If you stand at one end of the esplanade in the Fife town of Kirkcaldy,
you can well see why it is known as 'The Lang Toun' for the esplanade
stretches as far as the eye can see!
Kirkcaldy was the most famous town in Scotland for the manufacture of
linoleum and the distinctive aroma from the linoleum works gave rise to
the well-known concluding couplet from 'The Boy on the Train
' by Mary
Campbell Smith :-
' For I ken masel' by the queer-like smell
That the next stop's Kirkcaldy.'
There is no longer that distinctive aroma over The Lang Town although
floor coverings, now made mostly from vinyl, are still a Kirkcaldy
Kirkcaldy's fame however doesn't rely on the 'queer-like smell' alone as
it is the annual host to the longest street fair in Europe - The Links
Market. All the fun of the fair is to be found along Kirkcaldy Esplanade
every April. The centuries old fair now marks the start of the showman's
year in Scotland. It was the annual fair of the Linktown (created a burgh
of barony in 1672) that survives as the present day famous Links Market.
This year will see Kirkcaldy Esplanade being closed to through traffic
from midnight on Saturday 12 April until midnight on Tuesday 22 April with
diversion signs in place throughout. The Market itself will start on
Wednesday 16 April 2003.
The poet Duncan Glen captured the flavour of the Links Market in his poem
from the 1960s 'Traivellin Man XV - By the Sea' :-
'We're back in the Lang Toun for the Links Market
for our bairns, we say.
I mind takin you aince a year
in our courtin days. An annual celebration
we walked haund in haund the haill lang length
and were on aathing.
The steamboats near swinging richt owre
and the dive-bombers daein juist that. The dodgems
to show what a deevil I was at the wheel
haein nae caur to drive you hame. And elaborate
nou forgotten. I shot an air-gun at wee pipes being
a crack-shot and threw
pingpong baas into gold-fish bowls nae bother at aa.
We bought candy floss and hot dogs
and rolled pennies doun wee slides
till aa our money was gone.
Still we were laden wi prizes!'
Bairns of all ages can enjoy the Links Market, just as they will enjoy
this week's tasty traybake recipe for Caramel Fingers.
Ingredients : 4 oz (100 g) butter; 4 oz (100 g) soft brown sugar; 1 egg; 1
cup plain flour; 1 cup chopped dates and nuts
Melt butter and sugar. Add dates and nuts and beaten egg. Cool, then mix
in flour. Spread evenly on a greased tray. Bake for twenty minutes in a
moderate oven. When cool, cut into squares. May be iced with lemon icing.