Anstruther Improvements Association


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2016 Anstruther Writing Awards winners

14th November 2016

On Thursday 10th November the Anstruther Improvements Association celebrated the fourth Anstruther Writing Awards since the writing competition was relaunched in 2013. A writing competition was one of numerous events that used to take place during the Anster Fair, held in the town to celebrate the poem of the same name written by William Tennant (1784-1848). In 2013 the AIA decided to revive the competition in order to build on the community's great tradition of creative writing and to celebrate talent of all ages. Categories are open to primary school children, secondary school pupils and adults.

The Awards competition has grown steadily in the four years it has now been running. This year entries more than doubled and the judges comment on the rising standards each year. Judges this year were Chae Strathie, Christina Banach, Jennie Erdal and Andrew Greig. “We are incredibly lucky to have such a prestigious group of judges, all of whom have some connection with Fife,” said Christine Palmer, AIA President. “We are so grateful for their support and it means a great deal to the entrants that they provide such positive and encouraging feedback.”

The Awards ceremony was a cosy, candlelight affair in the lower hall of Dreel Halls, home to the AIA. With coffee and cake for all, it was buzzing with creativity and excitement. The audience was treated to readings of all the winning entries and Chae Strathie and Jennie Erdal were on hand to entertain and pass on their experience of the literary establishment. AIA Honorary Patron Elizabeth Gordon, who was instrumental in relaunching the writing competition, helped with reading out the entries and awarding prizes. The event finished with a rousing rendition of the appropriately-named adult category winning poem, Anster Fair.

Results of the Anstruther Writing Awards:

  • Primary category: Brendan Lewis, 2nd Molly Scott
  • Secondary category: Kate Fryer (Poetry), Xander Spence (Reflective Writing), Melanie Maclennan (Short Story)
  • Adult category: Nicholas Beinn (Short Story), Ian Richardson (Poetry)

14th March 2016

It's a busy month at Dreel Halls with both an Anster Nicht on Thursday and Community Cinema on Sunday. The Anster Nicht takes us to the Southern tip of the world to the Sub Antartic Island of South Georgia. Our speaker, Katie Murray, spent the summer of 2011-2012 there as curator of the Grytviken Museum. Grytviken was once a famous whaling station and it is the place where Ernest Shackleton famously arrived after crossing the mountains of South Georgia after an 800 mile journey from Elephant Island. It is a fascinating place and we look forward to the talk.

On Sunday, we have Robert Carlyle directing and starring in a macabre comedy as a Glaswegian Barber who takes up serial killing. We have teas and coffee and home baking and a 6.45 start.

Also Yellow ducks going up over the town for the AIA Duck Race. As usual this takes place at 10.30 on Easter Saturday. Please support us in our biggest and craziest fund raiser of the year to keep this tradition going.

Elizabeth Gordon, Hon Pat.

7th September 2015

The new season of Anster Nichts is almost upon us! All the talks are listed on our Events page. You can also download a programme here.

25th May 2015

As part of the Anstruther Harbour Festival festivities the A.I.A will be holding their Boat Race on the Dreel burn on Saturday 30th May at 10:30am. Boats are available locally where you see the Boat Race sign or at the burnside from 10am on the morning of the race. More information here!

6th April 2015

Easter Saturday morning, Dreel Burn, has meant only one thing to the AIA these last 26 or 27 years - The Duck Race. Thanks to massive support from traders in the town, and indeed massive support from all the buyers of Ducks, the Duck Race has become an institution. The Duck pushers said this was one of the easiest Duck Races, no ducks escaped and 25 prizes were won. The crowd piled into Dreel Halls for refreshments and an Easter Bonnet Parade judged by the Fisher Lass and Lad.

The Duck Race has now been surrounded by King Creosote's 'Yellae Deuks' Festival, a three Day event that culminated in an ecstatic crowd dancing to all his 'big international hits', the loyal fans favourites. Some of the best in Anstuther, Scottish and British music played over the Easter Weekend. The crowd consisted of friends old and new, young and older who also enjoyed an Easter Picnic and the stunning weather Anster had to offer on Easter Sunday.

Next Sunday, the AIA are helping to support the Table Top Games Club's fund raiser for the RNLI Anstruther Lifeboat Station.

Elizabeth Gordon, Hon. Patron

30th March 2015

The AIA's big fun fundraiser, the Duck Race, takes place this Saturday morning at 10.30am when up to a 1000 yellow plastic ducks get chucked off a bridge and are cajoled towards the finish line at the Dreel Bridge. It's a great sight and lots of fun.

Prizewinners are announced in Dreel Halls immediately afterwards and the public are invited to join us in refreshments and see the Easter Parade.
There are prizes for the best hats so come and have some fun.

Ducks are available where you see the yellow duck sign. We have already had amazing support from local traders selling the ducks so a great big thank you to them.

Elizabeth Gordon, Honorary Patron

16th March 2015

At the AIA AGM, retiring President Elizabeth Gordon spoke of the success of Dreel Halls and the fun that had happened there over the last fourteen months. Dreel Halls has become an important venue for various clubs, groups, ceilidhs and parties. There remains the challenge of turning Dreel Halls into a venue with access and facilities for all, and although our recent planning application was turned down the AIA will strive to achieve this.

Thanks were given to our supporters and members, especially the two Petes from Colinsburgh Community Cinema in screening films and Fife Free Press for their support in publishing our news and launching their calendar in Dreel Halls.

The new Committee is ready for action. They are Kate Anstruther, John Barker, Jen Gordon, Chloe Milne, Cllr Elizabeth Riches and Alan Stewart. Elizabeth Gordon and Christine Keay were made Honorary Patrons for a five year period. The Committee's first task will be to get the Duck Race organised for Easter Saturday.

We finished our Anster Nicht season with local success story Murray Barnett giving a demonstration of cooking with artisan bread. There were tastings of a pineapple jam and hot cross bun pudding and a savoury pizza dish. Murray also explained the advantages of artisan bread using less preservatives and causes less bloating. The tasting was enjoyed by many and it was an enjoyable end to the Anster Nicht season.

Elizabeth Gordon, Honorary Patron

12th March 2015

The Chair's Report is available to download here.

9th March 2015

We had an excellent film night at Dreel Halls on Sunday, with the screening of the South African film 'Felix' as part of the Scotland Africa Film Festival. Once again, thanks to the two Petes from Colinsburgh Community Cinema, this was a lovely big screen presentation. The vibrant colours, wonderful music and a story that brought a tear to the eye contributed to a good Sunday event. The AIA Committee will be working hard to bring Community Cinema to Dreel Halls in the Autumn.

This week we have an early meeting and AGM starting at 7pm on Thursday, before award winning Artisan Baker, Murray Barnett gives us a talk on bread making. Only full members can vote at the AGM but all are welcome at the talk staring about 7.30pm. There will be, as always at the AIA, refreshments.

This week keep a lookout for the 'Yellow Ducks'. Easter weekend means our Duck Race on the Saturday at 10.30 and our Easter Picnic on the Sunday afternoon. Ducks will be available where you see the yellow duck sign.

Elizabeth Gordon, President

2nd March 2015

This Sunday, the doors are open at 6.15pm at Dreel Halls for a film show. Showing as part of Africa in Motion, the Scotland Africa Film Festival, the two Petes from Colinsburgh will be putting up the screen and projecting so the AIA can screen the film Felix. This 2013 film has been described as, 'Billy Elliot with sax meets Buena Vista Social Club in South Africa'. It is directed by the SAFTA lifetime achievement winner Roberta Durrant and has been described by one critic as standing out simply because it has bucket loads of charm.

The AIA is pursuing the possibility of having its own screening equipment in the Dreel Halls so come along and support us. Tickets, with refreshments, are £4 for adults and £2 for under 18s. Tickets on the door.

Elizabeth Gordon President

23rd February 2015

At our most recent Anster Nicht, local architect Fermin Beltran of Fife Architects led an informed discussion on green homes. In an intelligent and comprehensive presentation, Fermin helped the audience consider what was really green and how this impacted on both ecology and the economy. Architects can provide some answers and in an area like the East Neuk there is the challenge of ensuring that the existing housing can be improved. It was a thought provoking evening.

Our Final Anster Nicht will also involve a local businessman when we have Murray Barnett, Artisan Baker talk about his very delicious bread. That meeting will be held on 12th March immediately following our AGM.

Next Sunday, 8th March there will be a film show. This is part of Africa in Motion, the Scottish African Film Festival, and the film is a delightful tale called 'Felix', about a young African dreaming of becoming a saxophonist. There are details on our website and there will be more information in the local press next week.

Elizabeth Gordon, President

16th February 2015

Dreel Halls continue to be very busy this Spring. Now on the third week of February we have our Anster Nichts and this Thursday we have Anstruther based Fife Architects, Lucy and Fermin Beltran talking about Eco architecture, sustainability and being green. Fermin will have a presentation and would welcome questions about both the economics and the ecology of modern architecture, We look forward to welcoming members and visitors alike.

Elizabeth Gordon, President

2nd February 2015

The AIA held its second Candlemas Supper on Sunday in Dreel Halls. Candlemas was originally called Imbolc and was celebrated with different customs all over Celtic Britain welcoming the halfway point between the darkest day and the days of even light and darkness. We celebrated with mulled wine and lots of comfort food. There were readings and poetry from America, Wales, Cornwall, England, Scotland and Orkney. These were stories of ancient customs and changes in the landscape as Spring approaches. We finished with lighting our candles in the darkness and having young Sophie Palmer read a poem she had just been given. The Hall looked lovely with its daffodils, greenery and candles. There was fine gathering of folks originating from all over Britain and South America.

Our next event is our Anster Nicht on Thursday 19th February when our speakers are the joint husband and wife team called Fife Architects.

Elizabeth Gordon, President

26th January 2015

On February 2nd we'll be halfway between the Winter and Spring solstices. Our ancestors celebrated the Imbolc, which later became known as Candlemas and the AIA will have a celebration this Sunday at 4pm at Dreel Halls with a Sundowner Supper. This will be a simple event with Mulled Wine and soft drinks, a light supper and plenty of candles. There will be some readings and stories by some of our supper guests and anyone can bring along a piece to read about the coming of Spring or Candlemas. Our last Candlemas was a lovely event and we hope this will be too. Please see our events page for details and let Elizabeth at the Community Kist know so she can get an idea of numbers.

We're pleased to have our Hall used more and welcome people into its space. There's something on nearly every day now and another 40th birthday was celebrated at the weekend. There was a bit of tidying up of flower pots this weekend and hopefully more will be done before the next blast of winter descends.

Elizabeth Gordon, President

12th January 2015

The Association has a busy week ahead when we team up with two other Anstuther organisations. On Thursday night Anster Nichts return with a talk brought to you courtesy of the 3BCDT, the Community Development Trust. The talk is entitled 'Demon Frigates and Spectre Barques' and is about the supernatural seas of nineteenth century literature. Our speaker is Emily Alder of Edinburgh's Napier University and she will talk about the status of ghost ship. All I can say is 'shiver me timbers'.

On Friday Night David Jack returns with a Ceilidh for our Dreel Halls First Birthday Party. We are putting on this event with Anstruther and District Allotments Association. They will be using their seasonal vegetables to make soup. There will also be cake. Tickets are £6, with special deals for children and families. It is also a BYOB event, with games and prizes, so come and dance the night away.

We are delighted to be collaborating with these two groups. The town has a successful history of groups working together, having a good time and raising money for projects and we are happy to follow on.

Elizabeth Gordon, President

15th December 2014

It has been a busy week in Dreel Halls as we welcomed Christmas Parties and celebrations. Our wee hall looked festive thanks to the Christmas trees decorated by Alan Gordon and Christine Keay. Our Quilters and Tabletop Games ended their 2014 season and this week the lovely Kindred Spirits meet on Thursday.

The AIA had its Members Christmas Social last Friday when we warmed the mulled wine and mince pies and settled down for an evening of entertainment. Alan Gordon read an icy bath story from Kilvert's diary, a story of the 1914 Christmas Truce and the Cratchit's Christmas. Graham James, hailing from Cornwall, told the story of the Mousehole Cat, the story of a fisherman safely returned to land after a great winter storm. Then we had quizzes when the Golden Oldies beat the Young(ish) Turks.

The Shore Shop made our evening more fun by providing CDs, games and pictures for our games and auction. The star turn was our own Alistair Leslie regaling us with stories from his little book. His delivery was spot on. A few of us present who enjoyed his English lessons over fifty years ago (yes reader - fifty years) and his star still shines brightly. We finished the evening as usual singing what we wish all our members, supporters and friends: 'A Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year'.

Elizabeth Gordon, President

8th December 2014

Friday is a busy night for Anster, with The Bank's Fair and a visit from Santa. For members of the AIA, it is the night we hold our Christmas Social. Free to members, there is mulled wine, wine and soft drinks, hot mince pies, nibbles, games, stories and singing so why not come and join us for a couple of hours to wish everyone a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. There are some cards and Fife Free Press calendars for sale too. Come and join us at 7.30 for 8.00 for our Annual festive treat.

Elizabeth Gordon, President

1st December 2014

The AIA will be holding their Christmas Social on Friday 12th December, 7:30 for 8pm. This should allow people to visit Santa at the Sweetie Shop and the Bank's Christmas Fair before walking round to the Halls.

There are a very few Fife Free Press Calendars, Discovering Fife, still available. This would be the ideal time to buy them. We've spent some time this week putting in some narcissi and daffodils in our Dreel Garden. Due to the mild weather everything is still flowering and it's a bit strange sorting out geraniums, fushia and lavender at the same time.

Elizabeth Gordon, President

24th November 2014

It was a full house again for our November Anster Nicht, Life and Times of Thomas Watson and Mary Buick. Told by Alex Gowans, who had been brought up East the Toon, right by Cellardyke Harbour, the Tale involved the story of Thomas, an ancestor who was pressganged into the Navy at the time of the Napoleonic Wars. His new young wife followed him down to Portsmouth and lived with him on board ship, HMS Ardent, where not only did she have her children but she assisted the Ship's surgeon in the midst of battle dealing with horrific injuries.

Both returned to Cellardyke and set up home that their descendants still live in today. In fact, many of their descendants were in the audience to hear a story that would be worthy of a film. Alex has kindly given us the transcript which we hope to publish as a small book. In the meantime, transcripts are available from the AIA for a small fee.

This week in the hall we have our usual events and the ever growing Kindred Spirits meets on Thursday at 7:30pm. Our Christmas Social is on Friday 12th December. This date was chosen earlier in the year to avoid conflicting with Anstruther's Christmas Night but that has now been moved to the 12th too. All members are welcome for a Social that starts at 7:30pm, hopefully after they've had a wee look at all the other events in the town. Giving names to Elizabeth would be helpful for catering purposes.

Elizabeth Gordon, President

10th November 2014

The second Annual Anstruther Writing Awards took place last Thursday Night at Dreel Halls. There was a much bigger response to the competition this year which resulted in more work for both the Committee so apologies for any results going out late. Our winners were:

  • Primary First Prize: Amy Hargreaves, Primary Second Prize: Blythe Taylor.
  • Secondary Short Story: Abigail Liscoe, Secondary Poetry: Isla Timmermans.
  • Adult Short Story: Joint Winners:Pete Marshall and Reni Timmermans
  • Adult Poetry: Emily McKay with commendations to Susan Grant and Gill Fraser.

Our Judges were Jennie Erdal, Andrew Greig and Chae Strathie. Jennie Erdal attended the event also spoke on the Art of Short Story Writing and took time to speak to some of the entrants. We know this Annual event won't reach the echelons of Glasgow and the MTV Awards but it could become bigger and better. The AIA also wish to acknowledge formally the generous and anonymous donation we received from a local person to ensure this event was covered financially.

Finally, on Saturday in Dreel Halls we have a Vintage Christmas from Bothy Workshop and Friends with interiors, furniture, textiles, accessories, home produce and yummy things to eat and drink. We can't wait to see our Lower Hall looking festive. The event runs from 11am until 4pm.

Elizabeth Gordon, President

3rd November 2014

The AIA had a busy weekend putting on both a Vintage Day and a Film Show. At the Vintage Day, Christine Keay once again rallied her group of gallant women who had sewn, knitted, crocheted and baked to display and sell their craft. As in previous years, the Dreel Halls was a good space to sit with vintage china, cutlery and tablecloths and enjoy a nice cup of tea and home baking. There was an interesting display of vintage artefacts and 60s and 70s clothing featuring bellbottoms and mini skirts and a Cossack Hat from Harrods. The Hall was set up for Halloween with Christine's perfect spooky bunting. All change to Tartan Bunting on Sunday for a Full House showing of 'From Scotland With Love'.

It was a real privilege to screen this film of 70 years of archived film edited seamlessly with Kenny Anderson's soundtrack. It shows a Scotland full of community spirit, Fisher Lassies linking arms on Harbour Mouths, energetic weans and bairns, bathing belles and tearful emigrants climbing the gangplanks of Clyde built steamers. After a well received screening, the Producer Grant Keir, Director Virginia Heath and our own King Creosote did a Question and Answer Session. This was a fascinating insight into film making, into a film that has been nominated for a Scottish Bafta.

By the time we go to Press we should know all the results of the Writing Awards so please look out for information on which has a direct link to our pages. Our awards will be presented on Thursday 6th November with feedback from one of the judges, award winning novelist and creative writing lecturer Jenny Erdal. The event starts at 6.30pm and as usual, there will be refreshments.

Elizabeth Gordon, President

28th October 2014

There's a busy week ahead at Dreel Halls. On Wednesday at 4pm there is a meeting of the Cycle Path Group, open to all interested. Thursday sees the Kindred Spirits meet in the Upper Hall. This week we will be treated to a neck massage. On Friday, Halloween Night, Fence hold their Fancy Dress Phobia Ceilidh with Billy Anderson's Band. Tickets are £10 and information is on the Fence Website. On the Saturday Fence have another night of DJs and live music. Again tickets are £10.

On Saturday, Christine Keay has yet another of her fabulous Vintage Days to raise money for the AIA. This starts at 10am and goes on until 4pm. There will be craft, coffee, cake, vintage displays, vintage clothes, a raffle and chat. It has been great fun these last two years and should be again.

On Sunday we have a very special event when there is a screening of 'From Scotland With Love' at 6pm. This film has just been nominated for a Scottish Bafta in the Documentary Category. It is 75 minutes of finely edited, Scottish archive footage telling the story of Scotland over the last century. The Director Virginia Heath will be there for a Question and Answer Session. Our own King Creosote provided the evocative soundtrack and will also be there. Tickets are only £4 with refreshments and are available at the Community Kist and through the AIA website.

Elizabeth Gordon, President

25th October 2014

The AIA and Dreel Halls have been very busy recently and there are many events coming up. Last week we had our October Anster Nichts about Witches and Hauntings. We were pleased to have Audrey Yeardley who stepped in for Leonard Low to talk about witches. Audrey, a local tarot reader and astrologer, is very protective of witches and gave us her thoughts and experiences. She alluded to a frightening time she spent in the tower at Pittenweem Church and our main speaker Gregor Stewart also spoke and showed photographs of this tower. Gregor played a voice picked up on a recorder there. Gregor and his son Kyle also spoke of their experiences in the Scottish Fisheries Museum and Kellie Castle. Proof is elusive but we seem to live in a very spiritual part of the world. We were very pleased with all the people who turned out to Anster Nichts and grateful for the support of all those renewing their memberships.

Coming up this week we have Tabletop Games, Pilates, Keep Fit and Quilting all happening at Dreel Halls. Then on Thursday East Neuk Kindred Spirit meet for meditation and learning. The AIA also looks forward to our Halloween weekend with a Fancy Dress Ceilidh with Billy Anderson on the Friday, and on Saturday a Vintage Day and Fence DJs in the evening. Then on Sunday there is a very special showing of 'From Scotland with Love' with a Question & Answer session with the director and an appearance from King Creosote. By which time the Committee should have all next year's daffodils and tulips planted in their flower bed and will be on their knees!

Elizabeth Gordon, President

13th October 2014

It's the third Thursday of the month, so it's our monthly Anster Nicht at Dreel Halls. Our subject is appropriate for the month of October as it features a talk on witches and ghostly goings on. Audrey Yeardley will do a short talk on witches and Gregor Stewart and his son will talk on local ghostly events. Afterwards, there is an opportunity to sit with a cup of tea or coffee. All are welcome to this evening.

Dreel Halls is now the venue for several events and last Friday saw a group of young people and Community Education Worker, Gordon Forbes, put on a Cinema Night as part of the Scottish Mental Health Arts Festival. A group of us enjoyed watching Ben Stiller's 'The Secret Life of Walter Mitty'. Our young hosts served cups of tea and popcorn. Thanks must go to the two Pete's, Marshall and Rabjohns from Colinsburgh Community Cinema who put up the screen and provided the speakers and projector. The Community Kist provided £200 of funding towards this event.

We've loads coming up at Dreel Halls in the coming weeks. Sarah Banjo is hosting a gig on Friday night, there's a Psychic Fair on Saturday and a Baby Jumble Sale on Sunday. There's also Fence's Hallowe'en event, Kindred Spirits, a Vintage Day and a showing of From Scotland With Love. Details as ever around the town and online. It's really hard work for all our volunteers but we believe it's so important to put on these community events.

Our Writing Awards Competition is now closed and entries are being judged before an announcement is made at the end of the month.

Elizabeth Gordon, President

6th October 2014

This week at Dreel Halls the AIA continue supporting local young people in their contribution to the Scottish Mental Health Arts and Film Festival. Following the exhibition last week, there will be a Film Show which will be a screening of Ben Stiller's 'The Secret Life of Walter Mitty'. Released in 2013, this is a 4.5 star film, rated PG and is a chance to watch a film with refreshments for the suggested donation of £1 (all proceeds to SAMH). Doors are at 6:15pm. For more information visit our Facebook event page or contact Gordon Forbes, Community Education Worker, 03451 555555, extension 460578. Come and join us for a very warm welcome.

Elizabeth Gordon, President

29th September 2014

As we move into October, the AIA will be having the entries for the Anstruther Writing Awards judged. There has been an encouraging response from adults this year and it is hoped that our awards will become a permanent award which grows in prestige. The Awards Ceremony will be on 6th November and winners will be informed in due course.

In the meantime we have been working with a group of young people from Waid along with Community Education. Dreel Halls will host an art exhibition from this project on the 3rd October and a Film Show on the 9th. Please look out for details of these events.

East Neuk Kindred Spirit met last week in our upper hall and we had a warm inspirational meeting. They will be meeting on the last Thursday of each month. The East Neuk Tabletop Games club meets on the 2nd and 4th Sunday of the month. We are heartened by all these people coming into our building.

Elizabeth Gordon, President

22nd September 2014

The A.I.A. were pleased to welcome members, friends and visitors to our first Anster Nichts of 2014 - 2015. The subject was Anstruther and Cellardyke Great Lives. Christine Keay spoke of Novelist Mrs Oliphant and Matthew Connolly, Kate Shearer spoke of Poetry Peter of Cellardyke, John Barker spoke of Alex Darwood, Scott Morris of Alastair Mackie and Elizabeth Gordon on Belle Patrick, Andrew Greig and Alastair Leslie. Alastair, from his seat on Row 2 was able to comment on the great theatrical productions at Waid that took place in the 60s and 70s. There are so many wonderful lives in this town that it would be good to make this a regular feature and keep a record for future generations. Certainly, the Wikipedia site needs updating so maybe we can do something in the new site.

There was no rest for AIA members are we went straight into preparing for our Fence weekend. The lower Hall had its first candlelit supper with entertainment from Alan Gordon, Alan Stewart, Kenny Anderson, Lidh and Jo Foster. There was lots of food from local Anster providers. On Saturday, buns were eaten but not thrown at Fence's Bun Fight. This was an all day music event and a truly successful happy return for Fence at Dreel Halls.

This week, representatives travel to a Kirkcaldy to Provost Leishman's reception for Open Doors hosts. The Kindred Spirits meet on Wednesday night. This lovely group offers meditation, relaxation in a gentle fun atmosphere. On Sunday, the Table Top Games are being held upstairs for a big birthday afternoon tea downstairs. Finally, get these writing award entries in. There are only a few days left.

Elizabeth Gordon, President

17th September 2014

Thursday 18th is Scotland's Referendum Day, but it is always the third Thursday in September so it's the start of the AIA's Anster Nichts. We promise we'll be finished in time for everyone to go home and watch the results! So come along to Dreel Halls at 7.30 to hear about some of the magnificent people nurtured in Anster and Cellardyke. Men and women who influenced education, literature, industry and history. Afterwards you can have a cup of tea or coffee and a blether.

After Thursday, it is a busy week in the Dreel Halls. Saturday sees King Creosote's Fence Collective appearing from 3pm. Starting on Saturday morning there's a two day basket weaving class in the Upper Hall. There are still a few places left for this. On Wednesday the Kindred Spirit Group are meeting upstairs. This is a spiritual, relaxing and fun evening and all are welcome. Then on Sunday the 28th there's another Tabletop Games Afternoon.

There is now just two weeks to hand hand in submissions for our Writing Awards and it is encouraging that there are already more entries than last year.

Elizabeth Gordon, President

18th August 2014

To support the Anstruther Harbour Festival the AIA put on its inaugural Boat Race. This involved launching hundreds of small plastic boats into the Dreel, pushing them down the burn and having folk catch them under the road bridge. Unbelievably we always have folk willing to volunteer for this event. So, apart from the Committee thank you Alex, Gordon, Jade, John, Sean and Toby for going in the Burn on our behalf. And, thank you Ann, Chris, Christine and Margaret for the support in the hall to serve refreshments.

We raised several hundred pounds. The winner of the £50 was a visitor from the Caravan Park and the next three prizes - a trip on the Osprey, a voucher to spend at the Anstruther Fish Bar and a Bucket and Spade went to winners living west of the Dreel. Cllr Elizabeth Riches, for years our adjudicator at the Duck Race, won the Bucket and Spade so look out for her down the Billowness.

As we get into September we have a Doors Open Day, our first Anster Nicht, a Fence event and the closing date for our Writing Competition. Details will be on posters and our website and weekly in the Fife Free Press.

Elizabeth Gordon, President

5th August 2014

The AIA was delighted to welcome The Provost of Fife, Jim Leishman, the Chief Executive of Cultural Trust, Heather Stuart, and members of Fife Free Press Group to Dreel Halls for the first exhibition of 'Discovering Fife' a brand new calendar. From then and until Sunday 10th, the winning photographs taken by readers of FFPG are on display in the Upper Hall at Dreel Halls. This stunning calendar produced by Mark Rodgers Photography features photographs from all over Fife including Pittenweem, St Andrews and a very snowy Lundin Links.

Provost Leishman spoke of how he had fallen in love all over again with Fife while walking the Coastal Path walks for charity. Thanks to good company and generous refreshments we had a good night at Dreel Halls, welcoming guests, winning photographers and friends. Thanks go to Lyndsey Alexander, Features Editor at FFP for organising the refreshments and to Heather Stuart for all her practical help.

We're now on to our next project, the Boat Race which we are running in the same format as the Duck Race at 11.00 at the Dreel Burn on Saturday 16th August. Look out for boats in local shops.

Elizabeth Gordon, President

28th July 2014

The AIA is delighted to be hosting the Discovering Fife Exhibition of award winning photographs to be featured in Fife Free Press's Calendar for 2015. This Friday evening we will be having our preview for AIA members and then the exhibition will be running from the 2nd - 10th August from 12.00 to 4pm. This will also give everyone a chance to go inside Dreel Halls and see wonderful photographs. The AIA has had a long and happy association with FFP and we are delighted to welcome them.

Our next big fund raiser is the inaugural Anster Boat Race which we hope will become a regular part of the Anstruther Harbour Festival and eventually become as popular as the Duck Race. Instead of chucking ducks into the Dreel we will be launching boats. Prizes will be big so look out for forms later on in the week.

We are delighted to announce that more entries than ever are coming in for our Anstruther Writing Awards. The AIA is hoping that this can become a major event for Anstruther. We started in a small but successful way last year and we are hoping it will grow to reflect the potential of Anstruther and Fife. Decades of excellent teaching in local schools have led to the emergence of internationally recognised writers from the East Neuk. Many writers choose to settle in this lovely area and local creative writing classes are also becoming popular. The AIA feels that the Anstruther Writing Awards could have an important future so please join us and look out for posters and check on the website. Written entries can be handed in to East Neuk Books and the Community Kist.

Finally, do check posters and the notice board for any up and coming events.

Elizabeth Gordon, President

21st July 2014

There were real reels at Dreel Halls on Saturday for the AIA's Family Ceilidh with the David Jack Ceildih Band. As often happens, what made this event fun was the mixture of people and ages. There were at least five different nationalities and the children joined in every dance and made the party. It adds to the fun when there's someone well over 6 foot doing a Dashing White Sergeant with a four year old in her swirly dress and high heels. Soup and Barnett's bread was enjoyed by all. Many thanks to Barnett's Bakery for donating such a wide variety of lovely loaves.

Many of the AIA's members and friends will have received a postcard designed by Hilke MacIntyre inviting them to preview the Discovering Fife Exhibition at Dreel Halls on Friday 1st August at 6.30 - 8.30. This is a Fife Free Press Event showcasing the winners of their photographic competition and we are delighted to welcome this exhibition to Dreel Halls. Hilke has kindly given us this new design which will be available to buy as a postcard and card very soon.

Remember it's Table Top games afternoon in the Hall this Sunday! This club appears to be growing in its popularity so come along and enjoy. We've started to get entries for our Anstruther writing competition too. Details as ever on the web site but people can pop into East Neuk Books or the Community Kist to check out information.

Elizabeth Gordon, President

14th July 2014

There's a Family Ceilidh on at the Dreel Halls this Saturday from 7-10pm. There's no football, so no excuse. Our last Ceildih was great fun with a real mixture of ages. There's a chill space for teenagers, free places for the under 5's, a bar and some simple food so it's a good place to come on a Saturday for both families and visitors. A good friend is working hard on Tartan Bunting to make Dreel Halls lovely. Tickets are available through the AIA website, and from the Community Kist and East Neuk Books.

Elizabeth Gordon, President

30th June 2014

We had a great day last Thursday when the Commonwealth Baton came through our town. Thanks to a great bunch of friends and volunteers we were able to set up a small street party on our new foreground and cheer, clap and wave as the parade came through. From babes in arms to some of our longest serving members we gave High Fives to the runners and were thrilled by the excitement. Our Hall, the Buckie House corner, up to the Crossroads had been decorated by bunting made and donated by friends. Thanks go to all of them and thanks to those who provided food. Better still, we raised £75 which has been donated to the Bankie Park Development Group's Commonwealth Games.

At the same time, inside the Dreel Halls the architectural group ARC provided a model of our plans for Phase 2 as we strive to make the hall more suitable for events and that upstairs is accessible for those with a disability. In the meantime we have bookings for the next few months and we also are putting on events such as Table Top Games Afternoons and Ceilidhs. Please look at our notice board or web site for further information.

Elizabeth Gordon, President

23rd June 2014

It was a weekend of Midsummer Madness at the Dreel Halls this weekend. On Friday professional magician Mick Magic, a member of the Magic Circle, gave us a clever and fun show involving the audience and a white rabbit. Our own Treasurer and Secretary showed us a couple of excellent card tricks too. Our local DJs gave us some magical music on Friday and on Saturday our very own Gummi Bako and King Creosote, playing with their bands, gave us a brilliant night of music and dancing. King Creosote, Kenny Anderson, played some of the music from the film From Scotland with Love which premiered on BBC2 on Sunday night and which is now on available on iPlayer. Kenny provides the soundtrack to archive film of Scottish life over several decades. After playing with his band, Kenny played with decks and gave us such a brilliant 80s Disco that old couples, young couples and even men were up dancing.

On Sunday Gummi, Alan Stewart, had his tabletop games afternoon. And this week, the Church meets for its Coffee Morning on Tuesday. And, on Thursday we will be both inside and outside the halls, from 5pm, with some refreshments to welcome the Commonwealth Baton. Come and join us and have a seat to watch the baton pass by. A model of our Phase 2 for the Halls will be available for consultation.

Elizabeth Gordon, President

16th June 2014

The AIA is gearing up for a busy summer with events happening before our winter season of Anster Nichts in the Dreel Halls. This weekend we celebrate Midsummer on Friday with an evening of Midsummer Magic. We have booked a magician, have an astrologer, and DJs with magical music. And, there are some free magic bean pasties. There will be a bar too. Come along and enjoy a different kind of fun evening. Tickets are available at the Community Kist and East Neuk Books. On Saturday our very own King Creosote and Gummi Bako will be entertaining with their bands. Tickets on the door. That could be magic too!

Meanwhile on Thursday 26th June we will be welcoming the Queen's baton with bunting hanging from the windows and refreshments inside and outside the hall. Come along and sit with us from 5pm. Any donations we get we will pass on to the Bankie Park Development Group for their Commonwealth Games on Saturday 28th. Also available will be a consultation for Phase 2 of the Dreel Halls Development.

Elizabeth Gordon, President

2nd June 2014

The AIA are still busy with the Dreel Halls working on plans for Phase 2. In the meantime the Halls hosted a night of music from local and Dundee musicians on Saturday. It featured our own Gummi Bako, Richard Francis Parkinson and, on slide guitar, Een Anderson - a great night.

While the Anstruther Church tower is being repaired the Hall will be the base for the Church Coffee Mornings and the Craft Group. The same Church was a wonderful host when our hall was closed. This Saturday there is a Psychic Fair with practitioners, stalls and talks. On Sunday there's another tabletop games afternoon.

Like other groups in the Town, we are excited about the Commonwealth Games and we will put out the flags and use our Dreel Halls entrance as a place to be, enjoying refreshments and cheering on the Commonwealth Baton as it passes by after 5pm on Thursday 26th June.

Elizabeth Gordon, President

26th May 2014

The AIA brought its Anster Nicht season to an end with the annual Buffet Supper. It was a full house in the lower Dreel Hall where we had more room to move around and get back to buffet for a second or even a third helping. As usual, the food was delicious and the company warm and friendly. The Hall looked good with its floral decorations.

Now the Buffet Supper is over our next projects are the floral displays, a night of Midsummer Magic and a welcome for the Queen's Commonwealth Baton on 26th of June. All we need is some warm summer nights to enjoy the Dreel Halls at their best.

Elizabeth Gordon, President

19th May 2014

The Dreel Halls Taster Week went well, with users enjoying a free taster session. Two life drawing classes, quilters, and a tabletop games club used the Halls. There was also a night of relaxation, meditation and fun with a group of kindred spirits. The 3 Burgh Community Development Trust held their AGM there.

The AIA Committee are working very hard with their Development Officer Alison Caldwell to ensure the halls are moving into Phase Two. Events happening planned include a Writing Competition and an evening of Midsummer Magic. We are already working on our series of Anster Nichts talks and are thinking hard about our first talk due on September 18th - an auspicious date for Scotland.

The exterior area of the Dreel Halls now has words carved in stone telling the story of the buildings. We hope people will go and have a look. This week we hold the Annual Buffet Supper for the first time in the Lower Hall. This will probably be booked out, such has been the interest. For more information see the Events page.

Elizabeth Gordon, President

13th May 2014

The Dreel Halls were craft bombed on Friday with more than a little help from the Quilters and Crafters who meet in the Halls regularly. Bunting and Quilts were hung and draped for those passing by the Buckie House Corner to see and admire. Next year we are planning something bigger so if anyone has any spare cotton fabric out there please get in touch.

The Committee and users met in the Dreel Halls last Thursday morning to plan Phase 2 of the improvements to the Dreel Halls which should see them become a hub in the Community for more arts and events.

This week there are taster sessions where people have rented out the Hall for free to see how they can work for them. See the Dreel Halls events page on Facebook for details:

And, we already having bookings for our Buffet Supper on Friday 23rd May. Written invitations will go out this week to those people not online.

Elizabeth Gordon, President

6th May 2014

This week, to join the celebrations for Voluntary Arts Week, the Dreel Halls will be 'Craft Bombed' thanks to local quilters. Look out for some crafty decorations around the Dreel Halls. And, if you don't know the Dreel Halls, get a feel for the Dreel by taking advantage of our free Taster Week running from Saturday 10th to Sunday 18th by booking a free couple of hours to try out an event. Already there are quilting groups, an art group and a Table Top Games group who use the Halls. Do you think there could be another group you could run?

For members we will be holding a Buffet Supper on Friday 23rd May at 7.30. Book your place online or see Elizabeth. It is a good night and a chance to socialise with old and new friends.

Elizabeth Gordon, President

28th April 2014

At the Dreel Halls on Saturday, we held a Fun Fayre to encourage a hall full of local groups to publicise themselves through some fun activities. It was great to see so many groups like Three Burgh Community Development Trust, Anstruther & District Allotment Association, the Anster Haddies, the Community Kist, the Scottish Fisheries Museum, East Neuk Tabletop Games, and the Tennis Club join us in the hall. This demonstrates the amount going on in the town and the AIA appreciated the support.

The AIA will soon be planning its Annual Buffet Supper as well as working on a series of events and its Anster Nichts.

Elizabeth Gordon, President

21st April 2014

Whew! As Alan Stewart said it was a quacker of an Easter weekend at the AIA's Dreel Halls. We worked with Fence Records and their Yellae Deuks Festival and put on an Easter Bonnet Workshop, thanks to Jo Foster, a Games afternoon, thanks to Alan Stewart, a Kendama workshop, thanks to Donald Grant, a Treasure Trail, thanks to Alan Gordon, an Easter Bonnet Parade and an indoor Easter Picnic. All this and a sold out Duck Race! All the Committee worked really hard, and our new Development Officer, Alison Caldwell came and helped us out too.

At the AIA we are constantly humbled by the people who come out to help us, serving tea, wading in the Dreel Burn, selling Ducks, donating prizes, washing dishes, cleaning floors, opening up their houses and even dressing up in duck costumes. Our Easter Indoor Picnic was a very special event where we were joined by visitors and friends. Gill Fraser brought along some of her baby chicks, Jo Foster sang some wonderful songs and played our piano and Kenny Anderson and pals gave us an amazing set of music.

This Friday night in the Dreel Halls we have a fiddle concert with the amazing Anna and Martin. Anna brought the New Year in at the Dreel Tavern and is also hoping you'll join her there after the concert for an informal session. Tickets are available on the door or in advance through the Facebook event page.

We are also holding a Fun Fayre on Saturday in the Halls where local groups can hire a table to help promote themselves. They can use it as an opportunity to provide information, sell the group's wares, raise funds, have demonstrations, sign up new members, or simply be there to answer questions from the community. Again check our website's Events page or our Facebook page for more details.

Elizabeth Gordon, President

16th April 2014

It's a busy week at the Dreel Halls! Fence's King Creosote is running the 'Yellae Deuks' Festival on Friday and Saturday. There are still a few tickets available at The Community Kist.

This coincides with our Easter Festivities. On Good Friday there will be an Easter Bonnet & Bunnet Making Workshop in the Dreel Halls from 2-4pm. You can wear your bonnet at the Dreel Duck Race on Easter Saturday at 10:30am. There will be prizes for the best bonnets & bunnets in the Easter Parade after the race. Refreshments will be served at the Dreel Halls. Ducks are available from shops around the town that are displaying the yellow duck sign.

On Saturday afternoon in the Halls there will be fun table top games and a Kendama Workshop. And then, on Easter Sunday afternoon come along for our indoor Easter Sunday Picnic with boiled eggs, sandwiches, cakes and juice. King Creosote will be singing a few songs too! There'll also be a 2nd Kendama Workshop on the Sunday for anybody that wants to go to the next level or missed it first time around.

The following weekend we have a wonderful fiddle band on Friday 25th April from 8-10pm and then on Saturday 26th we're having a Fun Fayre where local groups can have a table to promote their organisations. Check our website's Events page for more details.

Elizabeth Gordon, President

24th March 2014

Last Thursday the AIA held its last Anster Nicht of the season and Clare Checkland of Cellardyke told of her interest in Princess Titaua of Tahiti. Last year, Clare had taken part in a Redfield event when items from the Scottish Fisheries Museum went into homes in Cellardyke, and home owners became curators who told the story. Clare told the story of the Chiefess of Haapiti who in 1892 came to Anstruther by train and who died here on 25th September 1898 aged only 56.

She was a friend of Prince Alfred, Prince Oscar of Sweden and was drawn by the French author Pierre Loti. Clare's evocative talk considered how this South Seas Princess adapted to life in 19th Century Anstruther. We know that charity work and the local Church, then known as St Adrian's, were important to her.

As time goes by there are fewer people who remember her descendants. Her daughter Paloma died in 1954 and her husband in 1957 and for many years their house Johnston Lodge lay derelict in a wilderness of a garden until it was refurbished, sadly this time, without its Ballroom.

The next AIA event is the Duck Race on Easter Saturday - more information soon.

Elizabeth Gordon, President

17th March 2014

It's Anster Nichts week. This Thursday, at 7.30 in the Dreel Halls, we have Clare Checkland from Cellardyke speaking about Mrs Darsie of Anstruther in the 19th Century. Mrs Darsie, better known as Princess Titaua Marama, Chiefess of Haapiti of Tahiti who came to live in Anstruther in 1878 when she married George Darsie.

When Clare was asked by the Scottish Fisheries Museum's "Home from the Sea project" to become a temporary curator she became immersed in the project and retells the story on Thursday. A blue plaque to the Princess can be found on the wall of Johnston Lodge where Princess Titaua came to live. She lies in her grave only a few hundred metres away in Anstruther Churchyard.

Elizabeth Gordon, President

17th February 2014

This week it's the third Thursday of the month so it's the AIA's Anster Nicht. This month, we have Dr Derek Ball who has come from the States to work at St Andrews University and to live in Cellardyke. His talk is called, 'Can Cats and Cows Think and Reason and Do Fish Feel Pain?' So, for anyone out there with feelings about animals come along and join us to hear this talk. Afterwards, we always have a cup of tea or coffee. The talk will be in the lower Dreel Hall so there will be no stairs to climb.

Elizabeth Gordon, President

10th February 2014

The Dreel Halls are now up and running now that most of the exterior has been completed. Landscaping should continue this week. The Committee recently met to discuss what needs to happen in Phase Two of the Restoration. Recent Dreel Halls events included a Community Events Meeting organised by the Community Council to ensure that the Floral Displays and Community Events are supported. The Quilters are back meeting in the Hall and Saturday Night saw our first party where lots of local musicians entertained at a 30th birthday party.

Elizabeth Gordon, President

20th January 2014

Well where to start? The Dreel Halls Celebratory Launch Weekend was, for us in the AIA, wonderful. We have been overwhelmed with support and overcome with emotion.

It started with the Anster Nicht on the Thursday, when Steve Liscoe from Fife Archaeological Unit gave us feedback on discoveries made during the hall restoration. His talk took us back to the conclusion that our halls sit on a early Druid site. There was evidence of early Christian worship and links with the May Island. The AIA had commissioned the dendrochronological analysis of an oak timber only to find out it had grown in a forest in Southern Norway between 1307 and 1507. There was a full house for this talk and many people have said it was the most fascinating they had heard.

The Committee and its Gleam Team, ably supported by volunteers, were back in the lower hall to prepare for our opening night. Firstly we welcomed our funders and Christine May from Fife Historic Buildings Trust gave a welcoming speech. FHBT had been instrumental in the project so it was fitting that Christine was there to thank their employee Alan Lodge and all the other funders. AIA President Elizabeth Gordon thanked the founders on behalf of the AIA and the community. We are so grateful to have the hall.

On to opening it up to the public, who streamed in to have a pie, a glass of prosecco, a piece of cake and to listen to King Creosote's band. In between a great set, our own Alan Stewart (Gummi Bako in the band) did a postcard auction from local artists and well known folk like Uncle Vic Galloway and Ian Rankin. We raised nearly £800 with some canny bidding and some folks enjoying the wine.

On to Saturday and ex President Christine Keay had organised a vintage craft and coffee day with amazing home baking. This went on for five hours with splendid exhibits, a raffle and chat. Thanks to all the volunteers who kept serving this full house event.

Upstairs we had a grand mixture of young and old playing retro games and eating retro food including a cheese & pineapple hedgehog. Again a full house.

Then all hands on deck again for Billy Anderson's Ceildih, where kids and adults danced the night away with the fastest music ever heard before finishing with a grand Auld Lang Syne.

Back on Sunday and standing room only to hear the Anstruther Philharmonic deliver a splendid extract from Mozart's Requiem and an inspirational piece called Sanctus from their accompanist, Anster's Jim Tribble. The Requiem can be heard in full at their annual concert on 15th March. The St Monans Community Choir gave us a splendid selection including Abba's Thank you for the Music and a piece arranged by their conductor Brian Craib. There seems to be no end of local talent. The hall was filled with music, as we all sang later. We finished on Auld Lang Syne by which time many of us were in tears. It was marvellous and we will never forget it.

Elizabeth Gordon, President

16th December 2013

The AIA gang will be using the festive season to make preparations for the grand opening of the Dreel Halls. Those passing the Buckie House corner will notice that the external works are coming to a conclusion and ownership should pass to the AIA in early January. There will be press releases coming out about the long weekend starting with an Anster Nicht on Thursday 16th January to choirs and community singing on Sunday 19th. There will be music and dancing, a vintage coffee morning, fun and games and lots to eat and drink. We hope there will be something for every one to celebrate this auspicious event for the town.

Elizabeth Gordon, President

6th January 2014

As you may read elsewhere the AIA hope to be back in their hall next week for January's Anster Nichts and for their opening weekend. Events are planned for next Friday, Saturday and Sunday. We hope that our opening weekend will be an auspicious start to Halls which will be beacon for culture in the East Neuk.

Elizabeth Gordon, President

16th December 2013

The AIA gang will be using the festive season to make preparations for the grand opening of the Dreel Halls. Those passing the Buckie House corner will notice that the external works are coming to a conclusion and ownership should pass to the AIA in early January. There will be press releases coming out about the long weekend starting with an Anster Nicht on Thursday 16th January to choirs and community singing on Sunday 19th. There will be music and dancing, a vintage coffee morning, fun and games and lots to eat and drink. We hope there will be something for every one to celebrate this auspicious event for the town.

Elizabeth Gordon, President

9th December 2013

The AIA celebrated Christmas with its Annual Christmas Social. Being the East Neuk there were at least three other splendid events taking place that evening but we still had a very good turn out for our event in Anstruther Church. One of the attendees described the night as a good old Sunday School Party for grown ups. There was food, and there was wine and a Pass The Parcel - which can be played very easily sitting at a table. Everyone wore their party hat and took part in The Minister's Cat and singing songs. The acoustics of the Church made our singing sound good. There were traditional readings of prose and poetry to help us remember the spirit of Christmas. And, as become our tradition we finished our Social by wishing each other a Merry Christmas, demanding figgy pudding and listening to Alistair Leslie's funny stories. Great stuff. Thanks go out to those members who helped set out the hall and cleared up at the end. Now the Committee is working hard on the opening weekend of the Dreel Halls, running from Thursday 17th to Sunday 20th January 2014. Press releases are coming shortly.

Elizabeth Gordon, President

27th November 2013

There was a large crowd at Anster Nichts last week to hear Dr Kelly Macleod talk on 'Why the Whales Came Ashore.' Kelly, a marine mammal scientist, took us back to the 2nd September 2012 when 27 whales stranded on beaches and rocks near Pittenweem. Alerted early in the morning, vets and volunteers from diving, sea and scientific groups arrived to help refloat the surviving whales.

What Kelly was able to do with her photos, and her knowledgable and enthusiastic delivery was to take us back to that day and tell us how the whales were kept calm, wet, rocked and together before refloating. Volunteers were almost neck deep in water with several tons of distressed mammals before release.

And why did they come ashore? Did the close knit group follow their leader? Was one of the animals distressed and the others follow? Did they become disorientated in unfamiliar waters? Or confused with noises? Were they chasing prey? While there can never be a definitive answer, Kelly explored all these possibilities. Her fascinating talk was illustrated with many photos as well as clips of whale noises. She finished with a lovely video clip of a group of curious pilot whales, calling and clicking to each other. The audience really enjoyed this talk.

While our own Dreel Halls are being refurbished we have been made very welcome in the Church and thanks go out to our three 'Angels' George, Linda and Margaret. Our next Anster Nicht is our Christmas Social on the 5th December. Once again it will be held in Anster Kirk and we have plans to make it a celebration of Christmas with food and drink, readings and music, fun and games. The Social is free to members.

Elizabeth Gordon, President

18th November 2013

The third Thursday of the month is almost upon us, so it's high time for another of the AIA's Anster Nichts. And, as work continues on the Dreel Halls we meet once again in Anstruther Church.

This month we are privileged to have Dr Kelly Macleod (St Andrews University), a resident of Anstruther, with theories on Why the Whales Came Ashore. This refers to the tragic day when a group of pilot whales came ashore near Pittenweem. For those of us who saw it, it was a sad sight. For Kelly and others down on the beach there was an opportunity to rescue some of the whales and return them to sea.

Anstruther Church has been a wonderful venue for us and we are pleased to say that we will be having our Christmas Social there on Thursday 5th December.

Elizabeth Gordon, President

21st October 2013

In the second of our Anster Nichts, Matthew Price who works with conservation in Fife Council, spoke on Fife Vernacular Architecture. His interesting talk concentrated on three main areas, crow step gables, doocots and windmills. Fife began building these in the 16th century following established practice in the low countries dating from the 15th century. However, while these countries built in brick, Fife had an abundance of stone leading to crow steps being much simpler. Doocots abound in Fife which has a quarter if all Scotland's listed doocots. There is a really nice example of a lectern doocot in Kilrenny. Thanks to our normally dry weather we also have the most windmills per acre in Scotland and the restored windmill near St Monans is a fine example. But conservation and upkeep is expensive and as Matthew showed through his illustrated talk many doocots and windmills are in a precarious position and may disappear from the landscape.

Once again the Anstruther Church proved a wonderful space to be in, while we wait for the restoration of our own halls. We had a record crowd and many new members including a lady from Austin, Texas and enjoyed both the talk and the company. And, thanks once again to George, Linda and Margaret from the Church who provided help and support. N.b. I've put their names in alphabetical order showing no favouritism! They're all great.

Elizabeth Gordon, President

14th October 2013

The third Thursday of the month is upon us, so it's time for the AIA's Anster Nicht. Once again, this will be held in Anstruther Church as we wait for the Dreel Halls to be ready. This week we have Matthew Price who works with Fife Council, who will talk on Fife Vernacular Architecture and will illustrate this with examples. Everyone is welcome to these talks and the cup of tea and blether afterwards. Folk seem to enjoy the company.

The AIA is also really grateful to those people who pay their subscription to the group. Our oldest member, Elizabeth Gambol, rejoined this week and is happy to let everyone know she is 93 and still as sharp as a tack! We will need lots of support to keep up the Dreel Halls when we purchase them in the near future. The halls now have brand new clock faces which should look out on Anstruther for many years to come.

Elizabeth Gordon, President

23rd September 2013

The Anster Nichts season kicked off on Thursday night with a brilliant start. Barbara Elliot, spoke of the saving of the James Melville Manse; the four hundred year old building which now sits, splendid and safe above Shore Street.

Barbara and partner Alan Waugh coped with damp earth floors, cellars dripping with water, collapsing rubble walls and built a warm, insulated wooden house within the building. It also gave the old manse a deserved extension with a glass curtain wall, and a mezzanine floor above a magnificent dining room. Old beams were painstakingly scrubbed and oiled so they could remain in situ, or saved for door lintels. Floors hidden under more recent floors, wasted by rot were simply hoovered up!

Barbara delivered a splendid talk, well illustrated, showing how the old building now sits safe for hundreds of years to come among gardens which are being brought to life. There was a good audience, including some of the craftsmen, Bill Johnson and Richard Francis Parkinson. Barbara also had support from the Rowing Club. She is their passionate and successful Captain.

The AIA could not have put on this event without the help of the Church, especially the three 'angels' Linda, Margaret, and especially George - thank you.

Elizabeth Gordon, President

Anster Nichts

A full listing of our Anster Nichts for 2013-2014 has now been published on our Events page. Our first talk is on Thursday 19th September and our guest speaker is Barbara Elliot. She will be talking about "The Saving of the James Melville Manse". Since our regular meeting place is still being refurbished, the talk will be in the Anstruther Parish Church at 7:30pm. We hope to see you there!

September 2013

Our Anster Nichts Programme will be going out shortly. In the meantime more preparations are being made for our Hall opening weekend on 22nd, 23rd and 24th November. There will be a weekend of celebration and fun with eating and drinking, singing and dancing all on the programme.

We look forward to that but we have also looked back and paid tribute to Alex Darwood, one of our most important members who died last month. Alex not only continued his support until he left us but his Anster Nicht talks remain some of the best attended ever and it was as an AIA member that he, along with Murray Anderson from the Community Council, who founded the Burgh Collection. Our thoughts are with his wife Margaret, who supported Alex in all that he did.

Elizabeth Gordon, President

Extraordinary General Meeting

Three special resolutions were passed at an EGM on Tuesday 13th August allowing the AIA to seek to establish itself as a Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation (SCIO), with a new constitution and a new membership structure.

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