Post Card from Balmarino Abbey

 With the skies clear and as blue as a duck’s egg I set off for Leuchars, then St Michael before turning off on the road for Wormit. This is one of my favourite back roads, passing through wooded areas and open countryside. I stopped to take a picture of one of the many Rowan Trees have self-seeded themselves in great numbers along the roadside. Their branches hanging in a mass of berries,

“Is that the time already?”

Just before the village I turned left for Balmirino Abbey. It was two winters ago I last visited the Abbey for I remember that the Spanish Chestnut tree was devoid of leaves and looked rather neglected and forlorn.

The story goes that Queen Ermengarde planted the Spanish Chestnut at the time of the laying of the foundations for the abbey. Sadly the National Trust spoiled the story by having it dated and the tree is a mere 400-436 years old. Sounds old to me. Also,

I remember I had to climb over a padlocked gate. And since I did not fancy reverting to being a boy soprano, the exercise was carried out very carefully, since it had spikes all along the top.

The outline of the foundations are still prominent in the grass and a cross set where the alter would have once stood.

Little is left of the abbey walls, although I’m sure much of its stone will still be found in the dwelling around the area.

The little church at Balmirino is still in use and the smaller church hall behind the main building architecturally is much more pleasing to the eye.

Slow Down, Red Squirrels.

You do see a lot of Red Squirrels across a great swage of North East Fife. Red V Grey has been going on since the1930s when it dawned on some people that the grey squirrels were causing the demise of the red squirrels. There was even a scheme where if you handed in the tail of a grey squirrels at the police station, you would be rewarded with a shine new shilling.

In Cumbria, a former gymnast, Julie Bailey, got all hot under the collar about this interloper killing off all the red squirrels, and started shooting and eating the grey variety, (they tell me they taste just like chicken). The good folks of Cumbria got on board with this and it led to ‘Red Squirrels United’ supported by no other than Prince Charles. On Anglesey, 6,000 grey squirrels were culled and this led to the recovery of the red squirrel, now standing at 700, back from the brink. The culling of squirrels is highly controversial, invasive or not grey squirrels are loved by many and there has been a backlash at the culling of the greys. Grey squirrels were introduced into Britain 140 years ago, how many years do they have to live in the UK before they become, well British?

Now squirrels are great little acrobats, so I suggest they get themselves organised, enter the Olympics and win a few gold medals, that will guarantee their future, and oh boy how the money will roll in, training camps, game show hosts and BBC presenters of sports programmes.……..

On my return I stopped to take a picture of a field of solar panels, not sure why, just seemed like a good idea at the time.

Onto the main road once more the traffic was nose to tail. In Leuchars the traffic was at a standstill, road works at Guardbridge, time to hit the cycle path and pavements.

Home once more. The wind today was around 9-10 mph so the headwind home made the heat of the morning appear much cooler than it really was, giving me a raging thirst, so two pots of tea today.

Stay safe.    

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