James McAlpine
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James McAlpine  recently celebrated his 80th birthday with family and friends.  Now living in Ontario, Canada Jim enjoys long walks near his home in nature areas with trails and rivers and riding his bike as shown in the photo on the left. At right is Jim's' son Scott and daughters Linda and Pat. A former resident of Maybole, Jim left for Canada in 1951 but has many remembrances of his childhood home. He is a frequent visitor to the Maybole website through which he has reconnected with old friends and shared many remembrances of his time in Maybole and Straiton.

I was employed by the London Midland & Scottish Railway Company from about 1944 until 1948 prior to my National Service service in the British army in 1948 until 1950, in 1950 I returned to my railway job at the Maybole station before I left for Canada in 1951. I was what was known as a booking agent selling tickets, making up payrolls as well as consigning packages and merchandise to all points in Scotland and the UK. The Station Master at that time was Mr William Riddell, he was actually native to Newmilns and as I recall he had a son who served in the RAF during the war. At Maybole Station there was an upbound and a downbound track with waiting rooms on each side of the track. The traffic between Maybole and Ayr and points beyond was very substantial in those days. My brother David, now passed away was the signalman in the signal box which is no longer there.  more

I was just looking over some of the pictures which you have recently posted on the Maybole web page. This one in particular grabbed my attention. I would estimate that the picture was taken from the approximate area of my grandparentsí cottage which used to be known as Seaview Cottage. I spent most of the summer holidays with my grandparents and used to awaken every morning and look at this very same view. This would be from about 1939 to about 1943. The farm steading to the right is Castlehill, the farmers at that time were the Duncans, the cottages in the middle were occupied the Jackson family, they worked on the farm. The farm to the left I believe is Balchriston. The Jackson boys taught me to fire a twelve gauge shotgun which belonged to my grandfather. In 1939 I was nine years - old heady days for a young fella  more

In a remote area such as Straiton, you hear sounds that perhaps would be absent in built up areas. The sound that I remember most of all was the cry of the houlet as the night closed in. The sound of the houlet (owl), combined with the shadows cast by the oil lamps created havoc with a very young and fertile imagination. It was a great incentive to snuggle doon and try to go to sleep.
more memories of Straiton

All activities generally took place on the street as there was next to no vehicular traffic on Kirkland or anywhere else for that matter in those years. Such games as rope skipping, peevers, kick the can, rounders ( a form of baseball), hide and seek and soccer were all in vogue then. Every so often there would be a wedding and all the children would gather round with the anticipation of a "scramble" which always happened when the married couple would toss coins for the lads and lassies to gather up. This usually took place outside the manse. We were given a ha'penny, when it was available, to go down the street to Mary Crawford's to buy some sweeties and in those days a halfpenny would garner you five caramels, what a luxury. Then there was the Buck's Head pub which always had various aromas issuing forth such as, beer, whisky, cigarette and pipe smoke. memories of Kirkland Street

When I was a boy at Seaview my grandfather would dispatch me with a burlap bag to the Croy shore to collect chuckie stones, these were little white stones, to decorate the name Seaview, which he had sculpted into the grass in front of the cottage.   I always got the stones but was not always too diligent , time wise, in getting them back to grandfather.   Quite often I had other things on my mind, like sitting on the rocks quite a ways to the north on Croy shore and looking directly across the water to Holy Isle and Arran and wondering what went on over there.   On a very clear day and these were fairly limited on the Firth of Clyde, I often thought that I could have swum across the channel as it didn't seem very far.   All this is to say what a lovely part of the Scottish country I hailed from and that it can compare very favourably with other parts of the country which seem to garner much more attention.  more

Visitors to the Maybole website may appreciate the scenery of my adopted country, Ontario, Canada. The photo on the right was taken from the cottage of my son-in law's sister, Robin. The cottage is on an island not too far from the town of Parry Sound and overlooks the main shipping channel from Parry Sound to the Georgian Bay. I have spent many wonderful times over the years there with family and friends.  Photo at left: Jim McAlpine with dog Skye.