Cast Away

A big chunk of our Easter Monday was spent in a queue in Anstruther. This little village on the Fife coast is home to what is often called Scotland's finest fish and chip shop. The queue stretched halfway down the street.

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Prince William is said to be a big fan of the place, so if was good enough for him then we were quite content to line up for greasy goodness.

The sun elbowed out from behind the clouds and I peered at my forearms, noting that after a year I'd become just as pale as the locals. Dogs eyed the queue, wide-eyed and slobbery with the scent of sea and saturated fat. Elderly couples shuffled along the cobblestones, tongues flapping slowly at their ice cream cones. A red-haired kid tugged at her mother's arm and tattled on her sister, "She called me a stupid big bum!".

After half an hour we made it inside the door of the shop, only to be greeted by an even longer queue. But we didn't mind because we spotted a notice board full of newspaper articles. Tom Hanks had visited the shop just last week! His daughter attends nearby University of St Andrews, and evidently they'd had a day out and the local press went crazy.

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The headlines were priceless – 'Serving Private Ryan' and 'Fife is like a box of chocolates'.

By the time we got to the counter I was ready to break the glass and grab my own goddamn fish supper. But I thought of Tom in Cast Away when he was stranded on the island with that volleyball. He knew how to be patient. So I watched spotty boys peel potatoes and old guys scoop haddock so tenderly from the deep fryer.

Not so patient was the constant rotation of middle-aged bald guys out the front of the shop. They scratched their heads, tapped at the glass, frowned at watches, smushed their beer bellies against the window as they tried to locate their spouses in the queue.

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What the bloody hell did they think that would achieve? Did they really think making that vein pop out on their ruby foreheads would make the little missus fetch their sausage supper and Irn-Bru any quicker? No, so go and sit down, you lazy bugger.

At four o'clock we skipped triumphantly cross the street with our white paper bag. I wanted to yell, "Enjoy the queue, SUCKERS!". But instead I remembered the dignity Apollo 13 Tom showed in the face of adversity and sat down quietly to eat.

It was heavenly. Light crispy batter, fresh crunchy chips wolfed down with a steaming cup of tea.

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There was just enough time to lick the celebrity-endorsed salt from our fingers before it started to rain. A perfect day out in Scotland.

About Shauna Reid

Ahoy there! I’m Shauna, an author, copywriter and content mentor. I love telling stories about life and helping others to tell theirs.

Find out more about me and how we can work together – I’m now booking for January 2022.

24 thoughts on “Cast Away

  1. I was watching Amanda Keller’s new show on the ABC last week, “Mondo
    Thingo” and they were talking about blogs. I am almost 100% certain
    that I saw flash up!!!! The clips were going rather fast!!!

    (sorry about the public announcement but my email bounced!!!)

    mmm greasy chips with salt, my fave!!!)


  2. I love the new embedded photos!

    What a queue – I probably would have felt that I should order two meals worth…

  3. sounds deeeeelish! now i’m craving a fish supper with irn bru. mmm.

    i just can’t quite picture tom hanks hanging out in fife. it’s just too strange somehow!

  4. Is that “Iron Brew”? Wow – I had forgotten all about that miraculous little hangover cure.

    I haven’t seen it anywhere else except in Scotland. I wonder why that is?

    Love your work, by the way!

  5. I’d forgotten about Irn Bru, too, now I vaguely remember an ad on the telly: Baaaaaarrs Irn Brooooooooooo.

    Fish suppers. God, that brings back memories. Fat chips with vinegar … yummo.

  6. Hey Melle, you’re right about the “Mondo Thingo” clip – I happened to glance at the TV at that exact second. The weird thing was that I was reading the site on the net at the same time.


  7. Aye verily, the new pop-up embedded photos rock out. Gives the whole narrative a very grown up picture-book ambiance.

    Or a sense of immediacy.

    Or whatever.

    Most jealous.

    Can also empathise with going as pale as the locals …

    Irn Bru is a hangover cure? I should clearly lay in a supply.

  8. Nice writing Shauny, like always.
    Can’t you do it more often? Man, so disappointing when I check your site every day, and on the top page the crabs are STILL having orgasms. I need more than that.
    Come on, you owe it to your adoring public. What would Tom Hanks do?

  9. Ahhh the joys of a good fish supper. I’ll try and remember Tom when I’m next queueing… er… next year as I’m on a diet..

    BTW – welcome to Scottish Blogs – have you checked out the BETA site?

  10. Shauny did you hear anything about a road in Scotland where frogs a few times a year go to mate had to be closed off because drivers were getting into accidents trying not to hit them? I heard about it on the news this morning and I’m in NYC.

  11. Genius. Again.

    I didn’t see the Mondo Thingo piece, but they must’ve flashed up a few blogs by the sounds of things.

  12. melle – i think it was on the screen for a nanosecond, my mum actually taped it! mwahaha!

    the tiny embedded photo thingy i shameless nicked from witold – he used it to post a tiny photo of himself and i thought it was a great idea…

    mo – i’ve discovered since moving here that EVERYTHING goes better with a cup of tea… mmm mmm.

    doug – irn-bru is this vile orange soft drink that is wildly popular in scotland. and in russia too, apparently. the only time i drank it was after i fainted at the radiohead concert… it was so incredibly sweet and sickly but really brings one back to life.

  13. Hey; small world – I’ve been to that fish’n’chip shop too, about five years ago. No queue though.

    And Iron Bru is made out of iron girders – – if you believe the adverts!!

    Hee, hee

  14. ani – i didn’t know about the frogs… wonder where that was…

    and gordon, i haven’t checked out the site yet, but thanks for letting a foreigner in 🙂

    and soph! back in oz i had a job that let me bludge and write all day, but now i am an admin slave/rescuer of old people there’s just no time, arrrgh

  15. Love the post, and the embedded photos are a terrific idea.

    It’s odd, just the mother day my om was going on and on about craving an Iron Brew since moving from Scotland, and that was the first time I had even heard of it.

    Apparently it’s supposed to be excellent cure for hangover when it’s partly flat and mixed with left over haggis. Seems shady to me, though.

  16. Just wanted to tell you how much I enjoy your writing. You write so naturally and give us a real sense of place.

  17. Irn Bru is available in some places in Canada as well, since there are more Scots here than in Scotland (well almost).

  18. When I was a kid, there was a huge sign for Irn Bru hanging off the railway bridge in Argyll St in Glasgow and I remember that ad “made in Scotland, from grrrdderrs” – I use it to demonstrate my faultless glesga accent to my kids. Hope you have fun with the mothership.

  19. Didja check the date on those newspaper clippings? Looked like April 1 to me, maybe Tom DIDN’T actually show…

    But I bet Wilson was there.

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