I am indebted to my elder brother for offering to accompany me to Scotland to pick up my eldest daughter at the end of her first year at university. (I can't believe that I'm saying that for a start.) Anyway, it has afforded me the opportunity to cycle around Fife for a couple of days, or at least between hanging out with my brother.
So yesterday morning I retraced my steps along the A916 with a little detour past Balgonie Castle. Built around 1296 apparently, by a Knight, Sir Robert Sibbald. It is open to the public by appointment and somewhere that I shall definintely take the boys next time we're up here.
This mornings visit, being in daylight allowed me to take some photos of my old stamping ground. I have nothing but fond memories of the place, but my brother's experience was otherwise.
So shortly after we arrived in the village, my mother took a knock at the front door. Two local kids are standing there. 'Is your boy in?' they ask. My mother, thinking how nice it was that children from the village are so welcoming, invites them in to meet my brother, then about 5, I guess, and leaves them to it in the front room.
'So. Who do you support, Rangers or Celtic?' begins one of the lads. My brother, totally ignorant of the significance of this question in Scotland, thinks for a minute. Mmm, well Rangers starts with an 'R' and Celtic starts with with an S', he thinks. So I'll pick the the last one in the alphabet. 'Seltic' he says confidently. At which point the two boys proceed to beat him up and promptly leave the house!
They became friends later apparently. That was his initiation. He was always forgiving in nature!
I apologise for the pure self-indulgence of this post, but it was so much fun to return to somewhere after so long. I called in at the old house and was kindly shown around by the current owners. My parents had bought it as a wreck, returning it to habitability over the next 18 months, before having to move again with work. Not the original plan.
The house sits at the bottom end of the village opposite my old primary school. That hasn't changed either. Not much modernisation here.
At the bottom of the lane was a turning to the Dovecot that we remember playing around and I was told that I could climb from here back onto the main road to St Andrews via a little muddy track. Can't say I wasn't warned!
For a cyclist, hills are a challenge. Sometimes a grind and sometimes...when they're downhill for miles, just pure unrivalled exhiliration. So it was, cruising into town at just under 40 mph, I arrived in St Andrews. The seat of my daughters learning for the next 4 years. Halleluia!
Definitely coming back here.