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PERSONAL RECOLLECTIONS: Pat Andrew – Holidays in Elie

The following article is by Pat Andrew.

I spent many a happy holiday in Elie, my parents renting a house in Earlsferry for the month of July during the 1950s and then two years at the beginning of the sixties. We then went to the Golf Hotel for a further two years. My parents decided to go elsewhere for our summer holidays which upset me so much. Nowhere matched Elie for our holidays!

We rented a house called Selina Villa in Earlsferry. The house was owned by a lady called Miss Dunsire who also owned the village store that was situated next to Tony’s ice cream shop just round the corner from the house. Miss Dunsire lived in a little cottage next to Selina Villa which backed onto her shop. There was also a small garage opposite the house. I believe that the house is called Balvonie (?) now.

I ‘lived’ for the ponies and was thrilled that they passed our front door on their way to and from the quarry/beach. When I wasn’t riding I was happy to lead the ponies and help Mr Haig the ‘Donkey Man’ to brush them down once back in the quarry. He seemed a kind man who loved his ponies. I    was a little scared of him, only because he seemed a bit gruff at times, but looking back he had to be as he had to ensure that we children were safe. Quite a responsibility! I often wonder nowadays what health and safety would have made of the situation. Thank goodness they weren’t around then!

I remember the Co-op too. My parents did not allow us to shop there as we had to be loyal to Miss Dunsire! However, I was dispatched each morning to Boullets Bakery that was situated in a wee cottage round the corner, to buy the morning rolls.  If I am in a bakery these days the lovely smell of the baking transports me back to that bakery. It has to be a proper bakery to give that special aroma.

We hired a beach hut each year.  The C.S.S.M children’s mission used to build their sand pulpit near our beach hut. We used to go along and join in the singing. They provided many activities for us to join. I loved the sand modelling and the sausage sizzles at West Bay.

I enjoyed playing tennis at the pavilion and enjoying an ice cream drink afterwards.

My sister, who is four years older than me, used to cycle to St Monance in the evening to buy chips. How I envied her as I was too young to go. I don’t think that I would have minded so much if she had brought me back some chips!

We travelled to Elie by train, over the Forth Rail bridge, faithfully throwing our pennies out of the train window and making a wish. I remember vividly a railway carriage in the station yard that had been transformed into a wee house where someone lived. I am sure of this although my sister doesn’t remember so my mind may be playing tricks on me. I would be interested if anybody else remembers this. [This would be the Camping Coach rented out by British Railways – there was also one located at Lundin Links station.]

Pat Andrew.

6 thoughts on “PERSONAL RECOLLECTIONS: Pat Andrew – Holidays in Elie

  1. My father, Jim Henry, would have been the owner/manager of the Golf hotel when you were there. I remember Mr Haig, the donkey man, Tony’s shop and Boullet’s bakery all very well.

  2. Yes I remember the railway carriage at the Station that had been converted into a holiday letting cottage so your memory is better than your sister’s!
    I dont suppose you remember Tony’s surname? He was of Italian extraction.

  3. James Henry – Apologies for such a long time in replying. I have been very ill but pleased to say I’m much better now. Thank you for your lovely memories and information. The Golf hotel James was lovely. My mother was a bit fussy. I remember her saying that the hotel was “well run”and the staff were excellent. An accolade indeed. Do you know if there are any photos of Mr Haig the donkey man?

  4. Elspeth Grisenthwaite.
    Thank you Elspeth for your lovely message and information on the railway carriages. It’s always been a mystery as to who lived there so thank you for solving it. As a young child I recall the outside was very pretty with colourful flowers. Sadly we always rushed past desperate to get to the beach. The railway station was very memorable too with its large iron bridge. I’m afraid I don’t remember Tony’s surname. We just called him Tony or if we were joking we called him Tony Macaroni.

  5. Tony Bratassani

  6. Oh my I have just read your recollections of Elie/Earlsferry and I think I must have been there at the same time as you as I remember everything you have written about from Mr Haig ( I used to lead the donkeys), C.S.S.M services, Tony’ ice cream, beach huts with a few windbreaks, tennis club with the big coke machine even remember the coach at the station
    You have brought back many wonderful memories for me.
    Our holidays would of started about 1955/6 till 1964/65
    renting various houses in Elie and Earlsferry.
    Pat née Niven

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