The Grand Tour: Fife and Beyond

Ramblings of an inveterate cyclist

The weekend was over in a flash, where did it all go? The highlight on Sunday morning was Aida from Sydney Harbour, thankfully my headphones allows me to move around the house freely, far too early in the morning (Sky for better reasons known to themselves put a two and a half hour opera on at 6 o’clock in the morning) still listening to opera works for me at anytime. The aria at the end of Aida, where the two lovers are to be sealed up in a dungeon, must be up there in the top ten of the opera areas, I can not get it out of my head, even now.

I cycled over to Leven in the morning and sat on the promenaded for a good hour watching the world go by. Then I set off along the coast for home, stopping off at Elie on the way. As I sat next to the bus stop, outside the church, enjoying an energy drink, the St Andrews bus pulled up – what the hell, I stuffed my bike in the trunk –

“Home James, and don’t spare the horses”.

It had been a long day from before 6 o’clock in the morning and by 2 0’clock on what was now, Monday morning, my eyes were starting to close on the words and I was no longer taking them in, that is the effect that a Wilbur Smith book has on you, time for bed.

The backdrop is South Africa, as it would have been in the early 1900s. It must have been breathtaking. Smith paints a canvas so rich and colourful, its mountains, mighty rivers and vast open savanna, right down to the smell of the very earth itself. He tells of the fight for the survival of its creatures, this is the canvas he has painted for his actors in this page-turning book.

His players are real people, you get to know then as you would your immediate family members, warts and all, morality and immorality, greed and corruption, the power crazy and the dreamer, it is all there. Or heroes are of course larger than life. As for Martin, he has more lives than a cat, and just when you think you have it sussed, the master, like a conjurer, will put another rabbit out of the hat to surprises you, and off you will go on one more glorious adventure.

A Sparrow Falls is really a sequel, or more like a continuation of Where the Lion Feeds, and it would be best if you could read that before you start on a sparrow falls, for in the first book you will get to know the family in an earlier time (during the 1800s) and before the wars, the ethnic cleansing, and the coming of the White Man, in any great numbers, to steal and plunder. He takes by the sword, and in the name of his lord.

The big problem with such books is, once you read the last chapter, where do you go from here? I find this with all books that I have enjoyed as much as this one,

“It is difficult to equal that glorious experience,” Said the maid to the gardener.

I do have the answer to my dilemma The Sound of Thunder by Wilbur Smith, but I will not be lifting it from the shelf just yet a while, I am still basking in the afterglow of A Sparrow Falls. (pure sex).

Monday of course was, dhobi wallah day, My allotted time in the laundry was almost at an end by the time I rose from my bed, however the lad that follows me has been moved to a care home so I was clear for another two hours. Whilst the dryer was doing its work I cycled over to Aldi and stuffed my pannier bag with goodies to restock Mrs hubbub’s cupboard.

The morning was once more conducive to cycling and as soon as the washing was out of the machine I set off on my bike, climbing up and over the hill for Elie, cresting the summit at Lawhead, you will look down to see the River Forth spread out before you, it is a sight that never fails to impress. At Elie I continued my journey, from yesterday, riding along the coast road, high over the waters of the Forth. On through, St Monance, Pittenweem and Anstruther, before turning for home.

“Summer time and the living is easy”

Tuesday, I think I will have a rest day, or at least a day away from the bike, maybe a walk down by the harbour.

Keep safe.      

One thought on “ Monday – Dhobi wallah day.

  1. idlecyclist says:

    You’re making me want to go back and rediscover Wilbur Smith 😊

    Like

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