A grand day out to St Monans

Last weekend, with sunshine forecast for the Fife coast, delightful assistant no.1 felt ready for her first whole day out since getting out of hospital in early February. She and her spouse hopped into the car and were whisked off to the Fife village of St Monans (also sometimes spelt St Monance) in nice time for lunch.

After parking near the harbour, they walked with a stick and a handhold each, past cheerful houses painted in seaside colours, some of which had crow-stepped gables and pantiled roofs.

walking at St Monans
Delightful assistants toddling along with sticks in St Monans.

Although the assistants have often enjoyed a jaunt to Fife, they didn’t think they’d visited St Monans together before. Delightful assistant no.2 remembered being taken there as a small child on holiday.

St Monans houses and harbour
St Monans, with harbour on the left and houses huddling together along the shore road.

The eatery they’d chosen to lunch in, The Diving Gannet, was located up a side street. After a good bit of faffing about, deciding where to sit and shifting the furniture to suit them, they settled in and had a look at the menu.

faffing about in the diving gannet
A bit of faffing about inside The Diving Gannet.
inside the diving gannet
Settled in and ready to peruse The Diving Gannet’s menu.
inside the diving gannet 2
Pastel shades, and postcards for sale, inside The Diving Gannet, St Monans.

Delightful assistant no.1 decided she fancied one of the cafe’s salads of the day, and opted for a chicken and bacon mayonnaise affair. Delightful assistant no.2 also went for one of the daily specials: a smoked haddock and cheddar tart with side salad. Their chauffeur, meanwhile, plumped for a bowl of curried parsnip soup with a cheese scone.

large salad
Delightful assistant no.1 contemplating a rather large salad bowl at The Diving Gannet.
tart and salad
Delightful assistant no.2’s smoked haddock and cheese tart with salad at The Diving Gannet.
soup and scone
Curried parsnip soup and a freshly baked cheese scone at The Diving Gannet.

They all enjoyed their meals, although delightful assistant no.1 was beaten by the size of her salad, and their chauffeur could easily have scoffed a bowl of soup twice the size of the one she was given. Since not all of them had room for a hot drink or pudding, they decided to leave The Diving Gannet and take a walk along the seafront before finding somewhere else for sweet treats.

Although delightful assistant no.1 had done some short walks outdoors since her operation, she hadn’t been out for long at a time, and in St Monans she felt decidedly wobbly on her pins. Thankfully, her devoted spouse kept her steady and she took great care with any changes in altitude.

careful steps
Stepping off the kerb in St Monans, carefully does it.

As they walked along the shore road, they passed an ancient-looking forestair (an outside staircase, leading up from ground level to the first floor of a building). Many of the older buildings in St Monans date back to the 17th and 18th Centuries, so the forestair had no doubt been supporting pattering feet for hundreds of years.

St monans stairway
Delightful assistants passing a forestair in St Monans.

St Monans has three piers, which combine to make a very sheltered harbour. The oldest of the three piers was built in 1596, and the most recent in 1900.

St Monans harbour
The sheltered harbour with three piers at St Monans. The middle pier has been there for over 400 years.

In days gone by St Monans was one of Scotland’s busiest fishing ports, but these days the fishing fleet is small and many of the boats using the harbour were pleasure craft.

St Monans harbour 2
St Monans shore road and harbour, Fife.

At the western end of the seafront, the assistants came across a curious collection of footwear nicely arranged on a slipway.

welly boot garden
Assistants observing footwear on a slipway in St Monans.
welly garden 2
Wellington boots of all sizes with plants growing out of them.

A nearby sign explained the sight, and requested monetary donations towards the upkeep of the installation. Donations of Wellington boots were, it seemed, also welcome.

welly boot sign
Sign indicating the nature of the installation on the slipway, with donations of boots in a box.
assistants looking at welly boot sign
Assistants reading the ‘wellie boot garden’ sign in St Monans.
sign and pipe
Sign at St Monans: “If the Welly Garden has made you smile, a contribution towards the costs would be much appreciated. Down the Pipe!”
down the pipe
The garden had indeed made the assistants smile, and dropping coins down the pipe made them smile even more.

After enjoying the welly garden, the assistants veered off the shore road and headed towards some benches on a grassy patch looking out to sea.

rough tarmac
Careful assistants negotiating a patch of rough sloping tarmac at the end of West Shore Road, St Monans.
on a bench in St Monans
Delightful assistants sitting on a bench at St Monans looking out to sea.

While the octogenarians enjoyed a little sit down, their chauffeur popped down to the beach to have a look at the rocks.

rocks at St Monans 2
Jagged rocks at St Monans, Fife.
rocks at St Monans
Rocks on the shore at St Monans, Fife.

Although the sun was shining, the air was cold and it wasn’t long before the assistants were ready to get up and stretch their chilling limbs again.

ready for off
Delightful assistants rested and ready for a little more exercise at St Monans, Fife.

They trotted back along the shore road, past the welly garden and along to where they’d left the car at the east end of the village. On the way they passed a sign for the cafe they’d had lunch in. The wording amused them and reminded delightful assistant no.1 of a fish and chip shop in Edinburgh that had once borne the message: ‘Fish teas to sit in.’

Diving Gannet sign
The Diving Gannet’s sign, perhaps suggesting large, bathtub-sized cups of coffee.

Back at the car, they decided to move on to pastures new for their sweet treats. Their chauffeur had a couple of nice places in mind further along the coast. Unfortunately, due to her not paying full attention, they missed the first place, and when they reached the second it was full. They drove on, eventually reaching St Andrews, and found that another possibility was not yet open for the season. Feeling desperate, they dashed off to Balgove Larder cafe and farm shop on the outskirts of St Andrews, and were relieved to find empty seats awaiting them.

happy at Balgow
Delightful assistants happy and relieved to find Balgove Larder ready to serve them sweet treats.

As soon as he went up to the cake counter, delightful assistant no.2 knew exactly what he wanted. Likewise, a quick glance at the menu convinced his spouse what she fancied. Their chauffeur umm-ed and aah-ed until she ended up plumping for her defaut option.

Chocolate cake: the immediate choice of delightful assistant no.2, paired with a decaf cappuccino.
cream scone at Balgove
One of delightful assistant no.1’s favourite treats: a cream scone, accompanied by a pot of tea.
fruit scone at Balgove
Their chauffeur’s fall-back: a fruit scone with butter and jam, assisted by a decaf cappuccino.

With tummies filled, they trotted out into the sunshine for the last leg of the journey home.

As first days out after operations go, delightful assistant no.1 (who is becoming something of a connoisseur of such events) declared it a great success, despite her occasional unsteadiness. The combination of a sunny spring day, pleasantly bracing sea air and a good amount of vegetables at lunchtime helped them all feel they’d had a healthful time of it.

Memories of interesting sights enjoyed during the day put smiles on their faces as they drove home in the evening sunshine.

welly garden
A cheering sight: the welly garden at St Monans, Fife.

15 thoughts on “A grand day out to St Monans

  1. That salad looked so good! The servings certainly were generous at the Diving Gannet. I love the sign and it made me laugh when I read real coffee to sit in. I would rather drink mine, thank you! Looks like a fab day out and pleased your mom managed OK.


  2. Did your mother knit that beautiful cardigan she was wearing?
    It looks a great day out was had by all. St Monance brought back some lovely memories for me. Thank you for the great photos.


    1. I’m glad the photos brought back happy memories for you, Heather. My mum didn’t knit that cardigan, but it is a lovely warm, cosy item. She bought it in a charity shop many years ago and it’s served her very well.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. What a wonderful post. So glad to see Assistant#1 up and about. She was obviously enjoying her outing. The food looked yummy. I would have had the soup and scone….. chocolate cake later. Very nice pictures of St Monans and I enjoyed the rather ambiguously funny signs. Thanks for such a very nice post, and please tell your mom that is was so good to see her out enjoying everything.


    1. We’re very lucky having so many nice places within easy travelling distance, and no doubt there are many more we’ve yet to discover, which is a nice thought.


  4. How lovely! I am so glad that your Mum enjoyed her first full day out – well done! I’m sure the sunshine did her good as well. I don’t think I’ve ever been to St Monans but it looks really pretty. I didn’t know those outside steps were called forestairs! Thank you for that. You always seem to hit on a perfect tea venue! Ahh, the chocolate cake looks amazing. Had to laugh at the ‘coffee to sit in’. A new self-tanning process perhaps?


    1. Thank you, Jo. There are so many attractive little places in Fife, it’s quite a treasure trove. I was a bit envious of that chocolate cake when it was delivered to the table. That’s an interesting idea on the tanning front, I wonder if it works. You’d have to not mind reeking of coffee for a while, I imagine.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Fantastic photos and the Delightful Assistants both look extremely well. Any chance of some photos of their Chauffeur next time please? Looking forward to reading about the next Day Out. xxx


Something to say?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s