Review of Elie by Ron Smart on March 12th, 2011
My heart was left in Elie 52 years ago (1959)when my family dragged me off to Canada. Only stayed in a hotel once in Elie as my uncle was visiting from New Zealand at the time. It was on the road up to Kilconquhar, (Elm something if I recall). My grandparents (Bob and Winifred Hughes), Bob was the manager of the butcher shop (Robertson's?)on the way down to the Ship's Inn, used to live in the house at 5 Woodside Rd or Pl???. They rented the house out during some of the summer months and stayed in a wee place in The Vennel (adjacent tae the kirk). I remember this as I had to go out in the middle of the night to go to the loo. I have the fondest memories of Elie and "The Ferry", especially the beach at the bottom of the breakwater. As children we used to run to the top upon the sound of the ice-cream van for a 99er or a cone with raspberry sauce. On the weekends, Mr Haig (Ron Haig???) brought his ponies and donkeys to the beach for us children to ride. I have many pictures with Colleen (a donkey), Pinto and Grey Lady (ponies)and watched them age gracefully over the years as they gave much joy and happiness to the children on the beach. Many a day was spent on the golf course with my dad (Ian Smart of Dundee United) and my Uncle Joe (a PT teacher who emigrated to New Zealand). It was on the links in Elie and Monifieth where I honed my game of golf. Regrettably I didn't hone it as well as I should have for the skill has diminished somewhat over the years. There used to be a "wee" material/wool/sewing/toy shop across from the northside of the Village Green run by Jean Bett (my Auntie Jean) as I called her, and many dismal afternoons were passed away playing in the back of the shop with the toys. One of the saddest things they ever did was (with the advent of diesels) cancelling the old steam locomotives that hauled the Fife Coast Express from Dundee around the coast and past Elie to Leven or Kircaldy. Always new I was getting close to Elie as we passed the tower in St Monans. For those who have never been to the East Neuk, you have been missing one of the greatest beach secrets and holiday locations in the UK.