The Ardross-man


January 2016

Life & Work

As workmen pulled down a precarious piece of ceiling masonry a couple of papers floated to earth and it was apparent that they had been trapped under the gallery’s floorboards since May 1893 – over a century ago;

One of these papers was a wonderful pamphlet titled “Life & Work” with the sub heading “Ardrossan New Parish Church” was found and apart from the lovely drawing of the church and hall buildings…..DSC01713

it also contained letters and news from Ardrossan and other parishes plus some wonderful Victorian advertisements for products such as Dr. Richardson’s Magneto Galvanic Battery, The John Noble Knock About Frocks and The “Zoka” Detective Camera.

I’ll write a separate blog detailing all the wonderful adverts (some complete with sketches showing Victorian dress styles).


The first article in this pamphlet is a sermon by someone signing themselves as A.K.H.B. (any ideas?)

It begins with a sketch of Abbotsford (could this be the house of Sir Walter Scott?) and the date May 1893 and then the heading “Our Sunday Fireside” and the sub-heading “Not for Us at All”.

The first couple of paragraphs in the sermon, which goes on for four pages, reads:

There are humble writers who like to see before them in their minds eye the souls they are addressing. A saintly man who as yesterday (though twenty-eight years since) entered into his rest, often told me that he had always the congregation before him when he was writing his sermon. I fancy it is even so with many who are not saintly at all, but queer-tempered and trouble-some to live with.

I take up my pen on this Spring morning with the palms of Ayrshire on the table beside me because a dear friend asking me to do so set before me a picture which got straight to my heart. The catkins of the willow were never called anything but palms: a touching survival of an old way, gone. I am thinking of a Sunday towards the end of April or the beginning of May: and quite in the quiet country. We have come home from church: the plain country church I knew as a little boy. I look at Winchester Cathedral with calm admiration: but I see the little kirk of Kyle through a certain mist that hallows it. And I have got up and looked at the picture on the wall of a beautiful church, modest in its size but not easily rivalled for situation: the great trees around it, the grand purple hill looking down on it, the sweet river murmuring by, crystal-clear: the green grave where the brave heart of Jeanie Deans mouldered into dust. It once was mine: but that is a generation ago.

So, who was Jeanie Deans and which Kyle is he referring to?

Well, a quick internet search revealed that Jeanie Deans is a fictional character in Sir Walter Scott’s novel “The Heart of Midlothian”. She was one of Scott’s most celebrated characters during the 19th century and she was renowned as an example of an honest, upright, sincere and highly religious person.

As to the Kyle – is it the Kyle of Lochalsch? The Kyle of Tongue? The Kyle of Sutherland or some other Kyle? Maybe YOU can tell me.

Outhouse in the doghouse


Work, kindly funded by Asda Foundation’s 50th Birthday Community Grant, is progressing with the badly needed renovation of the toilet facilities at Barony St. John.

The floor has been uplifted and dug out and the walls and timbers have been treated for dry rot.

The first photo (below) shows the floor being fitted with a damp-proof membrane and the walls being insulated.


The second and third photos show the insulation being installed in the ceiling recess and the ceiling lowered.

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The final two photos show the cubicles being built in the Gents and the plasterboard in all the toilet rooms being skimmed.

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It’s a slow process but these guys know what they are doing – a huge thank you and thumbs up must also go to Paul Marchetti of P&M Property Contractors for doing such a top notch job.

If you are looking for a builder / contractor to do ANY work in your property (home or business) in the North Ayrshire / Strathclyde, I’d thoroughly recommend Paul and his team.  🙂

Snow Day


I just caught the last bit of daylight to take this photo of a snow covered Barony St. John on this very cold and wintry day in Ardrossan. 🙂

It reminded me of a poem I read a couple of years ago by a 12yr old boy named Sam.

The poem is called Snow Day and begins;

Snow is falling to the ground
Piling up in enormous mounds
School is cancelled for the day
Children run outside to play

and it finishes;

Almost over is the day
The children start to walk away
As snow falls, so does the sun
Time to go in, the day is done

If you want to read the full poem it can be found at this link

At least Ben seemed to like the snow LOL


Rainbow’s End


A fabulous photo from Ardrossan of a beautiful rainbow with the end apparently disappearing into the Barony St. John buildings.


Let’s hope that pot of gold can help us restore and open these buildings up as a Community and Events Centre.

It would be extremely fulfilling to give something back to the community and to help those who need it most within North Ayrshire – let’s hope the locals get behind this project.

Time passes by…

Okay, so here I am back up the stairs to the parapet and into the bell tower where this wonderful old clock mechanism is situated.


Unfortunately, the metal rods which should be attached to the clock hands on each of the four clock faces have long since rotted away as you can see in the photo below 😦 – and you also get to see the inside of this wonderful spire as it reaches upwards to the model ship weather vane. 🙂

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The main workings of the clock are still here though – badly rusted, but still here 🙂

The brass nameplate can also be easily read –


The inscription reads “Muirhead & Arthur, Glasgow. 1845

I wonder if any museums or clock collectors would like to get their hands on this old piece? Please let me know if it’s of interest to anyone.

And if any readers have any information on Muirhead & Arthur, please let me know – they seem to have had a hand in making everything from clocks to art nouveau cutlery.

New moon, New Year, New era

Another fantastic photo by Peter Ribbeck Photography taken last week and showing a full moon at dawn with the Barony St. John weather vane silhouetted.

full moon

And he has added a warmer tone for this photo;

brighter moon

Which one do you like the best?

I like this photo as it reminds me that this is not only the start of a New Year but also with a new moon coming so a new era will dawn on the Barony St. John buildings. 🙂

For more wonderful photographs, check out Peter’s Facebook page –

Liebster Award nomination

A big thank you to Kerry of for nominating me for a Liebster Award but I have to be honest and reveal, that up until this nomination, I had never heard of the Liebster Award – which is hardly surprising as it turns out that it’s an online award given to new bloggers by bloggers who’ve been blogging for a while.

So, many thanks once again Kerry as I consider it a bit of an honour to be nominated as I’m really, really new to this game. 🙂

Having done some research, it seems the rules of the Liebster Award seem to vary from person to person but this is what I have been told;

1. Say “thank you” to the person who nominated you.

2. Pick 5 people to nominate.

3. Ask 5 questions (some others say “ask 10 questions”, others say 11, and others say 8 – but Kerry, like others, asked for 5 so that’s good enough for me…..I just hope it doesn’t rule me out of the Awards – and how do the Liebster Awards pick a winner???)

4. Post the pic in the post.


These are Kerry’s questions –
1. Who was your first TV/Film hero or crush?

My first TV/film hero was John Wayne and my first crush was the young actress from the Black Beauty TV series (showing my age now LOL).

2. What other place in the world do you think you could live in?

Canada – like a bigger version of Scotland 🙂

3. What would you like engraved on your tombstone or written on your obituary?

He always said he was getting there…..well he’s got there now. 😀 

4. What food do you hate to eat?


5. Star Wars or Star Trek?

Star Trek – I can’t understand why people like Star Wars with all those muppets walking around??? 

So, I’d like to nominate;
And here are my 5 questions for you;
  1. What made you want to start up a blog?
  2. What do you like to drink as you blog – tea, coffee, hot chocolate, Gin & Tonic???
  3. What is your favourite book of all time?
  4. What is your favourite movie of all time?
  5. What is your favourite meal?

Have fun replying.

Until next time,


The Ardross-man

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