Is Fife ready for the invasion of toonies post-lockdown? - Kevan Christie

The phrase ‘Edinburgh is a village’ will resonate with anyone who grew up there and either still lives in Scotland’s capital city or have bettered themselves and moved on to sunnier climes.

Kinghorn Pettycur Bay and Beach in Fife

It’s a standard trope based on the belief that half a million folk are but six degrees of separation from knowing someone whose granny had her milk delivered by Sean Connery.

Like many cities, the Burgh is just a collection of little villages each with their own unique characteristics from the Stockbridge sink estates to the barrios of Gilmerton and the Inch. The place has worn it’s ‘slightly superior’ pink troosers over the years but is friendly and welcoming, despite what the Weegies say, and has more to offer than tartan tat and festivals as anyone from Leith or Porty will tell you.

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But please allow me this short preamble before I get to the meat and two veg of a matter that has been troubling my working from home lockdown bliss of late dear readers.

This stirring premonition continues to rouse me from my gentle slumber, as I head to one of the bathrooms in the west wing of Southfork for my 3am toilet break and pervades the air I breathe.

Best posed as a question it follows thus: “What if the toonies decide to move to Fife?”

I can feel in my water the first stirrings of discontent from the avocado-munching masses, as they slowly begin to realise that Nirvana does not lie in the shape of a Christmas market, endless fireworks and a giant Ferris wheel.

A 45-minute journey on the 44 bus from one side of toon to the other to log-in at a bank or insurance company in the West End seems outdated in these “keep your two-metre distance pal” troubled times.

The cooncil are obsessed with tourism, they let dugs into libraries and the roadworks at the Playhouse have been there for 20 years.

‘When a man is tired of Edinburgh, he is tired of life’, said no-one ever.

So I’ve no regrets about leaving Auld Reekie for the Kingdom some 13 years ago when I disembarked at Tayport to be welcomed with open arms – like the John J. Macreedy character played by Spencer Tracy in the movie Bad Day at Black Rock.

“Looks like we’ve got ourselves a reader,” the locals muttered as I perused the sports pages of the red tops while supping my pint of Tennent’s. The publican who was originally from Niddrie, but not on the witness protection programme, later told me it took around 60 years for a stranger to be accepted there and rid of their incomer status.

I wasn’t prepared to wait that long for a game of dominoes and left Taypsie five years ago – although I miss the roadkill stew on Sundays.

However, I must say I’m enjoying shaping the thoughts of the nation from the confines of the Crossgates man cave and make no apologies about owning a stunning mansion that sits in its own grounds for the price of a two-bedroom flat in Comely Bank.

The hour- long pre-lockdown commute of a morning – stuck in traffic while listening to Ken Bruce at the Cramond Brig seems absurd when I can walk ten feet from my bed and start work.

I no longer find myself having three Larry David moments a day, as I wrestle with the Waitrose checkouts paying over the odds for stuff I don’t need.

I’m saving at least £30 a week on coffee alone, have a decent machine in my kitchen and can let you in on a secret – you can get oat milk in Cowdenbeath.

Now that’s what I call progress.

I’m thankful and blessed with a smaller world with cleaner air, birdsong and plane-free skies which now begs the question: “Why would you choose to live in a city?”

Of course I get the benefits but they seem to have waned during the pandemic and may never return.

I mean, it’s not as if we haven’t been warned.

The ancient Greeks and Romans suffered plagues and you’d think we’d have got the message after the Great Plague of London more than 350 years ago.

But no, the lure of the communal drying green appears to have been too great and unfortunately the cities, along with the care homes have borne the brunt of this dreadful illness that is leading some to contemplate their surroundings.

No doubt an influx of toonies into Fife would storm the green beaches of Dalgety Bay in their landing craft but not venture much further.

Safe to say those of us who live in the flyover states of Cowdengelly would be free from fancy city ways and inappropriate footwear.

Their much-loved pop-ups would be popping up all over the shop selling crafty beer and sourdough loaves while parents give us a running commentary of their utterly charming child’s every movement. “Bring the tomato over here Flora.”

If they do choose to head over to west Fife and reverse the bizarre trend for heading to North Berwick the good denizens of the Kingdom’s coastal rivieras will welcome the toonies with open arms.

I suggest they shut the Queensferry Crossing every Sunday so the city folks can have one of their beloved markets while observing social distancing rules and wearing face masks that provide about as much safety as a seatbelt on an aeroplane.

Now where did I leave that ESPC?