Day 12: 21 September 2012

Another day – another excursion.  I set out to at least cover the whole 95 route down the Fife Coast to Leven.  The first bus I was on was having intermittent squeak and I gather the warning was ‘gear’ related.  The second bus was perfect and then I hit my first irritation.

I popped into Sainsbury Local in St Andrews to buy brunch and lunch to take with me.  Twice this week when I have visited they had a person on the kiosk so I avoided that mechanised woman who gets irate if you don’t shop in exactly the way she is programmed to think you should – they are so impersonal and actually I find they are no faster.

No person at kiosk so I had to go to the self pay tills.  Popped basket on the left side.  Prepared Carrier bag on the right side and pressed start. Each item scanned fine and I placed it in the receiving bag without issue … until the last item … a bag of crisps weight 50g and mechanised madam decided to weigh the bagging area items and detected an error – clearly I was trying to swindle Mr Sainsbury.   I waited several minutes with a till flashing for assistance but no one in sight to assist – getting panicky because if I missed the bus I had an hour to wait!  A pleasant young man came to the rescue an apologised for madam’s tantrum and reprogrammed her.  In the maelstrom I forgot to swipe my nectar keyring thingy – not that it would be masses of points but that is beside the point.

I waited at the bus stop and it was really nice to see a friendly face when the 95 pulled up … “It’s you again” said she would be back and she was.  I settled down to view the scenery and along the way there was banter.  The bus ran to time, there were no breakdowns and the driver was not only competent but he offered polite and professionally friendly customer service.  It really was a pleasure to make that journey on that bus.

I was asked what was the best bit of my Megarider travels; it is hard to single out one best bit – the scenery is stunning, the weather has been really good … but if I had to pick just one thing it would be meeting people.  Not that I don’t meet people when I am not on holiday but everywhere I have visited people have been friendly and welcoming and that restores faith and offers serenity.  I have also encountered some irritating people (apart from madam in Sainsbury) but more about that later.

So I arrived in Leven, which is a nicely laid out little town with everything one needs easy to find and access.  I got a take away coffee from here … thank you, and made my way to the beach.  It was easy to access and the concrete sea wall provided a weirdly comfortable place to sit in the sun and have brunch.  I got asked for a few shares from passing pooches – but noone was really pushy about it!  The view stretches right back to the point at Earlsferry in one direction and over Edinburgh in the other.  The little white dots in the middle of his picture are the houses and hotel at Lower Largo.

There were some wonderful skies today so here are a selection of those images:


And this cheeky little show off was quite amusing to watch:

After brunch on the beach I went on to Kirkcaldy and then would decided wethehr to continue to retrace my steps.  I caught a service 8 bus with went through Lower Methil and Buckhaven then Dysart as well as East Wemyss and Coaltown of Wemyss.  Some of these were suburbs and some were distinct villages with their individual characteristics.  On arrival in Kirkcaldy Bus Station I went and collected some timetables and set off to find the beach.  I was lured through a large shopping mall before deciding on an exit that as roughly in the best place to access the beach … I went down several flights of stairs before finding a way out and the road I was on was undergoing repairs.  Pedestrians were directed to a barriered walkway and at the bottom of the road the only traffic light controlled pedestrian crossing in sight was barricaded off.

After taking my life in my hands to access the esplanade I was left really disappointed – the beach is not as nice as that at Leven, the Esplanade is featureless concrete and most of the benches are missing.  There is no signage and it was just depressing.  As at Leven here are pictures taken to the left (the Earlsferry peninsula is in the very far distance whilst Leven and Largo are tucked in behind the headlead beyond the harbour wall) and to the right.

Having taken those photographs I negotiated my way back across the road, into the shopping centre and found the ladies, before returning to the bus station.  The highlight of my time in Kirkcaldy? a person … a young man pulling a wheely bin through the service area at the shopping centre caught my eye and smiled – if you should read this – thank you so much.

I decided that I needed to retrace my steps so I headed back to Leven on the 6 service and caught the 95.  This went really well until we collected the youngsters at the end of their school week – these were the people, some of whom were much less enjoyable to meet.  The noise on the bus became overwhelming; the language and bragging uncomfortable to witness but the most unbelievable bit was the teenage boy who arrived and announced that the bus smelled like wet dog – funny that when he departed the teenage unwashed body smell followed him down the aisle and off the bus!  Boys let me share something with you – you may be unhappy hat you have to catch a public bus – believe me the public are not exactly thrilled at the prospect either!

Unfortunately between Anstruther and Crail the bus decided to throw a tantrum and cut out at traffic lights.  There was much jeering and cat calling from the back which I am sure really helped the driver?  Eventually we shuffled into St Andrews – stuck in gear –  around 10 minutes late and I was able to hop to a 99B for the trip back across the Tay.  Thank you to the driver of the 95 who kept his cool and kept the bus limping along to get us there.  This has really been the only threat of a breakdown on my travels and it is heartening to see that Stagecoach do seem to be overcoming the technical reliability gremlins that were a problem 18 months ago.

As we crossed the Tay there was a really strange Rainbow (difficult to catch on a mobile but here is my try) … rainbows have a very significant meaning for me and I have seen one almost every day this week … I am taking this as a good sign for my future plans.

And just linking to the post on the Children’s TV Characters … in Leven this very clever shop window dressing caught my eye with ether scarves, ties or belts being used to create designer clothing for the shop window dummies … and in Kirkcaldy I found another Mr Benn shop …

I am going to close this post with a poser for weather guru … I spotted this unusual cloud over the hills to the south as I approached home …

Here’s a closer view of the intriguing feature … what do you think? the cloud appeared to be ‘chopped off’ or in the early stages of forming a funnel …

Today I:

  • Answered questions about my travels and what I hoped to achieve;
  • Put up with mechanised madam at Sainsbury;
  • Offered relief for a sore throat …
  • Enjoyed the spectacular scenery again; and
  • Enjoyed fabulous weather (again)
Today’s statistics: Cost £0; Miles travelled: 168.9; Steps taken: 2,640

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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