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Stokebailey and sometimes family: three weeks in London, Fife, Glasgow, and Avignon.

Stokebailey and sometimes family: three weeks in London, Fife, Glasgow, and Avignon.

Old Oct 4th, 2022, 04:34 PM
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I am well and thoroughly smacked down.

The Moneypennys were the last ancestor reference I had intended, as the reason I ever discovered Fife and Crail. I'm grateful to them for that.
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Old Oct 4th, 2022, 07:51 PM
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Coastal path into Crail Harbour.
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Old Oct 4th, 2022, 07:53 PM
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Working on photo size still.
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Old Oct 4th, 2022, 07:58 PM
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From harbour teahouse, out of the wind.
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Old Oct 4th, 2022, 08:56 PM
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Originally Posted by stokebailey View Post

From harbour teahouse, out of the wind.
That table just outside the window -- not the one with the glasses but the cleared table next to it with just the pot of sugar and rock paperweight . . . I've sat at that very table my last two visits to Crail.
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Old Oct 5th, 2022, 06:26 AM
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Isn't that a lovely teahouse, janis? Bright young servers just attentive enough. I'd been out by the harbour long enough that day to value a sheltered indoors spot.
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Old Oct 5th, 2022, 07:33 AM
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has the table been blue badged?
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Old Oct 5th, 2022, 07:52 AM
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CRAIL!



You can pay for the bus with a contactless card, which I had forgotten at home, or with exact change, which I luckily had.



#92A lets you off at Bowling Green stop, just around the corner from Hazelton Guest House. I canít praise this traditional B&B enough. The hosts live on the 3rd/2nd floor with their young son, and do just a beautiful job. Everything is high quality: the bed, the linens, the breakfasts. I got a bright ensuite room overlooking the street, almost always quiet. Kettle, tea, cookies. £90/night.



Chris advised me on where to get supper on that Saturday evening, by then around 18:00, and kind of steered me to Balcomie Links Hotel, recently re-opened with traditional fare. It was under a half mile walk past the church, seemingly heading out of town. I could smell the sea air. No other pedestrians. The hotel is recently redone and attractive, and indeed attached to a golf course. Iím dislike eating out by myself in the evenings, but I liked the looks of the menu. Yes! to a bowl of that soup. Place ~2/3 full, bright. The hostess finished smilingly seating a couple as I stood by the bar, but then turned to me. Just you? she loudly asked. I had to admit that was the case. I had the impression I had spoiled her day. Could I get a bowl of soup to take away, then, if itís going to be an issue? She directed a server to set me up, but at that point I realized, Nah. I thanked the sweet young server laying me a table by the kitchen door, and left. Rudeness incident 2/2 the entire trip, and by a non-Scot. Iíd still recommend the restaurant, but maybe donít be a single woman dropping in on a Saturday night.



Now what? Chris had also mentioned the Golf Hotel across from the guest house for its pub fare, but exploring a little farther I got to the fish and chips place. Wow that fish. I sat down on a street bench to dig in while hot. So good. I ended up eating a lifetimeís worth of fish and chips in those three days, between Crail and Anstruther, but Iíd have more of that fish right now if I could.



Sunday morning dawned with a light rain. You make breakfast choice the night before, and I went for the kippers, as first eaten at a Hampstead B&B with my mother on my first London trip and hardly ever since. Chris cooks, Robyn serves. Do not miss those kippers! Tender locally-smoked mackerel filets with poached egg. Generous sideboard. Those three breakfasts dominate my all-time top 10.



Crail has a 12th C church with churchyard, services 1100 on Sundays. What better chance to sit in an ancient building and hear those beautiful Scottish accents for an hour? I thought the (?priest ?minister) was remarkably good, charming, melancholy, but sorry to hear music as modern bad as at an American Catholic service. I fear for the future of such places. The congregationís average age may have been 70, with no one younger than 50 by my estimate. No christenings here, I bet, and few weddings. I mentioned to Robyn that she might want to look in there sometime, but she may have suspected me of trying to evangelize her. Not guilty. Chris later told me that John Knox had stopped in there to preach on his way to St. Andrews.



I said to the fish & chips guy: ďThis used to be a fishing village, and now itísÖ.Ē ďA retirement home.Ē Not really, but it would be a charming place to retire. And of course they still fish.



I finally got down to the harbor when the day cleared. Oh, my. So beautiful. Ancient stonework. The sea, the wind. It was low tide, and the circular man-made harbor was almost drained, a few boats grounded. I walked up along the Coastal Path aways, snitched ripe blackberries over the wall, then back to Reilly Shellfish shack, which I had previously scoped out as being open Sundays, got a lobster roll. When I came back at high tide, saw how boats could now come to shelter and out.
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Old Oct 5th, 2022, 07:53 AM
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Bilbo, afraid you've lost me.
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Old Oct 5th, 2022, 08:01 AM
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Stoke, firstly, it's lovely to see your highly entertaining TR here and I am loving the photos whatever the size. How wonderful to be exploring the country of your ancestors, but a shame that the knowledge is not accompanied by a title.

Secondly I owe you a huge apology for not replying to your email telling me that you had landed in the UK. Sadly [so far as us meeting up again was concerned] I was just leaving to go to Germany to see my friends there and in all that excitement replying to you was overlooked.

Thirdly, thanks for the credit for introducing you to dim sum. Sorry you couldn't find the place where we ate them, but I doubt I could either as I haven't been back to London since our GTG there in ?2018? Hope the ones you did find were just as good .

Fourthly, your peon of praise to the toilets on the train you were on caught my eye, only because it was so different from the experience that I had on a train from Bath to Bristol [or vice versa] back in the spring, when right in the corner of the carriage for all to see was the largest toilet compartment I have ever seen on a train with a huge door that wouldn't shut, so it was neither use nor ornament.

BTW [the numbers are getting too much for me] you are not alone in mistiming arrivals. I managed to organise my trip to Paris in May to coincide with Ascension Day which turns out to be a huge public holiday in France with the entire country seemingly having decided to come to Paris. How inconsiderate!

Please keep both TR and photos coming.
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Old Oct 5th, 2022, 08:05 AM
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https://www.english-heritage.org.uk/...-blue-plaques/

The same scheme exists in Scotland but the website isn't as decorative.
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Old Oct 5th, 2022, 08:16 AM
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Crail Church.

Walking to Balcomie.

Low tide with lobster pots.
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Old Oct 5th, 2022, 08:32 AM
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Just joking, love the write up, I put a twitter image up here but does it work?? No. So you get Freddy


We blue plaque important things expecially a space has been used by famous people

Stokebailey and sometimes family: three weeks in London, Fife, Glasgow, and Avignon.-freddie_mercury_-28fred_bulsara-29_1946-1991_singer_and_songwriter_lived_here.jpg

Last edited by bilboburgler; Oct 5th, 2022 at 08:35 AM.
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Old Oct 5th, 2022, 08:44 AM
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Aw, thanks, Ann. I never know whether emails get through anyway. Did you notice that our Lady Macbeth, Anna Netrebko, has been disinvited to sing recently for standing by her man Putin? I bet Germany was fun. And who'd have thought France would celebrate something called Ascension Day?

This dim sum platter was all right, but I needed you there to help select the best ones.

I'd dislike a title; wouldn't have a clue how to flaunt it. Reading how the ancient lords treated their people makes me especially glad we live in a more merit-based world.

Ha, thanks for blue badge explanation.
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Old Oct 6th, 2022, 07:52 AM
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SchrŲdinger showed up, bilbo. Good one.

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Old Oct 6th, 2022, 07:59 AM
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I think they call those roof lines "crow's step," remnants of Dutch trading. Lots of them around town.

Sunday morning I stopped into the quick mart to buy a newspaper, saw that Liz Truss had won. When I remarked on this to the counterman, he seemed mystified, took the paper and started reading headlines. My outland accent, or did he have any idea there was a PM race on?
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Old Oct 6th, 2022, 08:09 AM
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Crail Town Hall weathervane with, fittingly, a haddock.
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Old Oct 6th, 2022, 08:42 AM
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Great report. Keep going. (no problem with photo size)
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Old Oct 6th, 2022, 09:58 AM
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ST. ANDREWS AND A DISTILLERY for a non-golfer, non-whisky drinker



Monday I had previously planned to visit St. Andrews and tour Kingsbarns Distillery, so I followed through with this. The partner of a dear old friend has finally finished, after international research, a historical juvenile novel about the origins of golf. A cool-sounding premise, where a long-ago group of ~ 12 year old friends, boys and girls, pool their various talents and resources to come up with the game.



I’ve tried to read the manuscript without much success, and I don’t play golf, but I told them I’d visit their beloved Old Course and walk around, experience it and the town. Also, I had planned to stop off at the distillery on the way back, maybe walk down to the shore. You can buy a day bus pass, but today could only take a shuttle to Kingsbarns from Crail.



As I waited at the stop after another stellar breakfast – this time the smoked salmon and eggs – a couple approached me, the woman calling, “Hi, yah!” I hadn’t registered that as the friendly greeting in these parts. They turned out to be Americans with a pleasant old-hippie look who were staying by the harbor for a week, in the UK for six weeks to consolidate their air travel. I applaud this, would love to do the same. Going to St. Andrews with a list of bookshops; what sorts of books were they looking for? Social justice, environmental racism type issues, and they planned to get another suitcase to carry their books home to Virginia. Good for them. (Maybe too hippie even for internet shopping?) I started trying Hi-Yah after that, found it worked.



Somehow I couldn’t warm up to the parts of St. Andrews I saw, even after cappuccino at Niblicks Brasserie atop the World Golf Museum. It was a beautiful very warm day, and it’s definitely a beautiful course, along the sea. I watched a man sink a tricky putt, cheered. I thought about getting an Old Course baseball-type cap for my golfer daughter at a shop nearby, took it to the counter. £30? She seemed to agree with my decision to put it back. I walked up past the University onto a shopping street, felt too much American money in the air. I knew I was missing the very best of the town but didn’t have it in me to look, found the Byre bus stop and headed back to cozy East Neuk.



Revitalized, with day pass still in pocket and a 14:00 tour booked, I caught the hourly shuttle to Cambo Gardens, one stop before Kingsbarns village. It’s a lovely walk from the road to the distillery past recently harvested fields, with the Cambo woods to your left. I had gotten there early, hoping to get to the beach, but the Distillery woman thought it would be impossible to cut through the Kingsbarns links to the sea, dangerous, illegal, private course. I saw that there was a track leading down through the fields, then green links, then beach, but didn’t attempt it. Anyway, I knew the Toasty Cheese Shack would not have been open on a Monday.



It’s an interesting £12 one-hour tour of a fairly new distillery, built onto an ancient farm building and dovecote. There were seven in our group, including two American men there to golf St. Andrews, but not at Kingsbarns links, which was too expensive. Kingsbarns Distillery doesn’t put age on labels or peat in the mix. All the barley is grown within 50 miles, and they send the mash to England for malting because they’re guaranteed to get their own (50 mile grown) product back. Informative and entertaining. There was of course a tasting at the end, pretty much wasted on me. I dutifully took a few sips, thought it might be possible to develop a palate for that sort of thing. I don’t really need any more expensive tastes.



The roads are narrow, without a walkable shoulder. It would be treacherous either to walk or bicycle along. I could not have walked the mile to Kingsbarns village, would not have waited by the road for the next hourly westbound shuttle. How did people without cars, say 60 years ago, get from place to place? Are there public footpaths as in England?



Since I’d burned through my last day in Fife, and day pass burned a hole in my pocket, and my fish & chips place was closed, I decided to take the 92A further into Anstruther, got off in the center by the harbor. Lots of sailboats, a more accessible harbor and larger town. Now to find an interesting place for supper. My eye was caught by people crowding into, yes, Anstruther Fish Restaurant facing the harbor. Of course, I queued up. This place has cute uniformed teen servers and more options , but I eliminated variables and got fish and chips, haddock, as at Crail. I sat on a bench, admired the boats, dug in. This place had a letter from Camilla posted by the entrance, praising their product, but I still prefer Crail Fish Bar and Cafť, takeaway only.

Last edited by stokebailey; Oct 6th, 2022 at 10:06 AM.
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Old Oct 6th, 2022, 09:58 AM
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Thanks, k!
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