The Ardross-man



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. 🙂

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I had to go up onto the parapet of the church today to clear a drain – and lying on the floor of the parapet were two eggs.

I’m not sure if they are pigeon or seagull eggs but they had obviously fallen from a nest somewhere.



Happy New Year 2018

I wish everyone a very Happy New Year – best wishes for 2018.

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Coming up to Christmas, my thoughts have turned to the true meaning of Christmas and I remembered that back in 2016 I told you that my children had found some very old bibles in little locked cupboards attached to some of the pews in the Barony St John church. (see my A Good Word for A Good Book post).

Obviously parishioners had their own reserved seats in the church back then and some had decided to install their own little cupboard to keep their bible in – some even chose to lock it. Unfortunately, as they passed on, their bibles were left behind and no-one wanted to break open the cupboards to see if there was anything left in them, so the bibles have stayed there all this time.

Some were covered in mildew but most looked brand new.

I previously told you about the bibles which had been signed. One said “Amelia Mackay, St. Andrews, Barrie Terrace, Ardrossan“, another was signed “MacGregor” with the address and telephone number embossed “Red Gables, Ardrossan, Tel. 693” – harking back to the days when you called the operator and simply asked for “Ardrossan 693” instead of dialling the number – another bible was signed Mrs Christine Coyle (Mossgiel),.Parkhouse Road. Pew 39 and a fourth bible was inscribed “Balston, Sea View’s House, Saltcoats. May 1877“.

Well, as it was Christmas, I thought I would look over the pile of bibles we found a couple of years ago and another two caught my eye which I thought you’d like to hear about;

This one is a small, wine coloured bible with gold letters inscribed on the front which read “Souvenir International Exhibition Glasgow 1888”. This prompted me to find out more;

The International Exhibition of Science, Art and Industry took place at Kelvingrove Park between May and November 1888 and was opened by the Prince of Wales, the eldest son of Queen Victoria who would later become King Edward VII.

It was the greatest exhibition ever held outside of London and the largest ever in Scotland during the 19th century.

I was surprised and delighted to learn that the beautiful terracotta Doulton Fountain at Glasgow Green which I showed my children last year, was actually an exhibit at the 1888 Exhibition.

This exquisitely decorated, five tier fountain was designed to commemorate the Queen’s Golden Jubilee in 1887. It highlights the British Empire as it was then with Queen Victoria reigning over the top tier followed by maidens with spilling water and then sentries from the Scottish, English and Irish regiments plus a sailor to represent the Royal Navy. The final tier has characters from Canada, Australia, South Africa and India and is truly a work of art.

The fountain was presented to the city of Glasgow by the makers Doulton & Co (famed for their Royal Doulton ceramics) after the exhibition closed in November 1888 and was later moved to Glasgow Green.

The fountain is still the largest terracotta fountain in the world measuring seventy feet in diameter and standing forty six feet tall. If you haven’t seen it, it’s worth checking it out.

By the time the Exhibition closed, a total of 5,748,379 people had attended in the seven month period raising over £43,000 in entrance fees which paid for the construction of the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum – another favourite of my children.

If you found this article interesting, you may enjoy reading more of my articles about the various Victorian memorabilia I have found in the Barony St John buildings. If so, please visit my blog page or if you would like to know about The Scottish Centre for Personal Safety, you can visit our website on or look us up (ScotCPS) on Facebook or Twitter.

I’ll see you all again in the New Year but the meantime I hope you all have a very Merry Christmas and best wishes for 2018.

Goodbye for now.


Not a great day today as I came into the Barony St John church to find a lot of fallen plaster 😦

As you can see in the photo below, some of the plaster has come down to the left of the church organ and some to the right. The plaster that fell to the right landed in the upper gallery and I’ve had to put a bucket up there to catch excess rain water. 😦

I have to take solace in the fact that the architects involved in this project tell me the whole of the plaster will be coming down anyway during its conversion in order to make the room safe. But I still feel sorry ever time I see another part of the building collapse.

The Cream of Ayrshire Awards “Best Local Charity”

We need your support!
Our charity, The Scottish Centre for Personal Safety, has reached the final of The Cream of Ayrshire Awards for “Best Local Charity”.

Please click on the link below, and give us your vote.

We cannot win this without YOUR help so please vote and share with your Friends to try to get us as many votes as possible. You don’t have to reside in Ayrshire to vote.


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Open Day

An Open Day was held in the Barony St. John buildings in Ardrossan last Wednesday and was a huge success with people popping in to give their views on what they think the former church and hall buildings should be used for and how, hopefully, this will enhance the regeneration of Ardrossan and the Three Town area as a whole.

To date, almost three hundred surveys have been completed and if you would like your opinion heard, the closing date of 30th June is looming fast so log onto this address and get a survey filled in.

Many thanks in advance. 😀

“Thank You” to The Clothworkers Foundation


A huge “Thank You” to the Clothworkers’ Foundation for part-funding the renovation of our Training Room at Barony St John’s.

We simply could not have done it without your help.

Thanks again.

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