Thursday, September 08, 2005

In Search of Smokey and the Kipper

Early this morning as I drove along to St. Monans for fresh fish, the shadows were still long in the brightest dazzling sunlight. The waters of the Forth sparkled like the cliched diamonds and the light was crystal clear. I could see the south bank in more detail than at any time so far. Only Largo Law, the tallest hill hereabouts still had a petticoat of grey clouds around its 290 metre summit.

All around the World was alive with golfers towing those incredibly heavy bags around the courses like leaf eating ants. I say courses deliberately for they breed them around here. There are ordinary courses, back to back courses and even ladies golf courses - none of them ever empty. It is truly the only local passion.

Further along the coast the road divides and I took the coastal route to St Monans. In the industrial unit at the edge of the little town there are several wet fish merchants supplying both the wholesale and retail trade. I went to “Wilson's” and bought the fresh crab I had been seeking. Alas, no one wants to dress it themselves these days and so it came neatly decorating its tidy shell.

I had hoped for the breakfast of my youth – fresh caught crab, green grapes and a chilled fruit drink. All that picnic requires is a hammer, a teaspoon and a knife, plus the newspaper the crab is wrapped in.

At Wilson's they have modern smokehouse on the premises and sell a range of oak smoked haddock, mackeral, kippers, as well as fresh white fish caught locally. It was all so discreet I might never had spotted it. Is it foolish to hanker after the traditional brick chimney smoker with its cowled hood and fish on metal rods hung in the atmosphere of the outer hells?

By the time I came back the light had flattened and the shadows shortened. The best photography at this time of year is to be had early in the morning and late at night. Perhaps we could go this evening and try and locate some of the many standing stones hereabouts?