the best laid schemes of mice and men.

My iScot magazine arrived in yesterday’s post and my first read was the ‘Dinwoodie Interview’ as it always is, when iScot drops onto my mat.

The best way to start to tell the story is to paraphrase the first two verses.

There is a bleakness to the first and final reels of Gareth Wardell’s personal story, but it’s been a helluva life in between. “When you have a bleak childhood and you have been witness to a lot of violence, the theatre is a safe home. Running away to the circus is not a cliche” he said.

The bleak childhood propelled him into a life in the movie industry and last year he revealed the latest plot-twist in his popular Grouse Beater blog, slipping into a paean to the Scottish NHS the dire news that he had “incurable cancer with the look and dimensions of a pearl of tapioca. Awe, crap! Why bloody me? Well, why not? Cancer doesn’t discriminate. Take solace knowing it could not happen to a nicer person.”

but on further reading, you find a man that despite all the difficulties that life has thrown at him, his life and work is not insignificant.

When he was thinking about going off to LA, as worked dried up here at home, he consulted an old friend and fellow Fountainbridge bairn, Sean Connery. Connery was scathing about the sharp practice there. Speaking of LA, where a handshake is meaningless unless nailed down in written contract,

“If you are going to Hollywood go for fun, and get a fucking lawyer”, his friend advised. “They’ll all steal from you,’ said Sean and he was absolutely right.”

Connery recounted a row over his part in the 1964 Hitchcock movie ‘Marnie’ where his the contract provided for a fee for every day the project over-ran. When he did not get his fee he pursued it legally, only to be told by horrified agents,

“No-one sues Jack Warner.”

Connery fought for and got his cheque, only for it to bounce. The studios had to teach him a lesson.

It is worth the cover price of iScot for the ‘Dinwoodie Interviews’ alone. But of course, there is much much more to this monthly magazine, Billy Kay’s well researched and crafted piece on ‘Darien’ the failed Scottish colony, and some say, leading to the failed union with England. And not forgetting ‘The Orkney News’ telling us of – The watery finale of Queen Mary’s Vice Admiral. And I’m only halfway through.

The weather is very quiet today so I am going off somewhere special, I have not done this for some time, in fact not since I lived in Elie. I had left Tim (my Yorkshire terrier) tied up to the bench at the start of the chain walk, with a note to say he was not abandoned I would be back in an hour or so. Of course when I did return he had been busking for attention and having lots of loving from a family out for a walk from their car-a-van at Shell Bay.

I can not leave until the afternoon however for the low tide is not until 2 pm. I will tell tales of my great adventure on my return.

With banana sandwiches and potato crisps and a full bottle of water on board I sett off for Elie, well Kincraig to be exact. My intention was to do the chain walk.

The chain walk came into existence during the Second World War, up until then the salmon fishermen from the village would carry their catch over Kincraig hill from their fishing grounds at Shell Bay. At the outbreak of war, the MoD chose Kincraig hill as the place to site two large guns from off a First World War decommissioned battleship. Having a range of 22 miles the guns would be capable of guarding the River Forth from enemy shipping and as a consequence closed off access to the fishing grounds for the fishermen.

The fishermen cut steps in the rock face to gain access below the gun emplacements, but it would have been a precarious pathway more so loaded with large heavy salmon. So they clubbed together and paid the local blacksmith the princely sum of £150.00 to make and secure chains to the steepest part of the route. The old chains have since been replaced by stainless steel chain and visited by many over the summer. Since it can only be crossed at low tide and you really need to give yourself an hour, to stop and take in some of the beauty of the place and visit McDuff’s cave along the way best to get there at half tide on the ebb or low tide so that you can have your picnic on the rocks.

One mile or so out I saw a broken beer bottle smashed on the pavement and spilling out into the cycle lane (you should not rally cycle in cycle lanes, for that is where all the crap is swept from car tyres, waiting there for the unsuspecting cyclist to come along, also motorists expect you to stay within your defecated white line regardless of deep drain covers and potholes). Bloody cyclist. But I divers.

I did move out to clear the derby, but still managed to pick up a piece of shrapnel, that cut both the tyre and tube. Being the rear tyre and remembering the problems I had to overcome to get the motorised wheel in place the first time, I decided that it was not a job for kerbside motors.

As it turned out it was much easier the second time around, but it still required some extra tools, I had not carried with me, the thinking was, I could always put the bike on the bus and use my bus pass as a get you home service, now I carry more tools in my pannier bag.

By this time I had missed the tide, still, I did take the bike for a test run to see that all was well, just as far as Strathkinness and back. Surprisingly enough it felt much better than it had before the puncture. However the tide is predictable in a weeks time, weather permitting I can have another go at the chain walk, this time in the early morning.

All’s well, that ends well, and I did not have to make lunch for I still had my picnic, banana sandwiches and potato crisps, and the added bonus of a pot of tea.

Mark it up as another (although not as planned) good day

Stay safe

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