A busy week indeed

Started off last Sunday at my old patch the Fairmont with a very enjoyable caddying round. Four lovely guys from Colorado. There is no question that caddying is one of the most lucrative gigs out there. I had forgotten about that. But I prefer tour guiding now.

Monday, I met Barbara and Larry from North Carolina off the bus in St Andrews for a wee morning tour. We finished off in the Dunvegan in Tip Anderson’s old seat. It was a great morning and I suggested we all get a taxi to Leuchars for the 1.30pm train back to Edinburgh as I had an afternoon tour there. Except, we got in the taxi and I was informed that the train had been cancelled. So back into the Dunvegan.

We finally got back to Edinburgh where I said farewell and ran up the steps to meet my next guests at the Carlton Hotel. I was now almost an hour late. Luckily my two guests were as mellow as could be and we had a splendid afternoon in Auld Reekie. I bought them coffee and cakes in Black Medicine and all went rather swimmingly thereafter.

Things didn’t go swimmingly the next day though for my two food tours in Edinburgh. I was supposed to have 11 guests including 2 French people. However 3 couples from Sancerre had pitched up as well as lovely Emilie from Italy and her daughter, three ladies from Boston, Adriano from Quebec and a brother and sister from New York who run the blog, TravelGumbo.

On the French front however, not only was this four more people than I had expected, but they were under the impression that the tour was going to be carried out in French. Ooh la la.

Fortunately, I have some of the lingo and I was able to extricate myself slightly from the awkwardness of this situation and the whole group ended up working surprisingly well. The French contingent didn’t quite get the import of my rendition of Tam O’Shanter over the whisky though. So I cut that a bit short. Tant pis.

In the evening I had a group from the States attending a Life Sciences Conference at the EICC. God they were fun.

The only issue was that when I phoned ahead to the Scotch Malt Whisky Society to confirm our booking for our whisky tasting they said that they couldn’t accomodate us. This left me in a bit of a panic as we headed along George Street. I remembered that the Alchemist had just opened their new whacky bar there and the idea of chemically-inspired cocktails for this group of Life Scientists from California from The Alchemist was not a shoddy one. They were a trendy young lot too. And in fact they loved it and we had a great evening, finishing off with a lot of delicious small plates and a rave cocktail in Under The Stairs (one of my favorite places)

On Wednesday morning I had a really lovely group from Colorado who were on a cruise around Britain. They were all ex- music teachers and a most appreciative and sympathetic lot. We had many laughs strolling around the Old Town in the warm sunshine. They said that my tour was the best thing they had done all week and that was sweet of them.

I had another food tour in the evening which all went rather smoothly which was rather nice. Andrea and her daughter who were trying to decide between St Andrews and Edinburgh University. Andrea told me at the end that they had loved the Tam O’Shanter and it helped reaffirm her daughter’s decision to come to Scotland to Uni!

Wednesday, I played golf in Edinburgh in my Wessex Bowl MCBA match, beating Bones. It was a beautiful evening at Mortonhall. I love Mortonhall and the Braid Hills in Edinburgh. It’s rather beautiful up there. In fact it’s altogether stunning on a fine summers evening. Siegfried Sassoon thought so too. Not that he was there on Wednesday (obviously).

Friday, I was going back and forth to Edinburgh on the X59 like a yo-yo, as I forgot that I needed my kilt for my Sunday tour in St Andrews and I had forgotten to take it back up the road in the morning.

Saturday, I had a food tour in St Andrews with two American families who had just arrived. It was fun but I was pretty glad to close out a fairly hectic week on the whole at 8pm.

Fare forward passengers.

The Pottery in Crail

On a fresh summer’s day when the warm breeze willows over the seafront in Crail and happy tourists wander around the harbour and lanes of this idyllic little place, Steve the potter, benignly smiles and welcomes all to his little heavenly home in the heart of this sweet, teeny nook.

He is old now but most tranquil. No wonder of it. Amidst such beauty, this wee paradise, ablaze with red-potted geraniums and his kiln-fired ware.

The place is remarkable. Stunning actually. And so is Crail and the East Neuk. ‘This is heaven’.

Steve’s words.

And I cannot argue with that.

I met his son, Jake, the other day. Lovely chap. Just back from skiing in Saint Martin where he has a chalet. He says he skis about 6 weeks a year.

Now that’s the life.