Glenrothes from a distance

Here’s the thing about my soon-to-be-no-longer home town, Glenrothes. It lacks perspective.

I mean that only in the literal sense, by the way. I’m sure the most easterly of Scotland’s post-war New Towns has a sense of its place in the world and all that, but in terms of looking at it from a distance, it’s damn hard to do.

Some places – St Andrews, for example – do have that. Approach it from the south, in particular, and suddenly you crest a hill and there it is laid out before you, all spires and ancient monuments. Lots of coastal cities are the same, of course – the topography kind of demands that, at some point, you’re above them looking down on them from higher ground, and you see them in all their glory.

Glenrothes, not so much. I blame those damn town planners, folding the urban landscape into the soft Fife countryside, flexing like a dolphin’s back between the valleys of the Ore and Leven rivers.

A few days ago, we went to my Mum and Dad’s bench at Balbirnie, then on to Markinch Cemetery, where Alison’s Dad is buried. Not saying goodbye, exactly, because they’ll be with us wherever we are in the world but, well, you know. Call it a rite of passage.

And the view from the Cemetery wall is about as good a view you get of Glenrothes from a distance. Even if, from a certain angle, the New Town disappears altogether and all you see is fields and farm cottages from a time when 1948 was far in the future and you might as well have taken the picture in sepia.

This time next week, we’ll have moved to our new home south of the Forth. Till then, here’s an updated version of a spoken word track I did as part of a digital storytelling project about the town a couple of years ago.





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