The Grand Tour: Fife and Beyond

Ramblings of an inveterate cyclist

Well I did sit up until one o’clock, to watch the lasts episodes of The Bridge, brilliant, more, please.

The wind is the big story of the week and has not abated any, so cycling has been curtailed to a quick circuit of 10 to 20 miles, but we travel hopefully. Elie weather is telling me that the start of the new week thing will get better. The long-distance forecast for Wester Ross and Assynt is looking good from around the 19th an Indian Summer for at least a week, with wind, speeds down to 4 mph, so that is my window of opportunity, I can not wait to get back into the mountains again, this time I will ride around the peninsula of Applecross. I have been putting in more walking over rough ground, with this trip in mind, I want to visit such places as the Falls of Glomach, and that will require me walking into the hills.

Coronavirus is not going away anytime soon, in fact, quite the opposite, travelling like wildfire around the country once more. I don’t wish to get political in these blogs, so we shall say no more about that apart from I can’t see my trip to Europe happening even in the spring of 2021, ho-hum.

So until things settle down a little more, this blog will be all about wee stories and not really about why it was set up in the first place to tell you about cycling advantage.

We had been watching The Jolson Story, (made in 1946) on the television, dad was now settled in the collieries of Fife, he was a Deputy by that time, steady wages and mum at last had a home of her own, wan o’ them new cooncil hooses.

The film clearly brought back memories for dad for he told us how he had gone to seen the film when it was first released. The film was huge in its day, talking pictures. This was 1945 the world had just emerged from a world war, Europe was in ruins, millions of men coming home from the war to a life of poverty and hardship, that had spread all the way back to the lead up to the First World War. Yet when people went off to the cinema, they escaped the every day drudgery, (their cocaine) in exchange for glamour and a champagne life style. The beautiful people would attend the awards, where stars and starlets would be handed bobbles and Oscars, for these were not mere people, not even film stars, but gods.

When dad had finished his reminiscing, mum retold the story but, did not remember it in quite the same way. Your dad was fair excited about the Jolson film, staring Larry Parks. Parks was a bit star for Columbia at the time and when Columbia was preparing for a screen biography of Al Jolson, Parks won the part, he was never out of the movies after that appearance. So when your dad said he was taking me to the pictures to see the Jolson Story I was exited too. And believe me there was not a lot of excitement in our lives at that time, your dad out of work, still recovering from hard sea time and shipping in the doldrums.

I washed and ironed my blouse, and pressed my good skirt,Violet did my leg for me, dyed stockings, old tea leves stained legs, ink lines down the backs as seems, well you couldn’t get stockings unless your were a millionaire or going oot wi a Yanks. And what happened, your dad went off to the pictures on his own, leaving me all dressed up and no where to go.

Dad was a bit embarrassed about, mum, not only remembering that but telling it in front of the kids.

“You know I tried, but I couldn’t collect enough jam jars for both of us” he said by way of an excuse. The ‘Good Old Days’ aye right.

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