An afternoon wallowing in nostalgia at Gayfield Park,Arbroath......and then a little Mozart


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September 28th 2013
Published: October 4th 2013
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We have said it before, what a difference a night’s sleep in a very comfortable bed can make. And then to have that capped off by a huge breakfast including scrambled eggs and slices of salmon. Aileen had better be careful or we may never leave Sa’ty Dyke, Rossie Braes.

For those interested the house is named after a sea dyke that used to be at the bottom of the section that borders the Montrose lagoon. The dyke was constructed to make salt pans from which sea salt was extracted although this no longer occurs today.

We have slipped into cruise mode this morning and eventually we headed off with Aileen to visit her mother (who of course is a Benvie having been married to the son of my late uncle) who is in her late 80’s but still lives independently in her own home in nearby Brechin.Her daughters and son, all who live within a radius of 20km, have a roster of looking after her on a daily basis and it is really a fantastic example of families being close and looking after each other.

She was in good spirits and we had a cup of coffee and a chat for an hour or so before it was time to head home for a quick lunch before the trip to Arbroath for the afternoon’s football match.

On the way home we called into a new sweet shop that had opened recently in Brechin and topped up our supplies from the large jars on shelves on the walls. This is becoming a bit of a ritual that we can’t do at home as there doesn’t appear to be a confectionary industry like there is in the UK.

The weather has improved as the day has gone on and as we left for the football the sun was trying to make an appearance from behind the high overcast.

Today’s match for my father’s old team of Arbroath is against Forfar Athletic and is a bit of a local derby as the towns are only a few kilometres apart.

Arbroath, or the Red Lichties(after the red lights that used to guide the fishing boats into the harbour) as they are known, play in the Scottish League 1st division and were founded in 1878.The club holds the world record in a senior football match of 36-0 when they defeated Bon Accord in 1885.

Recently they had played the almighty Rangers club at Ibrox Park in Glasgow before a crowd of around 45,000 but today we expect the crowd will be a lot smaller with Gayfield Park having a capacity of 6000 with 1000 seated.

This was to be the first football game that Aileen could recall she had been to, at least in many years. We are hoping therefore that the language by the excited fans doesn’t get as rough and ready as at Elland Rd, Leeds last weekend where Gretchen learnt a new word or two.

With the sun now shining and a clear sky overhead, Aileen found a car park right next to the ground and we joined the mainly Arbroath supporters in the small grandstand.

While we waited for the game to start we debated the idea of where my father used to watch the game from all those years ago because as aside from the grandstand that we were sitting in, everywhere else was standing room only.

The game was played at a good pace and was free flowing with end to end action before Arbroath hit the front with a well snatched goal.

The standard of play at times was very good with some skilful play and then at other times not much different to what we would see in the National league at home.

Once the teams turned around after half time Arbroath seemed to gain the upper hand and scored again mid way through the second half which demoralised the Forfar team somewhat.

Forfar must have still felt like they were in with a chance to at least get a draw and upped the tempo but the warm sun and more frenetic pace got the better of them and one of their players received a second yellow card for back chatting the referee and was sent off.

This got the crowd going and the guy in front of us started yelling at the player as he left the field which bought the Forfar manager and another person off their bench to their feet and an altercation between the guy in front of us and the Forfar people broke out. There was a lot of finger waving and some words we couldn’t understand and eventually everyone sat back down again. It added a bit of spice to the afternoon.

Arbroath scored again before the game ended and we and the local supporters went home happy with a 3-0 win.

We have attached a link to a short video that has been compiled of the game from the Arbroath club website. The video camera was on the other side of the field and if you look closely you might see the three of us in the grandstand on the opposite side of the field shading our eyes from the bright sun.The link is www.vimeo.com75808643



Back home through the countryside we had time for a quick dinner before we went out to a concert in Forfar.

Niall’s son Eliot, who is coming up 16,is a very talented young man and he was playing with the Deeside Symphony Orchestra in an ‘Evening with Mozart’ and he had told us about the concert last night at dinner and we thought what a great opportunity to see just how talented he is. He plays a multitude of musical instruments but in this orchestra he would be playing the viola. Such is his talent that he also takes part in the local repertory productions and has great skills with video, taking after his father who is a well renowned wildlife photographer.

The concert was in a large hall with an audience of a couple of hundred in attendance. As part of the programme there was also a soloist harp and flute as well as a soprano who sang some opera.

The 2 ½ hours passed very quickly and even when the music became a little repetitive we kept our interest up by studying the faces of the musicians as they followed the conductor.

So from a visit with Aileen’s elderly mum in the morning to football in the afternoon we went to Mozart in the evening, probably our most varied day of activities of the BBA V2.

We ended the day talking way past midnight with Aileen and think we will need a lie in tomorrow morning to get our quota of rest and sleep before we head back to the Highlands at Braemar for a couple of nights.

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