The day was looking good but the forecast was rain, almost at any time during the day. I headed up over the hill and dropped all the way down to Elie, I really like this wee back road, even although it is a bit of a climb, you know you will be rewarded with a big weeeeeeeeeeeeee down the other side all the way to the sea.
When mum died I retired back to Scotland and this is where I settled, Elie. Tim and I loved it, long walks along the beach each and every morning. The winters were best, with the sun making an early morning call, peeking tentatively over the horizon, sending a red glow before us, that set the cottage windows, that lined the crescent bay, aflame, and picked out their stonework in all the colours and texture of an impressionists pallet. As we walked the sands, the sea would hissing up the beach, then quickly retreat once more. Tim would scamper off to chase crows that dined at natures table, digging with strong beaks into the seaweed discarded in a long black streak along, that day, high tide mark.
Tim spend the last years of his life in Elie, I would like to think they were happy ones.
I had sold my old folk boat by this time however when I first ventured down to the harbour, to look over the boats, safely ashore for the winter,
I spotted one with a For Sale sign on it – £150.00. No that can’t be right. I made enquiries and found, that yes, the price was correct, and for a reason, it leaked, (the only cargo a ship hates to carry, leeks). Water was coming in where the twin keels bolted onto the bilge. But the lad assured me it was not a problem, the little pump he had installed kept it afloat.
Yes, I thought, until one day the keel dropped off.
I bought the little leisure craft (much like the red one in the photograph)
and after removing the keels, one at a time, renewed the seals and bolts, and since it had been neglected over the years, a rub down and a fresh coat of paint was in order, sky blue. Then came the brightwork, new Perspex windows, oh, and a new mainsail. In all I spend around £600.00 + the initial cost of the boat. So very pleased with that, bought at the right price. Tim and I went down to the boat most days during the summer season and managed out most of them, but when we couldn’t get out it was a great place to go, there will always be something to do around a boat, and making pots of tea, and read a pleasant distraction. Tim spent most of the time snoozed, but always the one-eyed gunner, less I moved without him.
The euphoria ended when I broke my leg, I realised this was no place for old men, with no real shops or amenities, would I always be fit enough to jump on a bus into Leven, for food, shopping a haircut………? No better to move when I still can. Coming to St Andrews was a wise move.
The day was still very hot, even with the sea breeze, but black clouds were rushing in at an alarming rate, time to skedaddle. The wind coming over had been no friend and was having real trouble making up its mind as to the direction of travel. Leaving Elie for Anstruther it was almost on the nose, ho-hum.
I did not dropdown into Anstruther, as would be the norm, but headed straight for home, the wind, at last, was more helpful and I arrived home just after 3 o’clock in the afternoon – I had been away over four hours. I felt fit to drop, I really mean that, I was pooped. I had not been drinking enough water, one bottle clearly is not enough in this weather – but when you are playing around the doors you do not realise the distance you have travelled or the time you have been on the bike, to you it is just a wee run, to your body it is Help! I will start carrying two bottles from now on and possibly an energy drink.
One of the pictures taken, was of a plaque down at the harbour,
that asks you to follow the Millennium Cycle Way ‘The Tom, The Earl and The Saint’ this was trail taken by the ‘Fish Cadgers’ (women) who carried their creels of fish from Elie all the way to Falkland to sell their wares. Far enough on a bike, far less carrying a large basket of fish on your back.
(Cycle Way is just a euthanise for putting up little numbered signs, alongside the road signs that tell you Falkland X miles, not a dedicated cycleway as you will find all over Europe.) and it’s your fault if you are killed by a car, lorry or god forbid a bus because you were not wearing a cycle helmet.
If you believe cycle helmets should be made compulsory, ask Google how many people, per year, are admitted to A&E suffering from head injuries sustained falling from a bicycle? Now try how many people, per year, are admitted to A&E with head injuries sustained whilst out walking. OK more people walk than cycle, but even so the percentage of people suffering head injuries falling from a bike are tiny in comparison. I am not saying cyclists should NOT wear a cycle helmet, what I am saying is if you make it compulsory to wear one, you will put the very people off cycling that you should be encouraged to take up cycling in the first place, for their health and that of the NHS. And yes I do wear a helmet (some of the time).