help and I was vertical again almost as quickly as I hadn’t been.  As the day has gone on the tender bits have got more so, the stiffness has got more so and my whole being feels jolted on my axis …c’est la vie!

As a consequence I have done less walking today but I still managed to add a couple more East Neuk villages to my list.  I stayed on the bus right down to Lower Largo – this didn’t get a scintillating write up in the guidesheets but I figured I only had to wait 30 minutes for a return bus and on the way I would pass through other places and decide which ones to visit on the return journey.

So here is the weird coincidence I mentioned above – when the 95 bus turned up it was the sister to the borrowed bus … okay that won’t mean anything to most of you but for me it was curious.  I have been accused of being a bus spotter (a girl has to know her fleet) but by the end of this post I will be getting accused of spotting something else bus related.

I snapped the Isle of May (mobile phone through bus window) with the sea lit up by early sunshine and a vivid blue sky which stayed most of the day.

Just on the left of that photograph you can glimpse the local stone gate posts – very stylish and attached a very typical stane dyke – the base is rubble and mortar filled, unlike the traditional drystane dyke and so the dyke has a parabolic section.

So Lower Largo apparently has links to Alexander Selkirk (the likely inspiration for Daniel Defoe’s hero Robinson Crusoe); it has a small railway viaduct, a long row of houses (some of which have private steps to the long beach), a small esturine harbour, a pub, an hotel and a shop (there may be more but that was as far as I got in my 30 minutes).  The beach is quite pretty and easy to access.

When the bus arrived I had decided that there was too little to do in Colinsburgh or Kilconquhar to justify getting off the bus and waiting an hour.  I did however take this picture (Kilconquhar) through the bus window with my mobile – another posh bus shelter!

My next destination was Earlsferry and Elie.  Along with Crail these two earn the prize for picturesqueness (is that a word? well it is now).  The architecture is just beautiful – I don’t recall seeing one ugly new box style house.  As well as the traditional stepped gables and pantile rooves there were distinctive stone styling and interesting windows.  I will return to take a series of building photos but today I wanted to see that glorious beach.

I did snap two buildings – I think the first must be the castle (it looks French chateauish to me) and who wouldn’t want a sun room with a view like this and personal access to the beach?  I would love to live on an island – but if that is never possible but I win on the  Lottery or the Premium Bonds – I would feel so privileged to live in either of these villages.

All the villages along the coast seem to have their Links and/or Golf courses – I was amused by the sign at Earlsferry saying dogs were only allowed under control and please clean up after your dog – hang on a minute – no that wasn’t the funny bit!   I was sitting on the bus thinking who would take the dog to play golf – I glanced left and there was a black Labrador standing patiently beside (and tethered to) a golf trolley (sorry probably not the correct terminology – but I am sure you know what I mean).  I think it must have been the dog’s person who had just taken his shot since the dog was waving his tail as if politely applauding!

Anyway I promised you a new ‘spotting’ craze – here is my third fancy bus shelter in two days – this one even has guttering!  This is in Elie and it is beautifully done – including bicycle racks and a photographic exhibition.  Really impressed with this.

Elie was also impressive for those other crucial facilities, a short distance along the village green and turning right towards the beach were the toilets.  These lived up to public convenience in every expectation (although it might have been good to have the light on – but nothing happened when I pressed the switch) … clean, appropriately provisioned and the floor had recently been mopped.

I decided my bruises and strains were not going to take much climbing and clambering so I took the bus back to St Andrews for a gentle stroll on the East Beach and part two of my lunch.  The tide was almost in but there was still firm sand to walk along and I caught a series of pictures of a catamaran dinghy and a rather delightful springer spaniel.

I hope that none of you feel me taking these photos is intrusive … I just enjoyed seeing you having fun at the beach.

What I find intrusive is loud mobile ringtones (especially when you have it going constantly – after the first time how about turning the volume down?); the overloud conversations on your mobile phone on the beach – I really do not need to know that you are looking forward to 18 holes, a drink and something to eat starting at 10am … nor even that it is half price! but most of all – if I wanted to listen to several different pieces of music at the same time I would go to a gig – please just get yourself some leak proof earphones …

One final coincidence – my camera batteries died within 10 metres of where they did last week (of course I had fresh with me – learned that one the hard way a long time ago) and they were a pack of non rechargeable bought at the same time as the ones that died there the previous week.  I do normally use rechargeable but had need some in a hurry for work photos which I had to take with my camera.

Off to check the weather for tomorrow, but today I:

  • Enjoyed coincidences;
  • Appreciated a stranger’s offer of help;
  • Ate all of a falafel and tabbouleh salad without dropping it on the ground;
  • Enjoyed meeting the driver on the service 95 – I mean it – you were such a positive ambassador for the company – watch out for me later in the week when”It’s you again” will be back in Fife (I have two more harbours to visit I believe) … thank you;
  • Spotted guillemots (aka Arbroath Penguins) in the shallow water and harbour at St Andrews; and
  • Bruised my faith in myself a little – but bounced back.
Today’s statistics: Cost: £0; Miles travelled: 137.60; steps taken: 5,280

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About nonehpets

I have an interest in how interior design and adapting a home to support living independently for longer can be complementary. The blog Life Long Design is part of an holistic plan for establishing a social enterprise which will offer the people of Tayside opportunities to explore Telecare and the wider scope of assistive technologies. Enabling individuals to make more informed and responsible choices in the care and support they need in their independent living. I am also keen to see public transport more widely adopted and sustainable rural bus services in particular supported. The Blog Travels with a Megarider shares my journey to find serenity in my life as I make that transition form employment to social entrepreneur. One of my methods in increasing serenity is to travel as many miles as I can on a fixed price bus ticket and explore my own local places of interest. Places that I used to go past and had never stopped to look at; places of peace and tranquility; places where I have had some wonderful conversations with complete strangers. I would like to share with you a response to when I described that one paragraph in an e-mail made it sound simple: "Believe me, Cathy, it does not sound simple. You are taking on an incredible challenge for all the right reasons. It is ambitious and admirable - the sort of project that can change lives, including yours." He is right it is ambitious but when did we every achieve anything by settling for the status quo and ignoring what doesn't work for people? So I would welcome your company from time to time on this journey either simply as a reader or if you are brave enough adding your own thoughts to the comments as you feel moved.

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