It’s Fife Jim but not as you know it! – 21 June 2014

A quiet Saturday. No football or golf so we decide to drive up the Fife coast to Elie and have a late lunch.  It turns into a perfect illustration of what I am trying to do and why.

Great weather, sunny and fantastic visibility as we go over the Forth Road Bridge   The most iconic structure in Scotland on our right, the Rail Bridge and the new road link on the left looking about half completed.    Will be an extraordinary 3 cross when it is finished.  Amanda asks what they will do with the old road bridge and I tell her they are going to convert it into the longest and most difficult golf hole in the world.  She doesn’t buy it.  But why not?  What a tourist attraction.  Salmond is a golfer.  I will e mail him with my idea on Monday.

We decide to take the coastal tourist trail rather than the motorway and switch on the radio. Immediate clash between the choice of programmes.  Off The Ball or Tony Blackburn reading out the charts from 1977 and 1981.  (I won’t do the obvious joke that one of them is a hackneyed, unchanged piece of nostalgia and the other is.  .. !!)

OTB is my favourite radio programme. Tam Cowan and Stuart Cosgrove have created and kept fresh a unique show.  To take the subject of Scottish football, twist it and find new interpretations while maintaining its sharpness and relevance is remarkable.  Outspoken, funny and football daft.  What’s not to love – I have got to know and like Tam over the last years.  We share the same MFC sickness.  A MFC season ticket is for life not just Christmas.  But 1977 was the year Amanda got into the National Youth Theatre and the same year I left Scotland to join the Inland Revenue’s National Tax Avoidance team.  So key for both of us.  We compromised.  OTB til it ended then switched!!

As we listened to the music from that year I understood why I gave up, why those were my wilderness years musically. God.  But that dismay was lightened by Amanda’s encyclopaedic knowledge of Fife towns and their pronunciation.  Brilliant.

First up Burntisland. Not to Amanda.  No it is apparently.  Burnt is land.  Nearly crashed the car.  But the best was to come.

No 2 that week in 1977 was Rod Stewart ‘I don’t want to talk about it’ I slipped in that I had actually sung that song with Rod and as an encore ‘You wear it well.’ Good card.  Best to play it subtly as I am sure I did.  Then the no 1.  Lucille.  Classic C&W.  Haven’t sung it with Kenny but have belted it out badly in bars and Karaoke sessions all over the world.  Getting into my stride when Amanda distracts me.  Passing the sign for Methil.  She taps my arm.

‘Is that the town in that song?’

I can see it coming but I play along.

‘What town? What song?’

‘You know. Met hill.’

‘Met hill?’

‘Yes. Met hill!!  In the song, what’s it called, by the Proclaimers?’

I can’t keep it up any longer.

‘Letter from America?’

‘Yes, that’s it. Met hill.’

‘No love. I think you’ll find its Methil.’

Long pause. ‘I thought it didn’t sound right.’


Two perfect moments. Burnt is land and Met Hill.  New memories to overlay the ones from 1977.



  1. We end up having a late lunch at the Anstruther Chip Shop.  We would have eaten at the Ship in Elie if they hadn’t told us at 2.35 that food sales stopped at 2.30!!!
  2. As we drove there we passed Lundin Links golf course.  Brought back the year my marriage finished and, how before I met Amanda, my boys came up to support me.  Went away to play Lundin, Elie, and then Crail, finishing up on the Saturday going to Tannadice for the United Motherwell game.  Really helped.
  3. In the car coming home on Sunday I caught a repeated session on Radio Scotland – featured a John Fullbright song I hadn’t heard.  Never Cry Again.  Fabulous.  I buy it and play it continually as I write this.  Great theme.



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