St. Andrews, clinging to the edge of the Fife coast, is an oddity in so many ways. With a skyline to die for and a wind you just want to avoid, it’s overrun for most of the year by students and for the rest of the time by those who come to worship at the mecca of golf. And yet despite these shoals of visitors (not to mention royal affiliations) it somehow clings on to its small-town identity.
And what does it mean to me? Born and brought up in Fife, I knew it first as the bearer of a bucket, spade and swimsuit. Later, for four whole years, it became my alma mater, and more recently I’ve found myself drawn back there. A trip to Fife in 2007 sparked A Kettle of Fish, which in turn sent me digging up events that took place there long before as part of a new novel.
But soon it will be in the news again for very different reasons, and I’m taking the opportunity to launch a series of blog posts about St. Andrews, to acknowledge and celebrate its importance in my life as well as the lives of so many others.
Although I’ve missed the A-Z blog challenge I’ll probably keep to the same format, but won’t promise to finish in any particular timescale (and certainly not by April 29th!) as I’d like to take time over a trip which will be mostly unashamed nostalgia with a few digressions along the way.
I think I’ll call it Alumnus Alphabet and I hope to begin in the next few days. Of course I’d love any other St. Andrians out there to come along to add impressions or memories. Lords and commoners are equally welcome.
I’ll try to keep embarrassing photos to a minimum, but you might like to try guessing the year this one was taken.