The Ardross-man


July 2018

Seventies Flashback

I was searching for old memorabilia in the Barony St John church building last week with volunteers Emma and Ami Paterson when we discovered, stuffed behind the organ, an old newspaper from the seventies.

The newspaper is, of course, The Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald, and the date is 5th September 1975.



The articles that caught my eye were the ones which were accompanied by a photograph;

The first photo is of Ronnie Robinson and Turner Chalmers who won the team event in the Saltcoats Boat Owners’ fishing contest. Does this contest still take place?




The next photo is of the cast of “Mixed Doubles”, a play presented by the Student Drama Group of North Ayrshire Arts Centre in West Kilbride Hall. Just look at the hairstyles and clothing  fashion of the day.




And finally, there’s a cracking photo of the Ayrshire Women’s Bowling Championships at Ardrossan green.

So does anyone recognise anyone? Are YOU in any of the photos?

The Perfect Wedding

There are weddings……and then there are Barony St John weddings.

We filmed this “wedding” for our forthcoming crowd fund video.

What do you think?



Many thanks to Iain Hamilton of Clyde Kilts for supplying the groom and bride’s father with outfits and for playing the part of the bride’s father.

And to Lorraine Rankin-Smith of So Beautiful Bridal for supplying the bridal dress, bouquet and bridesmaid Tilly Rankin-Smith.

And Brian Jay of Jay’s Wedding Car Services for supplying the wonderful 1930’s Beaufort car.

Jennifer Reeves for being the bride and hair and make-up by Therapy at the Registry.

Tyler Poole for being the groom and Michael McCulloch for being the piper.

The Three Town Growers for supplying the flowers.

And Ryan Sinclair for providing his yacht “Caledonia”.

I’m sure you will agree, this looks fabulous – and hopefully a taste of things to come at the Barony St John.


Bum Burn

You may remember, it was back in late 2016 when I wrote about our drainage problems in “Money flushed down the drain“, well we had another blockage.

It’s not really to be expected as we now have about 450 people a week using our hall and I’m guessing it wasn’t really designed for that. Admittedly, the hall was built to seat one thousand people back in 1887 but I think that many people would not have wanted to go to the toilet in a church – unless they had really been caught short. And I would bet that, sitting in for a number two would be unthinkable back then.

But we have over a hundred children using our Centre now and they are more than happy to fill our toilets with number ones, twos and lots and lots of toilet paper (there is one night of the week where we will go through two toilet rolls in a three hour period).

In other words, our toilets and drains take a pounding!

Last week, the female toilet blocked – which blocked the disabled access toilet and then the male toilets and then the kitchen sink (as they are all connected in a row).

I tried plunging it with a mop but to no avail and then I remembered a trick my mother used to do – boiling water down the drain. It softens up any blockage and hopefully allows water to flow again.

So, two full kettles of boiling water down each of the toilets and I left them to do their magic.

Unfortunately a middle-aged female went in to use the ladies toilet – and she needed a number two.

The first I knew of this was when I heard her scream.

It seems that the splash of her ablution hitting the water below caused a backsplash of boiling water which had scalded the checks of her posterior (it could have been worse, if you ask me).

She was not a happy person – especially when I told her I would have to log the incident in our Accident Book.

She refused to give her name or any of her details and she refused my kind offer of First Aid treatment deciding instead to leave the building instead of taking part in the spiritualist medium session that was about to commence.

Bet she didn’t see that coming. 🙂

Related image


The Big Lottery identified Ardrossan as “an area of extreme deprivation” back in 2014 and made it their mission to change that by injecting £1.6 million into their Our Place initiative which would fund various community projects aimed at making Ardrossan a better place to live and work.

Street surveys and door-to-door surveys were carried out in 2015 and this resulted in Our Place publishing the local community’s “Top 10 ideas to make Ardrossan a better place to live“;

image1. Upgrade Glasgow Street & Princes Street.

2. Activities for young people.

3. More shops / amenities.

4. General tidy up of environment.

5. Develop Seafront and wasteground.

6. Employment opportunities.

7. More funding and investment.

8. Sport / Leisure facilities.

9. Better play facilities.

10. Social space for young people.


This was really exciting as our plans for the Barony St. John buildings ticked almost every box;

  • The Barony St. John is on Princes Street – the very street the local community wanted to upgrade.
  • Our plans to run evening classes providing activities for young people ticked No.2 of the community’s Top 10 ideas.
  • The regeneration of the Barony St John buildings into an Events Centre with a William Wallace Visitor Centre attached to the cafe area ticked No.3 of providing more shops / amenities.
  • No.4 in the list asked for a general tidy up of the environment and the regeneration of the Barony St John buildings would certainly provide that.
  • No.5 asked for the seafront and wasteground areas to be developed – and we are right on the seafront.
  • No.6 asked for the creation of employment opportunities – our Events Centre,  a William Wallace Visitor Centre, gift shop and cafe will obviously need manned so our finished project will provide extensive employment opportunities.
  • Next the community asked for more funding and investment – as tourists come to the William Wallace Visitor Centre and visitors come to the various bands, music festivals, art exhibitions, weddings, plays, etc. that we intend to run, the reputation of Ardrossan as being a major attraction will increase and so in turn will funding and investment in the area.
  • They asked for more sport / leisure facilities and with our large hall area open to evenign classes, we cater for Muay Thai, dance classes, Tai Chi, Circuit training, fitness classes and even meditation. Another box ticked.
  • Finally, the community’s No.10 idea to improve Ardrossan was for a social space for young people. We aim to develop our Training Room into a social hub area where young people can not only enjoy leisure activities on laptops but also learn how to write a CV, update their interview skills and get advice on how to pass a job interview.

So that’s 10 out 10. Our regeneration of the Barony St John buildings looks like a no brainer for the Our Place funding.

Now obviously, there is only £1.6 million which is to spread out over 5 years – but surely we would get something towards making the church roof wind and watertight for instance. Maybe around the £200,000 mark?

But as it became apparent that so called “public meetings” on how this money should be allocated were not exactly public, I began to have some sneaking suspicions that all was not right…..and then I got my premonitions.

By December 2015, I had predicted that the £1.6 million funding would get spent on five areas – the Ardrossan Castle, local theatre group Capall Dorcha, Ardrossan Music Experience, Ayrshire Film Company and Ardrossan Youth Group / Whitlees Community Centre.(see my other posts dating back to early 2016 – “Psychic Predictions“, “More psychic predictions come true” and “Psychic predictions 4 out 5“)

And amazingly, the predictions came true –

In May 2016, The Big Lottery announced that the first grant of £53,304 from the Our Place fund would be spent on a fun half-day carnival at the Ardrossan Castle.

Later in 2016, they announced that they would fund the Ardrossan Music Experience to the tune of £98,950 for a ‘Sound on the sand’ spectacular which basically was The Skids in a marquee tent one night last summer.

In July 2017, Capall Dorcha received £149,387 from Our Place to deliver Youth Theatre classes and Easter and Summer workshops for young people and adults in Ardrossan.

And in January 2018, an amazing 25 months since I predicted it, the Whitlees Community Centre received £324,625 for a complete upgrade of their kitchen and cafe area including giving people who were volunteers for years a salary for their work.

Recently in February 2018, they once again announced that they would fund the Ardrossan Music Experience to the tune of £98,950 for a one off event. That’s nearly £200,000 to date for a music event!!

How exactly all of this alters the extreme deprivation in Ardrossan, mystifies me.

How all of this is sustainable after the 5 years of funding are over, mystifies me.

How all of this, in any way, connects to what the local community asked for in Our Place’s own “Top 10 ideas to make Ardrossan a better place to live“, mystifies me.

But the big question everyone should be asking is how could I possibly predict in 2015 who would get funding in 2018?

I know some of you will immediately answer that there is obviously a level of corruption going on here – but the real answer is that I’m obviously psychic. I’m so psychic, it mystifies even me. 🙂

Create a free website or blog at

Up ↑