Friday, March 31, 2023


This morning, although its not yet seven, there are twenty or so students clustered on the dunes. The boys are throwing a rugby ball around and drinking beers, the girls are clustered round a small fire and eating pretzels. I'd guess that they've been here for some time. Nothing like warmer days and shorter nights to bring the students out of hibernation.

Sophie sniffs the air and bounds off  across the beach. She has pretzels on her mind.  Angus follows, helplessly - borderline gormlessly, after her. The word 'stop!' no longer in the divas vocabulary. Sophie, completely fearless, heads into the crowd of students. This 'get to know you' technique is rewarded with a pretzel. Angus isn't so much ignored as treated as if he's completely invisible. Sophie is encouraged away.

There was a  concert in the town church last Saturday but apart from that there have been few signs that the coronation is less than six weeks away. This may be about to change. In Marks and Spencers Union Flag bunting makes an appearance. Two thirds of the bunting has already gone although it was only put out on display last night. I'll bet that after Easter 'Coronation Fever' will hit big time.

Uniformity beats distinctiveness. The picture of modern cars at the bottom of this article caught my eye. Could you tell the difference ? :

On the radio this morning a blast from the far distant past :

Thursday, March 30, 2023

Muted dress code.


Warm ( by Scottish standards ) but overcast. Despite the early hour the golf courses are already busy with townsfolk and students. We pass a large group of cheerful and talkative Spanish golfers heading off to the first tee. They are all 'colourfully' dressed. Green is clearly the in colour for Spanish golfers. There must be a dozen different shades on display - most unknown to nature. Their no holds barred colour schemes stand out in contrast to the locals who tend towards a more muted dress code.

Sophie wanders off to investigate a large strand of kelp that has washed ashore. Life , for a PON, is never boring although she is quite clearly disappointed that the kelp is not edible.

Salt water and humid air do little to generate that pristine  'Kennel Club' look. In the back of the car Sophie is toweled, briskly, dry. Much of the water and sand , but not all, is removed. By the time we make it to the Jaffa Cake cafe she has stopped looking bedraggled and has reverted to looking merely 'unkempt'. 

We're the first clients in the Farm Shop. In fact we're the only clients in the farm shop. 'The Font' wants a bottle of Noilly Prat for a prawn risotto. It is not as easy to find as you might think.

Mushrooms start to make an appearance.

This is playing on the car radio as we come home :

So starts a quiet Thursday on the North Sea coast with a lively and inquisitive Polish Lowland Sheepdog lady. Today we await the delivery of the Simnel Cake.

Wednesday, March 29, 2023

A friends ear.


It's been a busy morning. The village has been checked, arthritic Archie greeted and the Jack Russells ignored. Now, after a hail drenched walk on the beach, the best thing a girl can do is curl up on a carpet and gnaw the ear of an old and trusted friend. A restorative nap may follow. A divas life is never dull.

Tuesday, March 28, 2023

Returning fast.

Out along the path at first light. Sophie barrels ahead, head down, in search of adventure. We're watched by the local deer who seem to have formed two , possibly three, family groups. Four of them are standing in middle of the fallow field munching away. Four more are walking in a line across the freshly ploughed field between the wee house and the shore. There seem to be more of them down by the salt lake but they're too far away for me to be sure how many there are. The young ones are growing fast.  A large flight of geese fly overhead heading north. Life is returning, fast, to this quiet corner of the north.

The bright mornings have got the runners out on the beach. Twenty or so of them scurrying backwards and forwards this morning. Sophie barks at those in day-glo yellow but ignores the others. We meet a very patrician man from the golf club who is heading off to Berlin for the state visit. It seems the new King will be received with military honours at the Brandenburg Gate. This is the first time this has happened in eighty years. I have to do some hasty mental arithmetic to fathom out why it's such a rarity. Plus ca change.

Back through town to the bacon roll cafe.  St Andrews is a town of farmers and their Range Rovers. This electric blue example is most definitely not owned by a local farmer. It would look more at home in Santa Monica.

The flower beds are resplendent. I'm guessing the university works department wanted them to be at their best for the Netflix shoot. The colour scheme is what my mother would have described as 'cheery'.

The gentlemans outfitter a few doors along from the cheese mongers has a new window display. Angus notices an unusual pair of shoes. They too fall in the category of being 'cheery'. Perhaps the Range Rover driver will be interested ? I find myself voicing an involuntary and shocked ' Oh my God !'.  Another sign that I have now completely morphed into my father.

Monday, March 27, 2023

Gentle grandeur.


Up early talking to the super smart Los Angeles folks. Lots to discuss this morning. Netanyahu fires his defence minister, Trump launches his bid for the White House, a troubled Macron plans to head off to China and King Charles inks in a quick visit to Berlin. Then , of course, there's the banks. It's as if at the end of the pandemic the troubles started. 

While I talk Sophie pretends to doze but as soon as the Zoom link is turned off she's up and standing at the door. Why be indoors when you can be outside ? We are , once again, the first ones on the beach.

Looking north the sky is blue.

Looking south it's altogether less calm.

We manage to battle the freezing wind and flurries of hail for twenty five minutes  before Angus suggests that it's time to head home. Sophie ignores me until I utter the magic word 'cookies'. This is the key to get her scampering towards the car .

Inflation has taken the price of the bakers uninspiring croissants to an exorbitant £2.90. Hot Cross Buns are £2.00 which also strikes me as expensive. There again Angus long ago lost all track of what things cost.

We go to the student cafe for a coffee, a bowl of water and a sliver of shortbread. Amid the foliage of a laurel bush on the corner of the pavement facing the bus station we find a plaque.

The stone in question sits in a small patch of gravel and is surrounded by a broken vodka bottle and beer cans. It is not an impressive thing although the story that the pikemen touched it on the way to Bannockburn 700 years ago gives it a gentle grandeur.

Sunday, March 26, 2023

Differential grooming.


Good morning from Sophie who is devoting her day to finding out just how much water and sand her fur can absorb. Yesterday, the fur on her front legs proved resistant to combing and was trimmed. This ' focus on one small area at a time' grooming technique may be rolled out to other parts of her anatomy as the weather warms up. It was over and done before she could complain. 

Overnight the clocks have changed . The beach empty. Other dog owners still seem to be tucked up safe and warm inside. It's just as possible that they've looked out of the window and decided to defer their morning beach excursion until the weather improves.

We walk a mile down the beach and a mile back up it without seeing another soul. Back at the good coffee cafe we pass the flower window. There's a new vase and some cheerful tulips  but the term papers on the table seem not to have moved. Perhaps they're not term papers but draft chapters for a book ? A grey Tesla draws up and parks on the other side of the road. These were a relatively rare sight but seem to have become much more common place over the last six months. 

Looking at the sky I'd say the chances are 50-50 but if the weather improves Sophie will be taken down to the harbour before lunch to see her first Sunday pier walk :

Saturday, March 25, 2023

Rainbow days.

There are good days.

Then there are days that are even better. 

Sometimes there are off the scale days when you get flakes of roast salmon from last nights dinner with your breakfast kibbles, have a walk on the beach, shoot the breeze with arthritic Archie and a group of wild Pomeranians , receive an ear tickle from the girl behind the bar in the student cafe AND are rewarded with a digestive biscuit. Those sort of days aren't merely good - they're the sort of day when rainbows appear as you walk along the track home.

So starts a Saturday morning with a family Polish Lowland Sheepdog who is experiencing a joy overload and skipping along with infectious happiness.

Whoever knew this existed at the hottest place on earth ? Can it really have hit C56.7 ? -

Friday, March 24, 2023

Dog pictures.

Sophie is still keeping close tabs on me.

She trots out of the house and stands, carefully positioned by the gate, to make sure I don't make a dash for freedom.

As we head off along the track that leads to the sea she turns with an undeniable 'Just when you thought you'd got them trained they wander ' feistiness in her look.

Down on the beach a dead herring attracts her attention. This enables Angus to  wander on ahead.

The good weather brings out the students. At the good coffee cafe all the outside seats are already taken. The weather is once again in one of its well behaved wet at night, sunny and dry during the day moods.

Angus wanted to go to this exhibition in the Wallace Collection on Manchester Square but he got the dates wrong :   This, for reasons that may be apparent, is my favourite :


Thursday, March 23, 2023

Mildly admonitory.


Sophie keeps a close eye on me. She wants to make sure that this errant part of her flock doesn't escape again.  Her attitude is mildly admonitory although an emotional reunion at the airport has done much to restore trust. A long walk on the beach and a trip to the bacon roll cafe will soon get the relationship back on a even keel.

Remember those charity collection displays from the 1960's ? The local airport arrivals hall has not one ... 

.... but two of them. The sheepdog nestling up to an ever so slightly squiffy  lamb is so improbable it makes me chuckle aloud. There also used to be a charity that used old sea mines, painted red and white, to collect loose change. I wonder if any still exist ?

The arrivals/departure hall has a bar at one end. I presume this is busy when the flights full of oil rig workers head off to Shetland . This morning the lady behind the counter is a solitary figure.

London was bright but gusty. 60 mph winds make both arrival and departure in the little propellor plane  'sporty'.

Wednesday, March 22, 2023

Momentary panic.


Angus is flying to London. With Easter and the Coronation on the horizon this is the last pre-summer chance to travel while things are calm and hotels still have rooms.

Before he goes there's time for a quick walk on the beach ....

... where an incoming wave catches Sophie off guard. There is momentary panic followed by a shriek.

Then to the bookstore to find something to read on the plane. By this stage Sophie's paws are largely dry. After a sliver of shortbread and a bowl of water at the student cafe she once again regains her composure.

The Coronation will be screened live outside the town kirk . Here, in the village, the widescreen television last used at the late Queens funeral will be set up in the village hall. Wine and sandwiches will be provided. Volunteers are sought to put up the bunting.

Tuesday, March 21, 2023

Vertical take off.

Village, town and beach thoroughly checked by the PONette. All, with the possible exception of the Jack Russells and the village pig , are declared to be in order. As a reward for such diligence the family diva is taken to the Jaffa Cake cafe for an early morning treat.

The two pigeons that call the front garden home have become four pigeons. They sit on the fence and watch Sophie. This insouciance drives the PONette wild. She emits the concrete shredding shriek reserved for such occasions.  Did you know pigeons can take off vertically ?

So starts a super quiet Scottish Tuesday morning with a Polish Lowland Sheepdog. 

Yesterday a super enthusiastic Sophie met an American student making a video on her beach. It's now appeared on YouTube. I wonder why she's been edited out ? 


Monday, March 20, 2023

Three swans


Sophie starts her Monday morning with a thorough tour of the village. Jack Russells are greeted, the village pig glared at and a number of startled pheasants chased - ineptly. Three swans fly, low, over us. They're the first of many heading North. The sound of their wings makes Sophie look up. Two young deer come face to face with a stone wall for the first time. Their mothers leap over it in a single, graceful, bound. The youngsters take half a dozen increasingly panicked attempts before they manage. I feel like cheering when the smaller of the two finally makes it. One of natures ' look what I can do !' moments.

The beach pretty much deserted. In fact for the first twenty minutes of our walk it is deserted.

We head off to the good coffee cafe. Twenty or so yards down the road three people are standing on the pavement watching a small but steady trickle of water cascade from a second floor bathroom window onto the ground below. An ever  changing group of hotel residents on the other side of the road pop out to see what's going on.  In a small Scottish coastal town you take your excitement where you can find it.

The yellow carnations in the window of the house facing the cinema lasted a full three weeks. This morning they've been replaced by some bright orange roses. The term papers on the table inside the house don't seem to have been touched in a month... or possibly since we arrived.

The cafe that was the centre of the Netflix filming is once again fully open. Power has been restored after the fuse box incident. A freshly painted sign in the window says ' Where Kate met Will ' . It has now had a second ,qualifying, line added to it - ' For Coffee'.