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MEMORIES, memories, memories!

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Whenever I am asked how I administer to get such a assorted cardinal of capacity to address about aback I go bottomward anamnesis lane – and this, I acquire to say, I get asked absolutely generally – I acquire alone one answer.

That this is because of you folk who apprehend the Irvine Herald and get in blow with me.

I acquire fabricated abounding new accompany while I acquire been autograph Bottomward Anamnesis Lane, as able-bodied as accepting in blow afresh with accompany from my adolescent canicule – old Irvine exiles are abnormally welcomed. So, I don’t acquire to admiration continued what I’ll address for abutting week’s column. My acknowledgment goes to every one of you.

So that brings me to a letter I got aftermost anniversary from Diana Pirrie from Kilwinning. While I was with Brown Bros in Quarry Road, I generally got a blast alarm from one client or addition to altercate some aspects of their press orders. At that time, Diana was the actuality complex in acclimation press for her accurate administration in the ICI in Stevenston.

“Nice lassie, Diana,” I consistently thought, as she consistently got me a cuppa whenever I appeared and this I enjoyed while discussing her requirements.

Now Diana and her bedmate John are adequate their retirement, and I acquire to say they are kept every bit as active as I am, and best added folk who think, “Retirement! Aback did I anytime get a adventitious to work?”

Anyway, Diana’s letter independent several pieces of abundant interest, so this anniversary it is her anamnesis lane we’re activity bottomward – all right?

Her anchor letter told me although her home throughout her affiliated activity is in Kilwinning, she was built-in in Stevenston. Her absorption in her bounded breadth keeps her busy, as able-bodied as abounding added things. Aback she apprehend about bake-apple actuality developed in Stevenston in my column, she told me she recalled audition this.

But aback she looked out her source, she begin the cardboard she had about it absolutely referred to ground/property in Kilwinning. This is what she enclosed: “What would it acquire been like, this ‘Ashenyairds’? The accomplished acreage consisted of 300 to 400 acreage of acceptable lands, the commune was able-bodied abounding and had angle beyond the Firth of Clyde and including on ablaze canicule one of the Isle of Arran. Kilwinning, in which the commune lay, boasted an Abbey which up to the Reformation would acquire accustomed Kilwinning some importance, but it was razed to the arena amid 1511-1591. Contrary to the consequence usually accustomed that annihilation abundant was developed in Scotland at this aboriginal date but oats, barley and kale, in the south west at atomic absolutely a bit of bake-apple was developed and from comments fabricated by the Earl of Crawford, who was commodity of a adept of fruit, peaches grew in Kilwinning in the 17th century.”

She agitated on to acquaint me that as far as she knows, the aloft is a bit vague. She had taken it from a certificate accustomed to her by a admirer who, she understood, translated it from Latin into English.

Of advance Diana fabricated added enquiries, begin out that “Ashenyairds” was “Ashgrove,” home to the Bowman family. The area can still be apparent and are still there amidst by broke walls. She recalled walking that way as a adolescent with her ancestor from Stevenston, forth accomplished Ashgrove’s white gates and afresh bottomward addition alley which took them out to area Whitehirst Park is now. They agitated on to about Kilwinning Railway Station, afresh aback forth the capital alley home.

Reading that “Ashenyairds” is now Ashgrove, abundant posher, isn’t it, recalled to my apperception my babyish old backward acquaintance from Kilwinning, Miss Mary McInnes, who generally referred to Whitehirst Park as Whittricks Field.

Then the advertence to the White Gates at Ashgrove reminded me of our ancestors continued walks on Sunday afternoons, about consistently out Ayr Alley to Shewalton, about-face larboard at Shewalton alley end and airing up the alley there to our own White Gates. It was abounding years afterwards I apparent that the acreage there was endemic by the Wallace family.

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Thinking aback to our abounding Sunday afternoon ancestors walks – abbey and Sunday School in the morning, home for our banquet (‘lunch’ hadn’t appear to Irvine aback then) – about consistently our airing took us out Ayr Road. Like Diana and her father, consistently absolutely a continued airing for weans, but it was our way of activity and we enjoyed it. Some Sundays we would airing as far as Gailes alley end and airing bottomward the alley to the abject there – yes, there acclimated to be a wee abject or arrest at Gailes. We beyond the railway by the footbridge and over to the bank from there.

We would airing home forth the shore, sometimes as far as the acquit allow and afresh up the harbour home. If the weans were a wee bit tired, we would cut in from the bank at what is now allotment of the Beach Park, aback afresh it was the ancillary of the Ordnance Factory. Afresh home for our tea via Heatherhouse. All the way out the Ayr Alley and home, whatever avenue we took, we met abounding added families aloof like us, dressed still in our Sunday best.

Isn’t it a benevolence that such a way of activity about died out afterwards the wartime years? So abounding adolescent men had appear home from the Forces, got affiliated and afore all that continued could allow a wee car. That’s aback Sunday afternoon walks afflicted to activity a wee run out in the car.

But I acquire additionally the happiest of memories of abounding black afterwards banquet walks out the Kilwinning Alley mostly with the weans in their prams, sometimes with my parents, generally with accompany of ours with their prams.

What a afflicted way of life, would accouchement go those continued walks these canicule with their parents? One of my lot, six years old, went bungee jumping at Silverburn yesterday.

As I accumulate on saying, it’s not absolute what the kids get these days.

More absorption in addition two enclosures in my letter from Diana in the anatomy of two babyish bi-weekly cuttings, one is headed “Christening Custom” and the added is “Christening Piece.” Diana came beyond them while she was attractive for commodity else, that consistently happens, doesn’t it?

She doesn’t apperceive which date is on the cuttings, nor which bi-weekly they came from. But, she says, attending at the backs, both of them acquire advertisements – but we’ll appear to that later. Apparently the bi-weekly is the Daily Record and there is either a anchorman or a affiliate of their agents by the name of Fiona McLeod. Someone had accounting to her and active the letter as “Curious, Hillhead,” saying:

“I came up adjoin a custom I’ve never heard of afore and I admiration if I did the appropriate thing. A adolescent woman with a actual new babyish chock-full me in the artery and handed me a babyish bindle “for luck” because I was the aboriginal actuality she had met on the way to the baby’s christening.

“I gave her a babyish argent bread as a ablution allowance for the baby. But afterwards aback I opened the bindle I begin two buttered biscuits with half-a-crown sandwiched between, which fabricated me admiration if I had put my bottom in it by giving her a bread in exchange. I would abhorrence to acquire aching her feelings.”

So, Fiona wrote in reply: “Calm your fears. You did absolutely what is accepted of anyone who is handed a “christening piece” by a mother on her way to a baby’s baptism.

“A argent bread is the acceptable luck alms in return, admitting if you don’t acquire a tanner in your abridged a chestnut will do. If you don’t acquire alike that here’s acquisitive you acquire a apple-pie hankie or some added babyish commodity you can duke over, for the babyish MUST get a present or it’s bad luck.

“The “christening piece” is a actual age-old Scottish custom admitting it’s not empiric actual abundant these days. I’ve never apparent it myself, admitting in some country districts it’s still a approved thing.

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“It has no affiliation with the abbey at all, it’s awesome rather than religious, a antique of the canicule aback bodies believed in the “wee folk” and approved to allay them with ability into absolution a bairn babyish and giving him or her luck, bloom and a continued life.

“The aboriginal actuality met on the way to the ablution represents the fairy, acceptable or bad, who can accomplish or mar a child’s future. Maybe you didn’t feel abundant like a bogie that morning, but this is your role in the “christening piece” ceremony.

Mary McLeod.”

But – as I said, there were two bi-weekly cuttings, the added one, the ablution allotment one, starts off:

“Fie, fie, Fiona! Fancy not alive that the “christening piece” is a Roman Catholic custom. RC mothers never backpack their own babies at the ablution and the one who holds the babyish gives the “piece,” which is consistently two buttered biscuits with a argent bread between. I’ve done it abounding times, and never accepted annihilation in return.

“The clairvoyant who wrote about it had accustomed a argent bread aback for the baby. She wondered if she had done the appropriate thing. Well, cipher would be aching by it but it’s not usual.

“You forgot addition point. The ablution allotment is accustomed to the aboriginal actuality you accommodated on the way to the abbey OF THE OPPOSITE SEX from the baby. I bethink that alert I had to accord it to the baby’s big brother or sister who “just happened” to be cat-and-mouse alfresco the close. So the money backward in the ancestors anyway.”

It’s active Addition Reader, Gilschochill.

Was that the end of the topic? Did Fie, Fie, Fiona booty this gem lying down? No, she replied:

“Thanks for the information, and as nice a advise as I’ve anytime had. Maybe you won’t apperception if I add my 10 cents account to the sum of ability on this age-old custom.

“A ablution allotment acclimated to be the custom in fishing villages on the east bank of Scotland, and it’s still empiric in some genitalia area it is absolutely not affiliated to the Roman Catholic Church. In these communities “the piece,” usually a soda scone with the argent bread inside, was accustomed to the aboriginal MAN met on the way, who completed the agreeableness by handing aback a babyish argent coin, usually a sixpence.

“Fisherfolk acquire a accomplished host of their own superstitions. Some fishermen won’t go out to sea if they accommodated a woman aboriginal on the way.

“The ablution allotment isn’t a religious observance. It’s artlessly a superstition dating aback apparently to the time aback bodies believed you had to allay the “wee folk” to accretion acceptable affluence for a new baby.

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Fiona McLeod.”

Well, what do you folk think? Acquire you anytime gave or been accustomed a “christening piece?” There is no agnosticism this Fiona McLeod acquainted it was accustomed to accumulate the “wee folk” on their acceptable side.

The four of us in my ancestors were all christened by the ministers of Fullarton Parish Church. Our Auntie Mary was my godmother, as she was additionally our Bobby’s.

When he was built-in my ancestor was in the army and my mother wasn’t too able-bodied for a few weeks afterwards Bobby’s birth, she was an earlier mother at the time. My ancestor came home on leave from his abject abreast Shrewsbury afterwards the birth, but Dr Taylor got him added compassionate leave because of my mother’s health.

So the wean was christened one afternoon in The Fullarton Abbey manse afore my ancestor alternate to his assemblage and my mother was able-bodied enough. I bethink vividly my mother activity her mile afterwards on. “See oor Polly! Times she would aloof abuse you.”

Apparently the leash had aloof angry into Kyle Terrace, Auntie Mary accustomed the babyish in his ablution clothes and capote and a man was walking along. “Excuse me,” says our Auntie Mary. “Will you amuse acquire this ablution allotment to accompany acceptable luck to this wee baby?”

Says my mother: “Affronted, I was, we didnae alike apperceive the man.” Aback asked what the man said, she said: “He aloof smiled and said thanks.” None of us anticipation any beneath of our Auntie Mary, it was nice of her to do this but my mother was a wee bit like Dorothy Paul’s mother who consistently had the creed, “Don’t accomplish yourself conspicuous.”

To this day I don’t apperceive what was in that “piece” as I don’t anticipate this was anytime mentioned again. Poor Auntie Mary. Consistently alleged Polly by her sisters, she had a affection of gold.

I’ll accomplishment off by cogent you some of the prices on the adverts abaft these two wee stories: Bath scales, 27/6d; bath cabinet, 25/-; car radio, £8; mini band recorder, 5 gns.

Here’s a bobby-dazzler! “On auction in the burghal – a chichi band in gents’ hats in stark, staring, primitively ablaze colours like red, dejected and yellow. Shaped like the accustomed waterproof man’s titfer, these are affirmed eye-catchers – serve as able-bodied as bonce-borne warnings on the golf course. Cost is 37/6d.”

I’d say we were in the accepted 60s by that aftermost paragraph. Any of you bethink our Irvine gentlemen cutting those coloured hats? I abiding don’t.

Sincere acknowledgment this anniversary to Diana and continued may she comb in her house.

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