Dig your own hole

Fish and chips at St Andrews

Do you know the famous opening scene from Chariots of Fire, with the dudes slo-mo running along a beach to the stirring strains of Vangelis?

That beach is in St Andrews, and we ended up there recently with fish and chips. What better place to eat freshly fried goods than a beach so associated with athleticism?

Each weekend my aim is to do at least ONE thing that involves leaving the house, as our collective tendency is to hermit it up with books or motorcycle repairs.

Plus, it’s good to get the Fitbit beyond three figures and have something to say when asked, “How was your weekend?”.

This was an extremely sunny August bank holiday Monday, so there was that extra obligation to do something and not waste those rare UV rays.

So we drove out along the East Neuk, the Fife Riviera if you will, and walked along Lower Largo Beach.

Our beach jaunts always go the same:

  1. We walk along and say Isn’t this relaxing!
  2. We talk about our longing to live in a cottage by the sea – in the middle of nowhere, with a big window so we can drink tea and watch the grey and moody waves.
  3. We each try to convince the other that they’re the best one to get a better job to make this a reality.
  4. I go on about how much I love the water and must go for a paddle.
  5. The water is fecking freezing and I step on a jaggy rock or a crab shell.
  6. I whinge that it’s too hot and say, “Do you fancy a fish supper?”

We ended up at Cromars in St Andrews, which I do declare has the best fish and chips in the area these days. We headed down to the Chariots of Fire beach, bellies rumbling.

The beach was packed with fellow pale folks, including a cute and feisty little girl beside us with her dad and grandfather. She was all geared up in her sun hat and swimming costume, making sand castles with her bucket and spade.

“DADDY,” she was saying, “Help me dig this hole!”

“Mmmyeah… in a minute,” he said, clearly rendered motionless by the heat.

Another thing about a sunny beach jaunt in Scotland is that we never have the right gear, because we never expect it to happen. Hat? No. Flip flops? No. Beach towel? Aye right.

I wrapped Gareth’s hoodie around my head like a bonnet and trudged across the dunes, my sneakers rapidly filling with sand. I found us a spot near a fence that offered a tiny bit of shade.

“Excellent choice,” said Gareth, “I bet dogs pee against this fence!”

We sat down and as we unwrapped our lunch a bright red dog bounded up to us and wagged its tail sweetly.


I learned forward to pat the dog’s fluffy russet head, and that’s when it swooped in, snatched my fish between its chops and bounded away!

I’d forgotten how dogs joyfully hoover up food of all kinds. As opposed to Ziggy, who every couple of weeks will sit back from her food bowl with a haughty face like, “This food that I’ve been happily eating now displeases me for reasons too complex for a human to understand, so I will stare at you until the situation is rectified”.

“Daddy! That dog just ran away with our sandwiches!”

I could hear the Vangelis theme as it scarpered away down the beach, so many more lunches to steal.

“Would SOMEBODY please help me DIG. THIS. HOLE. NOW!

“You can dig your own hole!” said Gareth, “Fight the patriarchy!”

. . .

It’s now late October and six weeks have passed since I started this post and I can’t remember where I was going with this! In the end the little girl got digging assistance then they got an ice cream and all was well.

I was going to segue somehow into a big thank you for your comments on the last post of existential ponderment. Y’all so wise, compassionate and thoughtful and I was continually welling up. It’s so good to be able to talk about this stuff.

In the weeks since I’ve been thinking about the themes that cropped up about what makes a meaningful life – giving back, mindfulness, kindness, stretching (physical, mental, metaphorical), lifelong learning; appreciating the “everyday delights”. I’ve also been focusing more outwardly, as many of you mentioned. Hanging out with the humans always puts things in perspective. Thank you all so much.

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.

6 thoughts on “Dig your own hole

  1. There’s nothing better than fish ‘n ‘ chips at the beach – well maybe icecream…
    I think I’d love a sea view however I only live 10 mins drive from the beach and never go there 😄 I like the thought of the beach more than actually going there.

  2. Ooh, thanks for the trip down memory lane. 🙂 I went to uni in St Andrews. I recommend Jannetta’s ice cream. Did you see any seals?

  3. I was all gooey at the thought of fish and chips on a british beach until you started to say how hot it was and then I laughed!!! Sorry but you know what real Aussie heat is. Though I do understand the longing to live at the beach – I always feel that way when I go to the beach

  4. As always your post made me LAUGH AND LAUGH, btw I am just reading a book you would love – called FUCK FEELINGS (sounds a joke but is very sensible and helpful and by a proper psychologist). I hope G shared his fish with you! What a naughty dog!

  5. Goodness, what a lot of blog posts suddenly! I have never wondered how to fill up my life because I was a teacher (thus had no life) and also had children. (I still hope that you might reconsider that budgerigar question; but maybe you have done.) But I wonder how much life I have left now, and thus, illogically, one of the things I now fill my remaining years with is cutting up little bits of fabric and sewing them back together again. So useful but somehow so satisfying. If you fancy quilting, have a go! It’s fiddly but not difficult (at least, not at my standard). I too recommend the Missouri Star Quilt Company tutorials but would be happy to give you some advice how to avoid some of the mistakes I’ve made! You’re such a lovely person and so talented and should not hide in a box!

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