Returning Home

By Jilly Alexander

I was asked by Flora if I would do a wee write-up about myself and my return to St Andrews after 33 years away,u so here goes….

I was born at Craigtoun Maternity Hospital, many moons ago now, when my family owned the local Butchers shops in Market Street, Fleming Place, and also in Leuchars. My schooling started at West Infants School in Market St, then Canongate, finally as a day girl at St Leonards School. I married an RAF Officer in my mid 20s, and moved many times throughout my married life, including living overseas in Germany and Florida. I have two wonderful children, Edward and Kristine; now that they are settled in London, I had no hesitation to return to my hometown of St Andrews, and I have not looked back since. My brother Robert lives in Glenshee. My sister Fiona lives in Stamford, but she also has a holiday home in Anstruther and visits on a regular basis, both have been very supportive in my move back north, which has been a godsend now I am close enough to see them so much more.

Arriving back in March last year I instantly felt that I was ‘where I belonged’. It was an overwhelming ‘homely’ feeling and I just knew the decision I had made was the right one. I have seen and lived in many parts of the world; whenever someone would ask me where my favourite place is, well it is here! One of the first things I did was walk along the Lade Braes for old times’ sake. On one of my walks I came across a chap sitting in the middle of the fallen tree that lies over the burn, so I just had to take a photo, hence the front cover!

On returning I found everyone so friendly and helpful in settling me back in. Some of my friends are still living here, too, which is great, and with the help of them and my cousins and their families I settled in no problem and just love being ‘back home’. Within days of moving into my new home I managed to find myself a temporary retail sales job in the town which was great fun, brought me new friends and helped me to really settle in.

However, I always wanted to get back into Estate Agency, as I had over 18 years’ experience of this in England and loved it. So when I was asked to join a new business venture and run the Sales side of St Andrews Property Centre in South Street I jumped at the chance. I am really enjoying the challenge and helping people to find their new homes.

St Andrews is such a beautiful town and it certainly takes me back in time when I walk around the town thinking, ‘I remember when…’ but the town, although expanded massively from when I was small, has a wonderful open and spacious feel to it. Every road leading into the town has a stunning view, such a lovely place to settle.

Experiencing ‘lockdown’ in St Andrews was amazing to say the least! Having my daily government walks along the Old Course and West Sands with hardly a soul in sight was quite surreal! It made a horrid time so beautifully bearable that’s for sure. I left St Andrews as a non-golfer and returned as a golfer. Funnily enough I am sure that this added to my desire to move back! My father always said I should try golf, but as a young mum I felt that I had no time. One day in March 2009 a friend down south asked me if I played golf and I said I had played a bit of pitch and putt. Well, she found me some clubs and off I went to this 9-hole golf club. As we stood on the first tee I mentioned to her that it was a year to the day that my Father had died and he would have loved to know I was playing. Then after 9 holes we came in and had a drink in the Clubhouse. We clinked our glasses and I looked at the clock, it was the exact time my Father had died one year to the day! You couldn’t have planned it! Now I play golf as much as possible and love it, so sometimes your parents are right!!

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