Kilrenny Church Chronicle for Sunday 3rd May.
Friday 08 May 2020
or telephone (01333) 311408
What a wonderful world
Sunset in Oban
Worship and personal reflection:
''our homes are in a Real and Important way the places of worship''
KILRENNY CHURCH CHRONICLE
ISSUE 7 Sunday 3rd May 2020.
Kilrenny Church website
East Neuk Covid19 Emergency help numbers:
0800 999 6543 - 07818 414178.
LUKE 2: 42 - 49
The Fellowship of the Believers
v 42 "They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teachingand to fellowship, to the breaking of breadand to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles. All the believers were together and had everything in common
They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke breadin their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favour of all the people. And the Lord added to their numberdaily those who were being saved."
A Healthy Church.
In these verses, Luke is giving us a compact description, a snapshot of life and witness in the new, young church.
These verses follow directly from the story of Pentecost and Peter’s powerful evangelistic sermon, which saw church numbers increase by 3000. Luke records in verse 41 that 3000 were baptised. Those baptised at Pentecost came from different regions, speaking different dialects and languages.
Whilst 3000 new believers may sound like an evangelist’s dream, think of the chaos! We are told in verse 46 'everyday they continued to meet together .... they broke bread in their homes and ate together'
Amongst the believers there would have been distinct food preferences and different levels of financial security. There would have been different prejudices to navigate, different interpretations of the Torah and different political proclivities. Just when one was beginning to learn the names of those seated at dinner, new faces would appear. There must have been a lot of cooking and baking of bread - for a fluctuating guest list!
I immediately thought of all the baking which would normally have been taking place amongst Kilrenny Church congregation for the May teas, the East Neuk Festival and the Street Market at this time of year. The hard work in preparation and serving of all those who support these events, seeing both familiar and new faces, and the reward of working together in life and witness of the Church and seeing so many visitors to Kilrenny Church.
Whilst Luke's description is of Christian discipleship and Christian living, in the young church, these verses are not intended as prescriptive rules, regulations or structures for the life and work of a Christian community today, but they do have a lesson for us, as a reflection of Christian discipleship and the proclaiming of God through the life and death and resurrection of Jesus.
The picture Luke sketches is of a community that is actively forming its members through practices of faith, whilst at the same time remaining open to newness and change. In verse 42 Luke states 'they devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.'
This must have been a balancing act as the community expanded and changed from day to day. Pentecost gave the early church a community that was full of difference, a community that needed to build a common life - see verse 44 '
all the believers were together and had everything in common'
The young Church was establishing its borders - laying down its identity and character yet the text makes clear that these borders move, responding to the new face at the table. They make room for those that are different, as they stand together in worship, service, learning and fellowship.
Luke is describing the fellowship of the believers and that the outcome of faith practices is to produce a distinct Christian identity, to develop a shared vocabulary and set of priorities, and to build a community that can carry each other’s joys and burdens, without creating a rigidity which prevents new people joining.
For Luke, the early church is an idyllic society marked by shared meals and prayers, with an ethos of unity, commitment and commonality. He speaks of the earliest church as holding fast, dedicating themselves to the teachings of the apostles, and allows us to determine what a healthy Church looks like.
Firstly a healthy church is devoted to the study of God's word
and when help is needed, to ask God.
During the current closure of Churches, as indicated at the beginning of this worship section, the message from the presbytery clerk is that ''our homes are in a Real and Important way the places of worship'' We don't need a particular building to study God's word, or to Worship God. The main aim of this newsletter is to promote our study of God's word at home.
Secondly a healthy Church is devoted to Prayer.
This is what draws us closer to God. We of course have our personal prayers and together - whilst apart - we can offer the prayers led by Allan and Jim and Ian and Michael, in our newsletter. Pray and ask God to use us in whatever way we can to ensure a healthy Church emerges intact. Interestingly, there is evidence that more people are using the online Christian Church services than ever attend a Church service - perhaps are our eyes are being opened to new possibilities as disciples of Christ? As Luke demonstrates the 'borders' are moveable as we respond to the challenges facing us.
Thirdly a healthy Church is a fellowship of believers.
The hardest part of not having worship services in the Church building is the lack of fellowship. More now than ever we can understand what true fellowship with other believers is. Whilst a church that doesn't spend time together is not going to flourish, fellowship is more than just 'socialising' together.
We may not be together in a physical sense for worship and fellowship, but Kilrenny Church community is strong and we have the advantages of modern technology, not available to Luke's Young Church, to enable participation in worship and fellowship. I urge you all, pick up the phone, send an email, face-time one another and by finding different ways for worship and fellowship we can still flourish.
Fourthly a healthy church is devoted to the breaking of bread:
Luke makes it clear that the young church 'broke bread in their homes and ate together'. Not everything we do as a Church needs to be formal. Spending time together is important, bringing us closer together. We are used to sharing fellowship with after Church teas, sharing a Christmas meal organised by the men of the congregation, and the various socials, concerts and charity fundraising activities that are such a part of the Kilrenny Church congregation calendar and I'm sure we all look forward to enjoying again once lock down and isolation is at an end.
Luke records the results of a healthy Church in these verses, namely that 'everyone was filled with awe, there were many wonders and miracles happening, and the church community grew.
whilst it is hard to face the restrictions and limitations of lock- down, I am certain we all will have recognised some positive outcomes. Generally for the Christian Community as well as the report that more people are attending to worship online it is also claimed that more people are praying than under 'normal circumstances'. Prayers in particular are for the NHS and the end of the spread of coronavirus.
We all look forward to resuming worship in Kilrenny Church, but in the meantime we can be assured that Wonders and Miracles will happen whenever there is a healthy Church Community. (Corinne)
Praise: CH 4 522 The Church is wherever God's people are praying.
Let us Pray: (Allan)
"A Prayer for all of us".
We ask you to protect and guide all the health care workers who are tirelessly fighting for us in these unfamiliar times, risking and sometimes losing their lives to care for the ill and vulnerable in our society. Working under the most extreme and sometimes dangerous situations, wrap your arms around them and keep them safe.
We pray that you may inspire those searching for a cure, a vaccine, new treatments and new medicines for the virus and through them spread your healing power.
In the midst of this storm keep us calm, and give us the courage to keep the anchor of our faith well secured. Help us to show our families and friends that with faith in you we will emerge stronger, better people and the society in which we live and worship will be a far better place, with new values and a renewed faith in you.
Father, comfort those who have lost loved ones to this virus. Those you have taken are now with you, but relatives and friends are left behind. Sometimes they were taken so quickly that we were unable to say goodbye, unable to say I love you for the last time. Comfort them Lord and assure them that they will be reunited in Heaven and live in Glory, together for ever.
And our Lord's prayer
Our Father, who art in Heaven,
Hallowed be Thy name.
Thy kingdom come.
Thy will be done on Earth as it is in Heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread,
and forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom, the power and the glory,
for ever and ever,
Praise: CH4 644 – “O Jesus, I have promised
Worship also available:
Sunday Worship on Radio 4 at 08:10
Songs of Praise on BBC1 Sunday 1.15 pm.
Church of Scotland - Worship www.churchofscotland.org.uk/worship
Rev Dr Amos Chewachong:
Newport Parish Church - listen to recordings of Sunday worship online - at
http://www.notchurch.co.uk or join
Newport Church live online service of worship Sundays at 10:45 for 11 am.
If you wish to join the Zoom Sunday Service please email the church (firstname.lastname@example.org) to be put on the direct mailing list
Rev. Ian Hamilton
“A WONDERFUL DISCOVERY!”
Many of you will have crossed the Tay Bridge and have visited “Discovery Point” and perhaps you have visited also Scotland’s new Victoria and Albert Museum, all part and parcel of Dundee’s most wonderful waterfront!
Of course, always at the heart of the Dundee waterfront will be the famous ship permanently docked there.
“Discovery” was built in a Dundee shipyard in 1900 and on 31st July 1901 she left her home port under the command of Captain Robert Falcon Scott to sail on her maiden voyage to Antarctica.
“Discovery” was especially built for Captain Scott’s expedition, which in fact became known as the “Discovery Expedition” the main purpose of which was scientific. The work the crew did was groundbreaking and over five hundred new kinds of marine animals, spiders, shrimps, star and shellfish were discovered!
In addition to being a scientific voyage of discovery another aim of Captain Scott’s expedition was to reach the South Pole, but Scott’s party has to turn back. They had travelled 300 miles further south than anyone before them and were only 480 miles short of the Pole but they were overtaken by the effects of scurvy and lack of food.
On his second expedition to the South Pole in 1910 Scott’s right hand man was Captain Lawrence “Titus” Oates. Oates was accepted for the expedition mainly due to his expertise with horses. His main role was to look after the ponies Scott intended to use for sledge-hauling for part of the trip to the South Pole and Scott eventually selected him as one of the five-man party who would travel the final distance to the Pole.
They duly reached their destination but on their return journey they encountered extremely difficult conditions, adverse weather, poor food supply, injuries, scurvy and frostbite. Oates’ feet had become severely frostbitten and he was weakening faster than the others. Eventually Oates told Scott and the others that he simply couldn’t go on and suggested they leave him in his sleeping-bag to enable the others to maintain their schedule, which they refused to do.
However a few mornings later Oates said to them (recorded in Scott’s diary) “I am just going outside and I may be some time.”
Forgoing the pain and effort of even putting on his boots Titus Oates walked out of the tent into a blizzard to his death. HE RECOGNISED THE NEED TO SACRIFICE HIMSELF THAT OTHERS MAY LIVE.
Are not Oates’ words reminiscent of words recorded in another book in relation to a person called Jesus of Nazareth who sacrificed His life that others may have life in all its fullness?
To discover Him is to make the most wonderful discovery ever, to find Him is to find life indeed.
A Postcard from Kingskettle Rev Michael Allardice
It’s amazing how time moves on. Even though each day seems to drag, the weeks fly past. It’s now been 5 weeks since the country went into “lock-down”. How much longer this will last, none of us know, but having started this journey into the unknown we need to see it through! There’s a lot of discussion in the media about when we’ll be able to get back to “normal”, but the real question is: what will the new normal look like? I hope that “new normal” isn’t just a return to the “old normal”.
The early Church faced coping with a world that had changed beyond all recognition. It would have been easy for the disciples to return home after that first Easter, go back to their boats and fishing nets and talk about “the good old days” when they thought they could change the world. Instead they continued to follow the path Jesus had set them on, their new normal was to change the world for the better. It wasn’t easy and there were many setbacks along the way, but the world changed in their day and we can be the change we want to see in the days to come when social isolation becomes a thing of the past.
An esteemed colleague reached her retirement today after spending 50 years teaching in higher education…yes I really mean 50 years! Gaye has been a great colleague in the years I’ve worked with her, and despite having come from England a long time ago, Dundee has rubbed off on her and she sent us a poem inspired by the “great” poet of Dundee: William Topaz McGonagall (for those of you unfamiliar with his work, McGonagall was billed as the worst poet in the world! It’s worth looking him up to see what I mean.)
So, in memory of a much loved colleague who is now facing her own “new normal” in well earned retirement, and to honour McGonagall, I offer you Gaye’s ode to the Pandemic (best read aloud and don’t expect it to rhyme all the time): (Michael)
The daily death lists on the news
Give us all pause for thought.
So many grieving families,
So many lives cut short.
Unemployment is set to rise.
In a worldwide catastrophe
Who picks up the pieces?
Key workers are all so busy,
Stressed and inundated.
Stay-at-homes are idle, feeling
Worthless and frustrated.
Isolated from our neighbours,
Yet every Thursday night
We venture out onto the street
And clap for all our might.
The kindnesses of the strangers
Passing you in the street.
They smile with open hopefulness
Although you never meet.
With letters, emails and skype
We contact our old friends,
And promise to maintain the links
When this hard lock-down ends.
A host of golden daffodils
Are dancing in the breeze
Oblivious to the virus.
A lovely sight to please!
Mating birds and bright spring flowers
Display their brilliance,
Encourage us to do the same -
Show our resilience.
Coal tits are nesting in the wall
And foraging for worms.
Nature carries on regardless
In no uncertain terms.
Restless waves still wash the beaches,
How can we try to turn the tide
On this huge pandemic?
We tend the garden, clean the house,
Watching our plans shatter.
On reflection we now we know it’s
Those we love who matter.
With faith and hope and charity
We’ll fight austerity.
We’ll strive to build a better world,
Thanks for the Memory
The Cross of Reconciliation article brought about my recalling a visit to Coventry in 1963 soon after the opening of the new cathedral. It was very moving to see the starkness of the ruined cathedral and close by the power and presence of the new edifice with its unique features. Yes, the ruins were produced on the night of 14th November 1940 when 515 enemy bombers raided Coventry. The first wave laid down marker flares which enabled others to see their targets. Many of the planes came round a second and third time to drop more bombs and cause even more destruction. Over 4300 houses were wrecked, several important factories destroyed and the medieval cathedral became a virtual ball of fire. Nearly 600 local people lost their lives that night. A far-seeing planning commitee met to decide the future for a new cathedral. Should it replace the old ruin? The architect they chose was a Scots architect, Basil Spence, who became Sir Basil Spence, and went for a completely new building next to the ruin so designed to reconcile the past and the future. It took about 6 years to build. The Cathedral housed the Cross of Nails, as pictured in issue 6, which I saw and found very touching. Other features I recall vividly were the Graham Sutherland tapestry and the John Pyper window with its vertical coloured stained glass panels going from bottom to top and the cathedral's overall spaciousness and spirituality. Thanks for the reminding of that worth while visit from long ago. (John)
John Boyter Brown. (1948 - 2020)
Ecclesiastes 3. To everything there is a season.
It is with great sadness that I record in the Church register that Johnny passed away on 29th April 2020.
Johnny was baptised by the Rev Hamish McNab in Kilrenny Church, together with Malcolm MacDonald. It was a double baptism, and the first baptism of Rev McNab in his 40 year ministry at Kilrenny. Making a little bit of Kilrenny history, Johnny was Godfather to our daughter Caroline who was baptised, with her twin sister Joanna, by Rev McNab exactly 40 years later in Kilrenny Church, hence Rev McNab started and ended his Ministry with a double baptism, with Johnny featuring prominently on both occasions. We will remember Johnny.
(The Peddie family)
News of members.
The Bowman household.
Jeanette sent the lovely photograph (at the beginning of this newsletter) which John had sent to her from Oban. This was a sunset in Oban taken from John's cabin window.
" John's ferry is running a very reduced service to the Isle of Mull for essential traffic only. The Bowman's are all fine and still in lockdown in Pittenweem, Cardenden, Colinsburgh and Oban. Take care and stay safe." Jeanette xx
Identifying the Naughty Choirboy
Over the past few weeks, congregation members have been stating who they think the Naughty Choirboy is:-
The suspects appear to be, in alphabetical order:-
Alex Blyth, Malcolm McDonald, Andy McKay, Harry Peddie, Dave Thomson and George Walker.
Today's contribution, I am advised, identifies the Naughty Choirboy beyond any doubt.
Answers to Allan's Quiz No. 6
1. Mark 2. Mathew & Luke 3. False 4. True 5. Mathew 6. False 7. Luke 8. John 9. Luke 10. Mathew
A big thank you to Helen Sharp for giving us this weeks' quiz. We thought as this Sunday should have been the first of this years' Kilrenny Teas a cake related quiz would be fun. So work out these anagrams and the answers are all types of cake. (Allan)
- BAT RUB GENT
- COOL TEACH
- AIR DAME
- SPIV GOT NICE OAR (8/6)
- SIT CHARMS
- A LA NUTS
- MIZZEN ROLLED (5/7)
- ORC ART
- DRY HABIT
- WALKER BATTLE (8/4)
- URGE ME IN
- CRY I A FAKE (5/4)
- BREAKFAST GOAT CLUE (5/6/6)
15. KEEN CUE DAD (6/4)
As always, answers next week.
To jog your memory and help with the quiz.....Malcolm's photo is a reminder of the teas 2019!
News of those wearing a Dog Collar!
Doddie diary and the trials of Ann
When we first had Doddie he weighed just 3.5 lbs. He now weighs in at 18.5 lbs and I worry because he doesn’t always eat his food!! He is most definitely bolder with each week and still very fond of using his teeth. I think that I would now qualify as a human tea bag with all the little perforations to my hands, arms and legs! In this week’s photo he is being chastised for eating the carpet (thankfully very cheap). His expression says it all – “Am I bovered?”
I joined the Cockerpoo Owners Facebook page and asked if it was me, had I lost my touch? I liked this reply which included-“it is a hard slog as they are intelligent, very active and very much a handful. I have grown up with dogs, but no amount of research prepared me for this landshark”. And she added that once their adult teeth come in you do stop looking as though you have been walking through a barbed wire fence! Her advice was time, patience and a lot of alcohol!!So if you see me staggering down the road stotting off the walls, you will know that I have taken her advice and been driven to drink! Lv Ann x
Fiona and Bella
Bella now sleeps in the kitchen at night - by herself of course - and so far no crying or barking. It certainly makes a difference as she had learned to jump on our bed with one leap. She sends her sniffs to her doggy pals that she has yet to meet! Fiona
Sheena and Hamish
Earlier in the week, I was in the kitchen preparing my dinner with Hamish at my
feet as usual fast asleep. On the menu was homemade soup followed by roast chicken, potatoes and cauliflower with a cheese sauce. While it was cooking I got on with the laundry. I was just about to dish up my soup when I heard Hamish barking. He was in the hall trying to open the lounge door - he stood on his hind legs and managed to burst into the room and dashed under the coffee table and snatched something up and into his mouth. I rushed to see what was so important to him - it was a long leaf from the cauliflower that I must have dropped on the kitchen floor. He had obviously pinched it when I wasn't looking and hid it under the table to attack then eat at his leisure. Risking life and limb I eventually managed to retrieve it! Another new 'toy' he discovered is a very noisy, stiff plastic bag that makes a loud crackling noise when he attacks it. It keeps him amused for ages as he loves anything that he thinks he can kill. A friend phoned me on Wednesday and was asking about Hamish. She wanted to know what breed he is. I explained that he is Shih Tzu - Bichon Frise cross and she said 'Oh, are they the kind of dogs that have their bottom teeth jutting out'. I replied with indignation 'Certainly not'. At the moment he is curled up in his bed as ifbutter wouldn't melt! Sometimes silence can be golden.
Wishing you all well, Sheena.
The Naughty Choirboy
In 1987 Kilrenny Church found itself in a very unfamiliar position when the Minister of some 40 years retired, creating a vacancy.
The Powers that be at 121 George Street decreed that Kilrenny Kirk should be "linked" to a neighbouring Church, described by the Scottish Churches Trust as a "daughter" Church of Kilrenny, having been built in the 1880s, some 650 years after Kilrenny.
The "linkage" required a Minister for the common vacancy, and both congregations had to be represented on the committee. I was the only male member of Kilrenny congregation to serve on the vacancy committee.
The committee members shared out the visits far and near to listen to various applicants preach in their current locations. I visited, among others, a parish near Sunderland, for example. When this task was complete, the committee members met to cut the list to 4 or 5 ministers who were each then invited along, together with their spouse for a "get to know you better" chat.
You may imagine my absolute shock when I entered the lounge at Kilrenny to discover that today's spouse was none other than one of the daughters of the Manse, outside whose cottage I had parked my car overnight for no other reason than to wind up her mother, The Minister's Wife!
This was some 30 years later, and, being equally surprised, we acknowledged each other with the briefest nod of the head and a wee smile.
I observed only, as various committee members chatted, or attempted to chat, with her husband, and I remember thinking: How on earth did this lovely lassie end up married to this expressionless, monosyllabic lump?
Post-chat relaxed mingling took place, and as I stood with my coffee, a voice behind me said
"Well, well, you're a man of surprises. Vacancy Committee! Wait till I tell my mother"
"Oh, your Mother, I hope she's well, I was terrified of her for most of my formative years"
"You needn't have been, she was very fond of you, you know. She called you her "Naughty Choirboy".
"It's lovely in this wee corner of Fife" she said, "but I get the feeling we won't be called to this beautiful Church."
It was not my place to make a definitive comment, so I didn't.
"Never mind" she said "it's been an enjoyable trip, and it was nice to bump into you again. I'll remember my visit to Kilrenny"
"Me too", I replied.
Telegram Boy / Junior Postman St Andrews in 1964
When I left school (Waid Academy, Anstruther) in 1964 I started working at Band’s Motor Garage, Melville Terrace in Anstruther as an apprentice motor mechanic. I spent most of the time repairing cycles, delivering paraffin, sharpening lawn mower blades and attending the petrol pumps and not much time learning to repair cars. I was a bit disillusioned and one day reading the local St Andrews newspaper the St Andrews Citizen I noticed an advert from the Post Office in St Andrews looking for a Telegram Boy / Junior Postman to start work immediately. I sent in a letter asking if they would consider me for the post but they wrote back and said they would prefer a local lad from St Andrews as he would know the area better. After a couple of weeks the advert re-appeared and I tried my luck again and as no-one from St Andrews had obviously applied and after a small test they offered me the post. I had to be in St Andrews to start work at 0700 am on a cold Monday morning in March 1964 so that meant a cold motor cycle run from Anstruther on my Honda 50 (AFG 45B). Everything was new to me, the large Post Office building in South Street ( now Adamsom’s) meeting all the postmen (mostly war veterans) and a few young men that had been telegram boys before me and now were postmen. There were two telegram boys on duty, the early morning shift 0700 – 1400 Mon – Fri and 0700 – 1200 Sat. The other doing the split shift 0700 – 1030 & 1400 - 1700 Mon – Fri and 0700 – 1430 Sat. We would alternate the shifts weekly. The Telegram printer would be switched on at 09am and off at 5pm every day and it sprang into life when a telegram came in. We would also work every other Sunday, the telegram machine would be switched on from 1000 till 1200 for all the telegrams that would arrive then and after 1200 we would deliver them. On Sunday we had to cover the Cupar delivery area as they did not have a motor cycle so you could be delivering telegrams to places as far afield as Tayport, Newburgh or Falkland as well as the St Andrews area. A telegram boy’s duty in St Andrews before the machine was switched on would be to sort and deliver letters to a few streets in and around the Post Office before the telegram machine would be turned on and the telegrams started churning out for delivery. One of the places we would deliver mail to was the Bute Medical Institute of the St Andrews University and on entering the building one had to walk past all the bottles and jars containing various parts of the human body (not a pleasant sight) to get to the offices. The other duty consisted of part rural and part town. We cycled along the Lade Braes delivering mail and out of St Andrews through the western cemetery and delivered mail to some of the farms and the famous Rufflets Hotel (where Jack Nicklaus booked all of it when he was playing golf at the Open in St Andrews) that were within a few miles cycle range of the town and back in by the Strathkinnes High road.
When the telegram machine was switched on the messages came out on long pieces of paper, the officer on duty would tear them off and stick them on to a telegram paper pad and then into an envelope with the address on it. He would then ring a bell as he was in a different part of the building from us and we would go and get the telegram from him. If the telegram was for in the town boundary we would use a cycle to deliver it, but if it was for an outlying village or farm we would be allowed to use the Motor Cycle (a BSA Bantam). The Bantam we used had a governor fitted to the engine which only allowed you to go at 30mph but when our bike was in the PO garage at Cupar for repair the spare motor bike had no governor and you sped along at a great speed of over 50mph. The year I started in 1964 the Open golf tournament was played at St Andrews ( with Tony Lema winning the Claret Jug) and when you received a telegram for a golfer playing in the Open you had to cycle down to the R & A Clubhouse, go inside and ask one of the stewards on duty if they could tell you where the certain golfer was on the golf course (that was not easy as no mobiles in these days just guess work) then cycle out to the part of the course he was playing on, wait till he had finished the hole and hand the telegram to him in person, he read it and you waited to see if he had to reply to the telegram. Some days it took you a wee while to find the player and most of the time they had no reply. After Tony won the jug he had quite a lot of telegrams, but I didn’t manage to get his autograph. Saturday’s in the summer months was really busy with wedding telegrams and you could be at one of the hotels umpteen times with tele cards, Russacks, Rufflets Atholl Palace (now a students' residence) and Pitmilly House Hotel at Kingsbarns. After a few years I was made up to a full postman and by then telegrams were no longer available as more people had phones and they did away with Telegram/Junior Postmen altogether. When you were not delivering telegrams your day was spent sorting letters into the pigeon boxes for various parts of the British Isles and also working the labelling machine that printed out the paper labels for each bundle of letters (Edinburgh, Glasgow , London etc) and hard card labels for all the mail and parcel bags. You also had to cut off the string that was left on the lead seals that were wrapped round each mail bag as they were sent back to a PO department for melting down to make more lead seals.
After 3 years I was made up to Postman and was put on holiday relief duties which meant I had to learn all the 20 duties that were in the St Andrews office. They covered from all St Andrews, Kingsbarns, Boarhills, Dunino, Lathoker, Strathkinnes, Guardbridge and Leuchars. Also in my time at St Andrews the trains were still running between Leuchars and the town and we had to take the mail and parcel bags to and from the train station. One of the rail guards was very strict and if any mail bag we were loading on to the train had a hole or even a small tear in the bag he would refuse and not take it, all the postmen on train duty had to carry with them strings and a seals to tie up the hole or tear. When the trains were eventually stopped we had to go all the way to Dundee Railway station to collect the mail over the newly opened Tay Road Bridge. One of the shifts I covered was an early morning 4am start with going to Dundee Railway Station for the mail off the Edinburgh to Aberdeen train and having a small town delivery but with finishing at 11am.
At Christmas time the Post Office hired the Territorial Army Drill Hall in St Andrews just round from the West Port and employed quite a few students to sort and deliver all the amount of mail that was posted in the town. The students delivered the mail while the postmen stayed indoors sorting all the cards, packets and parcels. There were a few stories of students getting lost and someone having to go and find them and some would even post the cards back into post boxes if they got tired or fed up, they did not last long in the job.
I remember delivering mail to the famous Old Byre Theatre in Abbey Street in the town before Abbey Street was re-developed and the new Byre Theatre was built and in these days it was a farm byre. When you walked into the byre yard you would never see anyone to hand the mail to, you would open the door to the byre where you were met with row upon row of old picture house seats leading down to a small stage and still no-one about. You had to come back out to the yard and yell out Post and hopefully someone would poke out their head from any one of the small upstairs windows and come down and take the mail from you.
I thoroughly enjoyed my time as a telegram boy and junior postman but after 8 years at St Andrews Post Office I transferred to Anstruther Post Office, but that is another story. My move from a possibly dirty greasy job repairing cars to working as a postman with Royal Mail was very rewarding for me and if I had my working life all over again I would not hesitate to do the same as being a postie working outdoors in the fresh air and meeting all kinds of people.
Malcolm MacDonald, retired Royal Mail Manager, Anstruther.
The Kirk Session wish you a very safe, healthy and happy week ahead.
Doxology CH4 806
To Father, Son and Holy Ghost,
the God whom we adore,
be glory, as it was, and is,
and shall be evermore.