In 1941, I and my family lived in London. My family at that point consisted of my Mother, Terry, Margie, Janet and myself. My father was in the army. The Blitz got very bad, we were evacuated. We were sent to Scotland. We traveled overnight. Due to the blackout, all was pitch dark. All I remember of the trip was a dark train, dark stations and many pull overs and delays in order to allow troop trains to pass. There were dreary stops in Derby and Crew with dreadful cups of tea and stale curled up sandwiches. Things seemed very bleak indeed from a young boy’s mind. I do not recall arriving in Ayr. My sister told me we were picked up in a Rolls Royce and whisked off to the chauffeur’s apartment on the estate of Lord and Lady Weir’s Skeldon House. Due to petrol rationing, his apartment had become available.
The two years I spent on that estate, pleasures and thoughts are embedded very deep in my mind. These where important formative years for me. From the disruptions in London due to the Blitz, it was blissful to run carefree through the woods and swim and fish in the river Doon while people were being slaughtered around the world.
I find now that Robert Burns went to school in Dalyrimple and I know so well how he enjoyed the same delights. Not that the teachers were a delight. One wanted to strap me, I took my hand away and his knee took the blow. We danced around the classroom with the belt whistling until my elder sister witnessing the scene leaped on his back like a Tigress protecting her young . She became my heroine. He had to give up and I never got strapped, all because of dirty hands.
Regardless of this, I learned so much. The poetry of Robbie burns was a leading lesson. “och wee timirit cured beastie och what panics in thy breastie. Och the best laid plans of Mice and Men of-time gang aglee. ” These lines still ring clearly through my head.