Sunday, September 24, 2006

Tower, what tower?

This structure is at Prestwick, close to the airport boundary. No indication at the site about what it is/was.

I've yet to find anyone who can make a definitive statement, but best guess seems to be a ventilation shaft for a mine.

My postings may become a bit erratic over the next few days, so bear with me!

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Loudoun Hill

Loudoun Hill is a very recogniseable landmark in East Ayrshire

In it's vicinity both Wallace and Bruce fought and defeated the English.

Nowadays it is more used by people having a personal battle climbing its volcanic rock.

Friday, September 22, 2006


Cycling along Troon esplanade this morning was fun; avoiding the seaweed and jellyfish which had been blasted there last night by the high winds. It must have been quite a sight, but I'm glad we gave it a miss!

I don't know whether this season has been particularly fine for the production of seaweed, but the beach area had been totally covered by it and a council employee on a tractor with a front-end shovel was valiently scraping it away to reveal the sand again. The picture is of the heap he had collected from one modest part.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Flower Clock

Kilmarnock Railway Station used to serve as a hub for a variety of rail links in mid-Ayrshire as part of the Glasgow and South-Western Railway system.

I'm not sure when the flower clock was installed, but it amost looks as if First Scotrail are trying to hide it by allowing the hedge to grow.


Blog from 20 September 2006.

Following on from my post of 18 September, I now include a photograph of the Gaiety Theatre in Ayr. This was most associated with Ben Popplewell and his family.

I won't fault the Gaiety itself, it's a nice theatre, but it's totally unsuitable for amateur company productions.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Photograph problem

There is a serious problem uploading photographs to blogger at the moment - a large number of complaints have been logged on the blogger help group, but there has been no response so far.

When it gets fixed, I'll resume publishing.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006


When I was a little lad, knee-high to a grasshopper, I was on a bus outing to Ayrshire and the driver took us to the Electric Brae. There weren't any of these road signs then; just an unremarkable stretch of road except for the superb views of Culzean Castle, Ailsa Craig and the coastline of Arran.

He stopped the bus, switched off the engine and then released the handbrake. The bus started to roll fowards up the hill! He then explained that natural Electricity was affecting the bus and making it move uphill all by itself. He restarted the bus, drove off and turned to come back where he demonstrated the bus rolling backwards up the hill.

Guess how impressed we were!

It is of course merely an optical illusion which tricks the eye into seeing the road gradient in the wrong direction, but there are still masses of visitors who come to experience the electro-magnetism.

Unfortunately the camera doesn't lie and I've never seen a photograph that captured the illusion. So you don't get a photograph of the road.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Ayr's Disgrace

This was the theatre which many amateur groups used in Ayr prior to 2002. It was fairly central, of reasonable capacity and, possibly more importantly, at a rate which meant smaller companies could at least break-even in finances.

The Council made comments in 2004 and 2005 concerning the lack of future for the building. What they didn't comment on was where the budget for the theatre for the 5 years previous to the closure were spent - certainly not on the Civic Theatre. Peculiarly enough, asbestos was said to have been discovered in the Theatre immediately prior to closure; however no-one has stated how much was involved.

The Council have concentrated their spend on the Gaiety Theatre, a much larger and much more expensive venue - well out of the reach of most small groups.

There have also been rumours, not denied by the Council, that at least five enquiries have been made by outside parties into taking over the venue for artistic purposes, but these have all been given short shrift.

It rather looks like the Council don't want any competition to 'their' theatre.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Banking on it?

Today's picture is of a man-made feature in the town of Troon. Ballast Bank was constructed at this headland on the orders of the Duke of Portland, between 1840 and 1865, as a protective barrier for the harbour behind it. The development of the harbour by the Duke helped to establish the town of Troon.

It gets the name Ballast Bank since it used the ballast from cargo boats as well as the material from the docks which were also being constructed at that time.

It's a favourite walk for many and gives excellent views over the Firth of Clyde.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Northern Ayrshire

The 'modern' tower was built in the early 1800s to replace the tower which fell down in 1810 after being struck by lightning. The Abbey's founders, the Tironensian aka Tyrinensian Monks, arrived here in the 1160s from Kelso Abbey in the Scottish Borders.

Kilwinning Abbey was built on a site which had had religious significance from before AD 600. The plan of the Abbey was

Kilwinning also holds claim to be the Mother Lodge of the Scottish FreeMasons.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Le marché commun

We have our Continental Market this weekend beside the river Ayr. Hot Dogs from Germany; Omelette from Spain; Olives from Italy; Soap, Coffee, Cheese, Bread, Pastries & Biscuits from France; and tat from other places.

I asked for "deux croissants" from the bakery stall to be told, "my boss is French, but I'm not" in what sounded like Slav accented English.

However the bread and croissants were excellent, so .......

Thursday, September 14, 2006

What's in a name?

This gravestone back is located in the churchyard of St Quivox Church of Scotland, in the village of St Quivox in the parish of St Quivox. The face of the stone is badly eroded and unreadable, but the stones surrounding it date from late 1700s to early 1800s.

It was this name that really started me first thinking about how placenames came into existence.

For a long time, I've thought that the church didn't really look like one.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Chain reaction

The image isn't up to my usual standard today. It was taken with my wife's new mobile phone and I had to adjust the image since it was much too dark.

It does highlight the clouds though. The sky keeps going from bright blue with fluffy white clouds to extremely threatening massed cloud. Minimal rain so far.

This photo was taken at Ayr harbour (we are back from the weekend in York as Alison identified) and this monument to the trade stands beside one of the former ship-building slipways.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Still Away

Since no one rose to last night's challenge, but mainly since I wasn't out and about today at home, here's another picture clue.

I'll confess all tomorrow night.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Away Again

OK folks, I've been on my travels again. Guess where from the above photograph. I'll give you two hints - it is in the UK, but it is not in Scotland. (Great hints, I know!!)

Thursday, September 07, 2006

One stop shop?

I know that the NHS isn't as efficient as it might be, but........

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose?

Rather than the various beauty spots of Ayrshire, today's photograph is of an ex-industrial site Dunaskin

This had been turned into an industrial heritage site, but that has now folded and it's being used by Ayrshire Railway Preservation Group and Scotwest Auto Sport.

This 'reflection' on our past was triggered by an email I received from ex-colleagues from the computer manufacturing plant I used to work at for the 15 years before I retired. The company I started there with was taken over and later part of the company was sold off. The sold off business remained at the Ayr site, but now it is also closing and I haven't heard of anyone interested in the site. Another derelict factory?

However, as the following picture shows, nature will sucessfully colonise even slag heaps from Iron Works; in this case with apples. So I suppose there is hope for mankind yet!

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Singing for supper

Or rather, taking account of the time, 'singing for lunch'.

This little chaffinch sat on the roof of the bird table and 'sang' its heart out for about 15 minutes before starting to eat. I have to admit the song was a bit monotonous, but it was nice.

The effort of putting out food for the birds is well rewarded now that we no longer have cats!

Monday, September 04, 2006

Monday Stroll

Went for a walk this morning up Cornish Hill and round by Cornish Loch before descending by Cornish Burn. Although weather was a bit cloudy, it was a fine Scottish walk - minus midges - and the rain had the burn rolling nicely.

Following on from my sister-in-law Christine's blog on Saturday, this fungus isn't so profuse, but it is more colourful.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Sunday Afternoon in the Park

After my comments regarding no children in Rozelle Park, I cam across this Rugby Match being played today by, I assume, two under-15 teams.

At least some of the parents had come along to support their kids, albeit a little too vociferously in some instances.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Dreich Day

A dreich day in Ayr, but enlivened by a vist to Ayrshire Farmers Market

This wasn't as big today as it has been, no soup stall; no olive stall, but the meat is excellent and well worth paying a bit more for.

Friday, September 01, 2006

Honest Dirt

It may be cheating a little bit, but I've posted a photograph I took a couple of weeks back in Rozelle Estate.

This is the sort of tree I climbed in (and fell out of) in my youth along with many of my compadres and even some girls - no discrimination there.

I took this during the school holidays, but as you can see, or rather not see, a distinct lack of children even though there are many in this area. I'm not sure whether it was
  1. lack of interest by the parents or the children, or
  2. fear of injury to the children, or
  3. fear of molestation of the children
however I felt saddened that they don't seem to have the same freedom that we did. I also think that the general exposure to 'good honest dirt' that we had built up our immune systems for the future.