The Children’s Boating Pond – Ayr, Scotland

“Well Eunice,     Here we are thinking back over sixty years now and as you see below there is a picture of myself heading towards Ayr boating pond with my brand new sail boat. I guess the year would be 1957, the boating pond was so popular back then and without doubt my favourite venue. Sadly it is no longer in existence and all you can see from the satellite view is it’s outline down at the bottom left corner”.

John McCarron, Oct 2020
John McCarron with the first of many model (not toys) boats

That’s all it takes isnt it, a few words and back in time you transport as a window in your mind slides open, and there you are…

I think the date on the photo may be wrong, or that would make us only 8 years old, and I think we may be 10, and the year 1956. OMG, that was almost half way through last century – the 2oth century!

Somewhere in that group of very nice Scottish children is possibly the troubled young boy who broke my nose jn a sudden frenzied attack in the cloackroom – a dimly-lit, damp place where we all left our coats and bags on rows of hooks for the day.

I was getting my lunch or ‘playpiece’ from my tan leather satchel on the hook. There was a shout from outside and this wee boy came running in around the racks and as he came running behind me he yanked on my plaited hair so hard he pulled my head back.

I yelled out instinctively and he screeched to a halt, came back, gave me a punch that knocked me flat on my back and gave such a swipe at my nose that it went ‘crack’. It was only found to be broken much later as it grew with a bump along the bridge, and my self-confidence and breathing were damaged until surgery in Australia when I was a young Mum. I think he must have been moved from the school after that.

Lying on a wooden school bench with a cloth to staunch the streaming blood/my shocked Mother being brought to the school/my angry Father with my Mother and the boy’s Mother in Mr Welch’s office next day (no boy’s father/in jail?). Anyway, out of the only violent episode in my chIldhood the only feeling I have had for that tense wee boy,-smaller than me -has been sadness.

Well! Where did that come from unbidden? I merely wanted to point out John McCarron in the Alloway Primary School annual photo, end of middlle row on left. Looking shy. I am fourth along wearing hair in pigtails and ribbons (thank you Mum), and wearing my lifetime favourite garment – the pleated navy school gymslip.

Thank you John. Now back to the boating pond…

John McCarron says:So now if we fast forward to the present time I still love model boats and sailing them, below is my latest and biggest W W 2 battleship, still not completed but able to sail and be enjoyed. I guess we never really grow up just a bit older.  Happy days.

One of John’s amazing models
My bathroom Shelf collection
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