Today, a wee day after my previous post, I was served with a letter carrying the official embossed seal of Fife County. Here follows its text.
Dear Mrs. Potter,
This is in regard to a post on your internet blog Opening One’s Eyes, same post titled Oh, Those Incorrigible Romantic Minds of Women. I write this letter at the behest and on behalf of the Council and the People of Fife, as I do, with no lesser mandate and motivation, to give words to my own sentiments with respect to said post in my capacity as Provost of Fife as well as in private capacity as a concerned individual and a Scot.
With greatest dismay we read your disparaging account of a purported visit in the summer of 2018 by you and your daughter, then aged 17, to the town of Inverkeithing in Fife County.
It is our opinion that you have given an iniquitous and injurious image of Inverkeithing based on nothing but an alleged visit, following alighting at Inverkeithing train station, of a residential area at the town’s outer limits. From your description we think we have been able to identify that area as the area marked as Outer Visual Gateway, north of the area marked as Town Centre, in the diagram inserted below.
In your post you admit that for no cause but attributable to yourself (we respectfully refer to the “many issues” that you seem to concede you are struggling with) you failed to reach Inverkeithing’s historic town centre, featuring many listed items including the Friary, the Town House and the Mercat Cross, all of which stand to be restored to their former glory under the Inverkeithing Heritage Regeneration (2019 – 2024) scheme. Instead, you found yourself bogged down in aforementioned residential area north of Inverkeithing Town Centre (which may not present the prettiest of introductions to Inverkeithing, but definitely has a supermarket), and this, combined with weather conditions that more often than not serve to define the widely acclaimed mystic beauty of Scotland, is the basis of your damming report on Inverkeithing.
As you are doubtlessly aware, your internet blog is eagerly read in all parts of the world, Fife County not excepted. Not just the inhabitants of said residential area, referred to in your post as a “suburban hell” (no less), take issue with your defamatory post, but so do all citizens of Inverkeithing and, indeed, of Fife County, including, to disabuse you of any hope of allegiance or sympathy, North Queensferry, that you extoll as “that charming old hamlet at the foot of Forth Bridge“. Said citizens’ immediate and deep discontent resulted in a petition, carried by many thousands of signatories, within hours following publication of your post, to the Chief Executive of Fife Council, the Mayor of Inverkeithing and myself as Provost of Fife.
Pursuant to the petition, which said Chief Executive, the Mayor and I are in full agreement with, the Chief Executive will propose to the Council of Fife at its next meeting in full session that it shall approve the following actions to be taken against you (but not your daughter, who was only 17 and thus not of age at the time), should you ever consider to set foot in Fife County again (if only, for the avoidance of doubt, to have a hot cocoa over some pastry at Rankin’s Café in North Queensferry), and Inverkeithing in particular:
- First Should you wish to visit Inverkeithing a next time, which by no means, whether of a statutory, written, oral, physical or any other nature, you shall be prevented from doing, you shall give advance notice thereof at email@example.com. In order that such email can be acted upon immediately in accordance with following items, your next visit to Inverkeithing shall take place during Inverkeithing Customer Service Centre opening hours, which can be found at https://www.fife.gov.uk/facilities/customer-service-centres/inverkeithing-customer-service-centre. Kindly note for your convenience, that said opening hours reflect a deep-rooted resistance – that we, Scots, are proud of – to a 24-hour economy, nay, a 40-hour working week.
- Second Alighting at Inverkeithing railway station, you shall order a taxi to take you to Inverkeithing Town House directly, thereby avoiding to set foot in any residential area separating Inverkeithing railway station from Inverkeithing Town Centre. An up-to-date list of taxi services shall be provided to you by email forthwith upon notice in accordance with item the First.
- Third Starting at Inverkeithing Town House you shall be allowed to freely explore Inverkeithing Town Centre, and moreover be invited (and strongly suggested) to make use of a bespoke guided tour, compliments of Inverkeithing.
- Fourth At the end of your visit you shall partake in a dinner offered in your honour by the Council of Fife, the Inverkeithing Community Council and the Mayor of Inverkeithing. Even if such goes against the nature and believes of the Scottish people, said dinner shall respect any vegetarian or vegan dietary requirements that you may notify us of in the notice in accordance with item the First.
- Fifth During dinner as referred in item the Fourth you shall be neither required nor even expected to make any apologies for the contested post. However, aforementioned Authorities shall be concluding said dinner in the aspiration of a favourable review on your internet blog, titled Opening One’s Eyes, of the beauty of Inverkeithing’s town centre and (notwithstanding item the Seventh hereafter) the kindness and forgivingness of the people of Fife.
- Sixth Following dinner as referred in items the Fourth and the Fifth you shall accept to be taken back to Inverkeithing train station by car (compliments of the Provost of Fife), so as to avoid the risk of any physical encounters with inhabitants of any residential area separating Inverkeithing Town Centre from Inverkeithing railway station.
- Seventh Observance of any of the foregoing failing (with the exception of item the Fifth, as it does not impose any obligation or prohibition on you), you shall be publicly executed at the Mercat Cross (following completion of the restoration thereof per aforementioned Inverkeithing Heritage Regeneration (2019 – 2024) scheme) by as many strokes of a Lochaber axe as may be required to occasion indisputable death.
In observance of the Freedom of Information Act and policies thereunder as pursued by Scottish authorities at all levels, aimed at active disclosure of documents, to the extent they do not contain privileged information, that are of immediate concern to the Scottish people, this letter will be published at https://www.fife.gov.uk/news.
The Provost of Fife’s letter strikes me as largely fair and generous. Also, I admire the people of Fife for their capability of putting together a collective action resulting in a petition with thousands of signatures offered to the Provost of Fife, the Chief Executive of Fife Council and the Mayor of Inverkeithing within hours of the publication of my post, which occurred yesterday, a Saturday, as much as I admire the Provost of Fife for having succeeded in having the letter cited above served to me today, Sunday.
Clearly not being the injured party, though, and seeing that the Mercat Cross, dying at the foot of which in the way described in the Provost of Fife’s letter appeals to me erotically, is on a restoration scheme that will almost certainly be delayed for many years beyond 2024, I expect my response to the Provost of Fife to be forthcoming at a somewhat slower pace. But I promise that it shall be published in this blog in due time.