I’M driving through a lovely part of the world, the East Neuk of Fife.
I’m familiar with it. Who hasn’t been to Anstruther for fish and chips?
But when I see the turn-off for St Monans, I decide to head there and see what it’s like.
It’s lovely. I get out of the car and start wandering. And before you can say “jam and cream”, I stumble across a lovely-looking cafe.
Of course I go in to see if they’ve got scones. I’m a professional, after all.
St Monans feels like a sleepy wee place. There’s hardly anyone around.
When I step inside, I’m amazed to find The Diving Gannet is packed.
I realise it’s no accident. The menu is good, the service as cheery as the rainbow hair of one of the waitresses.
They’ve got scones. And also tempting-looking pork sausage and apple rolls.
I order both. A jam scone with cream for starters.
Darn fine it is, too. There’s lots of fruit in it. It’s not one of those scones where you play hunt the sultana.
I’m supposed to be somewhere, so I’ve asked for the sausage roll to take away. It looks at me, though, begging me to try it.
I’ll just have a bite and then be on my way, I think.
But one bite leads to another and another and, before you know it, I’ve polished the whole thing off. Willpower, what willpower?
I leave the cheery chatter of the tables around me and head to the counter to pay.
I decide to order another sausage roll, definitely for taking away this time.
Then I go for a wander. I stop by the harbour for a nosy.
In the distance, there’s a little gang of boys, jumping from the pier into the water below.
It’s like being back in the ’70s. Health and safety hasn’t reached this part of the world. And it’s all the better for it.
One boy keeps walking to the side of the pier, looking into the water, and edging back.
He wants to jump in, but just can’t find the courage.
I find myself silently willing him on. Go on, my son, you can do it.
On about his tenth attempt, he does it. Fantastic! He climbs out of the water. Even from a distance, I can tell he’s chuffed with himself.
For a wild moment, I fancy trying it. Then I tell myself the NHS is stretched enough and doesn’t need me turning up in A&E with a self-inflicted injury.
I stand by the pier for a while, meeting forgotten.
Then I feel a tap on my shoulder. It’s one of the lovely waitresses from the cafe. I’d forgotten my sausage roll. How nice she came to look for me. I’m glad I left a generous tip – like I always do!
Back home I look in my pocket. What do I find? The tip. I put it there while I got my card out to pay. Oh, the shame.
Mind you, every cloud. It just means I’ve got a good excuse to return to the Diving Gannet and spoil myself all over again.