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War Memorial and War Grave, St Monans

The War Memorial stands in St Monans Church yard overlooking the sea and is a Celtic Cross surmounting a trapezoidal plinth. The inscription reads, “Erected by St Monance Parish in memory of those who fell in the Great War 1914 -1919.”

St Monans War Memorial

Great War names:-

St Monans War Memorial 4

Names for the Great War. St Monans Kirk in background:-

St Monans War Memorial 2

World War 2 Names. “Remember also the men of this parish who gave their lives in the war 1939-1945.”:-

St Monans War Memorial 3

There is one war grave in the churchyard. Deck Hand W Innes, RNR, HMS Victory, 20/3/1916, age 21. Possibly a casualty of the Battle of Jutland:-

St Monans, War Grave

St Monans

St Monans (sometimes spelled St Monance) is a seaside village in the East Neuk of Fife.

Its church, standing as it does prominently above the village and visible from the main A 917 road between Pittenweem and Elie, must be one of the most painted in Scotland certainly in Fife.

Church from village:-

St Monans Kirk From Village

From access road:-

St Monans Kirk From Access Road

From graveyard:-

St Monans  Kirk 2

Isle of May from St Monans:-

Isle of May from St Monans

Rocks at St Monans:-

Rocks at St Monans, Fife

Panorama of village and sea:-

St Monans Panorama

War Memorials, St Athernase Church, Leuchars

Memorial altar:-

St Athernase

Leuchars was home to an RAF base for almost 100 years starting in 1916 and ending in 2015. It now hosts an army base.

The RAF had a close association with St Athernase Church. The refurbishment going on (see previous post on St Athernase) meant the memorials had been temporarily removed from the walls.

Memorial to ex-cadets of 1302 (St Andrews) Squadron Air Training Corps who died in World War 2:-

Air Cadets Memorial, St Athernase Church, Leuchars

547 Squadron Memorial:-

547 Squadron Memorial, St Athernase Church, Leuchars

Memorial to the hospitality shown by the people of Leuchars to Dutch members of the armed forces during World War 2:-

Memorial St Athernase Church, Leuchars

St Athernase Church, Leuchars, Fife

Parts of St Athernase date back to the twelfth century. It was undergoing renovation when we visited and it looked like a long project. It seems to have reopened in March this year.

Church from the gateway:-

St Athernase

That apse is a very distinctive feature.

From path:-

St Athernase

Close to:-

St Athernase Church, Leuchars, Fife

While we were looking round its grounds the incumbent Minister, a former RAF chaplain, came up to talk to us and invited us inside.

Ancient archway. Note large crack:-

Interior St Athernase Church, Leuchars

Within the apse there are several carved heads which give the place a Viking feel:-

Carved Head, St Athernase Church, Leuchars, Fife

Second Carved Head, St Athernase Church, Leuchars, Fife

A lot of the stonework had apparently been hidden behind wooden panelling for a long time.

Stonework Detailing::-

Stonework Detailing, St Athernase Church, Leuchars

Pictorial stonework:-

Pictorial Stonework, St Athernase, Leuchars

Figural stonework:-

More Pictorial Stonewrok St Athernase, Leuchars

Carved panel:-

Carved Panel, St Athernase, Leuchars

Upper Waterfall, Ceres Burn, Kemback

There is a further waterfall on the Ceres Burn at Kemback, a bit upriver of the village. There has been some sort of man-made interference with the flow of the burn though with a stone projection at its centre:-

Upper Waterfall, Ceres Burn, Kemback

Video 1:-

Video, Upper Waterfall, Ceres Burn, Kemback

Video 2:-

Second Video, Upper Waterfall, Ceres Burn, Kemback

Kemback, Second Waterfall

Thsi one is on the Ceres Burn which runs through the village:-

Waterfall in Ceres Burn, Kemback

Closer view but through trees:-

Waterfall in Ceres Burn, Kemback Through Trees

Video. It looked like goats that were in that small compound near the waterfall:-

Video of Waterfall in Ceres Burn, Kemback

Kemback Waterfall 1

This waterfall at Kemback is to the left of the Community Hall:-

Waterfall at Kemback

Kemback waterfall

Reverse View:-

Kemback Waterfall Reverse View

Video:-

Kemback Waterfall Video

Video reverse view. The building in the background is the Community Hall:-

Video of Waterfall at Kemback

The waterfall goes into a gully that goes underneath the road and into the Ceres Burn:-

Kemback waterfall

Video:-

Kemback Waterfall into Ceres Burn

Pittenweem Primary School War Memorial

Is situated in the school’s hall.

Pittenweem Primary School War Memorial

Art Deco in Pittenweem?

Pittenweem is a fishing village in the East Neuk of Fife.

It has an annual Art Festival which we usually attend. While there last year I came upon this Art Deco/Moderne building, acting as one of the venues. Whatever it’s certainly 1930s.

Art Deco/Moderne, Pittenweem

Art Deco/Moderne Building, Pittenweem

View from behind. A garage is to the left here:-

Side View, Art Deco/Moderne, Pittenweem

The garage:-

Art Deco Style Garage, Pittenweem

Pittenweem Primary School is not quite Art Deco, being erected in 1912, but has some prefigurative elements:-

Not Quite Art Deco, Pittenweem Primary School

Left-side entrance to Pittenweem Primary School:-

Entrance, Pittenweem Primary School

The Distant Echo by Val McDermid

Harper, 2010, 569 p. First published in 2003.

 The Distant Echo cover

I probably wouldn’t have read this – I wasn’t particularly taken by the author’s The Wire in the Blood – but the good lady had just finished it and mentioned it was set partly in my old stamping ground of Kirkcaldy and partly in St Andrews (which I know well.) So I thought I’d give it a go. The locations in the book aren’t restricted to Fife, it does stray to Edinburgh, Stirling, Glasgow, and even Seattle but the main events take place in what the locals like to call “the Kingdom.”

The prologue lets us know of a Fife Police press announcement of a cold case review and a shadowy figure haunting a cemetery before Part One plunges us into the 1978 discovery of the dying body of Rosie Duff by four students at St Andrews University (schoolfriends calling themselves the Lads Fi’ Kirkcaldy) taking a short cut back to their flat after a party. One of them is a medical student and tries to save her life but fails. As discoverers of the body and covered in blood they naturally become suspects. The investigation cannot summon up evidence even to charge them and the case is unresolved but they are still subjected to suspicion, threats and violence – especially by the dead girl’s brothers. McDermid makes a lot of this finger of suspicion and the effect it has on the four and their relationship(s). Part Two sees the resurrection of the case and its reintrusion into the four’s lives. But in the intervening twenty-five years the main evidence from the victim’s clothing has been lost and there seems little hope of progress. But the review has stirred the old suspicions and someone has the four firmly in the frame.

McDermid’s prose is certainly efficient but rarely rises above the workmanlike. The book’s structure, too, made it slightly odd. Part One was more or less scene setting, involved a lot of information dumping and therefore dragged somewhat. McDermid makes passing reference to the fascistic fringe and government encroachments on citizens’ rights in the late 1970s. (That sort of thing has become even worse of late with intolerance having been adopted into the political mainstream and governments eager to seize any excuse to restrict citizen’s rights.)

I would have said that it was cleverly executed except that the resolution was disappointing. It has more holes in it than Stoke City’s defence and depends too much on the prior withholding of information from the reader. In the last (tie-up) chapter it is revealed that one of the four Lads had a piece of information that would potentially have pointed to the murderer but never told the other three – nor the Police – during all those twenty-five years of suspicion. We can only suppose this was to create an artificial sense of suspense and it kind of obviates the point of the book (no matter what reason he might have had for his reticence.) Moreover the murderer seems to have been able to carry the body up a hill to where the Lads stumbled upon it without seemingly getting any blood on himself, even though the victim had a gaping wound.

McDermid has a wide readership. I assume they don’t like taxing their brains overmuch.

Pedant’s corner:- the main drag (St Andrews has a main drag?) Roger Waters’ (Waters’s. And I know he wrote Shine On You Crazy Diamond but did he sing on it? Wasn’t that David Gilmour?) “[Kirkcaldy’s] Town House looked like one of those less alluring products of Soviet architecture” (is more than a bit harsh. It’s a fine buiding.) Raith Rovers’ (Raith Rovers’s,) Brahms’ (Brahms’s,) “had strode” (stridden,) “‘Gonnae no dae that’” (is referred to as if it were a catchphrase from the early to mid 1970s. It wasn’t. Chewin’ the Fat, where it originated, was first aired in 1999.) “‘We lay low’” (we lie low – but it was in dialogue and the character had lived in the US for years and they can’t seem to get the lay/lie thing correct over there,) Soanes’ (Soanes’s.) “The sky was clear, a gibbous moon hanging low in the sky between the bridges.” (sky….sky,.) Sainsburys (Sainsbury’s.) Plus several instances of “time interval later”.

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