I had to drive over to Dunfermline last week to have new tyres fitted to the car. The lease company's designated supplier doesn't have anything more local.
30 minutes there, and the same drive back. An hour for them to do the work. 2 hours lost from the day.
The good news is that I decided to walk around Pittencrieff Park to kill the time, get fresh air and a wee bit of gentle exercise. I thought I hadn't been there before, but realised after a while that I'd been in one of the buildings for a function many years ago.
It was looking great.
The main photo is Pittencrieff House, which is in the park. It dates from 1610. In 1902 it was bought by Andrew Carnegie, and gifted to the town (his birth place).
One of its former occupants was Brigadier General John Forbes. He led the British forces which defeated the French at Fort Duquesne in 1758. He renamed the town Fort Pitt, and later it became Pittsburgh.
Pittsburgh is where Carnegie established his steel company, which he sold in 1901 for $401m.
Kirkcaldy is blessed with lots of beaches and small villages in the surrounding area. Way out east - the East Neuk - they are all picture postcard types. Closer to home, they are more prosaic.
Kinghorn is in the latter category. A rough diamond.
It has 2 little harbours, 2 small beaches, magnificent views over the Firth of Forth, plenty of top end housing to take advantage of those, and a good train connection to Edinburgh. It ought to be thriving.
Instead, it is slightly disfigured by some very run down property, some ugly public housing and 2 static caravan parks. Maybe a bit more than “slightly”.
Anyway, I like the nice bits. The main photo was taken close to dawn on an October Sunday, as 2 fisherman were casting off to head out for the lobster/crab grounds. They seemed perturbed by me taking a photo. Maybe they thought I was from the Benefits Agency.
That harbour hosts the RNLI lifeboat station, and is very close to the centre of the village. The other (Pettycur) is about a mile further west. Both great spots for fresh sea air. 10 minutes by car from the house. 30 minutes if I cycle.
This is becoming a bit of a local institution. It is located a few miles along the coast, west of Kirkcaldy.
The setting is wonderful - see photos.
The range of activities is too wide to detail here - have a look at their website.
I'm a member, and for a short while had a garden plot (8m x 8m) to grow veggies. Sadly it came my way around the time my dad was taken into hospital and between that and trying to watch out for my mother, I didn't have the time to put into it. Big regret.
The full address (for your satnav - or whatever) is Craigencalt Farm, Kinghorn KY3 9YG
This village is a few miles west of Kirkcaldy, just along the coast.
I pass through it on the train every week (at least twice) when I go to Edinburgh. I can see it from the plane if it approaches Edinburgh Airport from the east (normal, as the prevailing wind is southwest).
But in the 13 years I've lived here, I've been in the village just a few times. I've missed out.
It has an award winning sandy beach. It has a cute harbour & boat club. It has a castle. Its has pubs & restaurants. I'm sure it has more, but that's enough to start with.
The castle charges £5 per adult for admission. You'll have to pay to park at the beach (not sure how much). The train service is frequent, and the station is in the centre of the village.
Sitting on the shoreline and surrounded by Ravenscraig Park - the castle has seen better times. In recent years the structure has been damaged, and the levels of maintenance have varied due to funding. The castle has a long history -
The construction of the castle was started in March 1460; finished some four years later by James II. The plan had been to build two drum shaped towers with a gun platform connecting them. The east tower is 43 feet in diameter and the west is 38 feet. The west tower is beleived to be the the place of residence of Queen Mary of Gueldres after the death of her husband, King James.
In 1470 the castle was sold to Lord St Clair. The payment was in the form of an estate in Kirkwall and a title in the Orkneys. This is the same St Clair family who many know through the Da Vinci Code novel of Dan Brown. Locally the name of St Clair and Rosslyn are used quite freely - so could it be there is another Rosslyn Chapel, this one in Fife?