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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”.

Falkland Then and Now

Falkland is a village a few miles away from where we now live. (Its name is connected in a roundabout way to a certain set of islands in the South Atlantic but it’s more famous for its Palace, the country residence of the Stuart monarchs.)

We go there quite often – usually to visit the Library but also to have a stroll as there’s an estate and burn you can walk beside. The Palace gardens are wortha look as well, especially if you area National trust for Scotland member.

In February we found its main street festooned with no parking cones and notices of restriction for four days.

Falkland  in Fife

Falkland in Fife

It turned out they were going to be filming scenes for the new series of Outlander and they’d mocked it up supposedly as if it were the 1950s.

The Community Hall had been daubed with a “Free Scotland” grafitti and a saltire which strikes me as being unlikely for the 50s but there you go:-

Falkland  in Fife

This is how it looks restored to more normal circumstances, in April this year:-

Community Hall, Falkland, Fife

This shop was made to look like a furniture and hardware store:-

Falkland  in Fife

And its “real” incarnation is a gift shop/café, Fayre Earth:-

Fayre Earth

This “fruit shop” took me back:-

Falkland  in Fife

In the 2010s it’s another eatery, Campbell’s:-

Café/Eatery Falkland, Fife

I’m not quite sure what this was supposed to be. A B&B I think. Unfortunately people were hanging around:-

Falkland in Fife

It’s actually The Covenanter’s Hotel:-

Covenanter's Hotel, Falkland

Carnegie’s Birthplace

19th century industrialist and steel magnate Andrew Carnegie was born in Dunfermline, Fife.

His birthplace is now a museum:-

Andrew Carnegie's Birthplace, Dunfermline

Plaque on Andrew Carnegie's Birthplace, Dunfermline

As the plaque on the cottage indicates, Carnegie became a noted philanthropist, endowing Dunfermline with a swinmming pool and over 3,000 towns worldwide with libraries. One of these was Dunfermline Library whose later extension I posted about yesterday.

In the museum I came across a drawing of another of these, Coldside Library in Dundee, and recognised it immediately:-

Drawing of Coldside Library, Dundee

I have previously mentioned this fine building but at the time did not know it had anything to do with Carnegie, nor indeed its name.

Ceres Scenes

The village green, called the Bow Butts, taken from the site of the Bannockburn Monument:-

Bow Butts, Ceres

Ceres old bridge, from the car park:-

Ceres Old Bridge 1

Ceres Old Bridge 2

Ceres Old Bridge 3

Ceres Burn from the old bridge:-

Ceres Burn

A folly (to the left of the bridge, above):-

Ceres Folly

Bannockburn Monument, Ceres, Fife

Ceres is a village in central Fife.

The monument was erected on the six-hundredth anniversary of Scotland’s most famous victory in battle, at Bannockburn in 1314, to commemorate the men of Ceres who fought in it. It’s situated by the side of the “Bow Butts” as Ceres’s village green is called.

Ceres holds a Highland Games every year. It is said to have hosted a games every year since 1314 after Robert the Bruce granted permission in commemoration of the village men’s contribution to his victory.

Bannockburn Monument, Ceres:-

Bannockburn Monument, Ceres, Fife

Inscription:-

Bannockburn Monument, Ceres, Inscription

Rainbow Over Dysart Harbour

Stitch of two photos to get the whole rainbow in. It’s actually a double rainbow.

Rainbow Over Dysart Harbour

Fife’s Art Deco Heritage 15 (i): Rosyth

We got fairly well acquainted with Rosyth, a Fife town on the Firth of Forth west of but very close to the Forth Bridges, when we were house-hunting. We opted for elsewhere in the end.

Rosyth is most famous for its Naval Dockyard but is home to some deco.

The Clydesdale Bank building, on Queensferry Road, has an Art Deco frontage, at least in its older aspect, built 1932:-

Clydesdale Bank Building, Rosyth

This modern addition (to the left of photo above) isn’t though:-

Clydesdale Bank, Rosyth, Modern Addition

The former Palace Cinema, also on Queensferry Road, from left.

Former Cinema, Rosyth

Palace Cinema from right:-

Former Palace Cinema, Rosyth

Shop with slightly edged flat roof on Admiralty Road. Windows replaced.

Art Deco Style Shop, Rosyth

1930s Houses, Cairneyhill

Cairneyhill is a village in the west of Fife, between Dunfermline and Kincardine

These flat-roofed houses have a touch of deco to them especialy the stepping on the roofline.

From main road:-

1930s Houses Cairneyhill

From access road:-

Cairneyhill 1930s Houses Frontage

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