No 26 March 2004




Final Meal 1972


photo by Richard Young

Back row – Gary Dobbie, Donald Findlay, Allan (‘Big Al’) Halliday, Alan (‘Little Al’) O’Brien, John Cordingley

Front row – Rennie Frazer, Dave Rattray, John Lowe, Richard Young

Dr JOHN BELL tells us of his retiral from General Practice in St Andrews, while PETER BINNS writes that he intends to retire from his post at Dr Challoner’s Grammar School in Amersham at the end of the school year. Another retiree is GRAHAM FLEMING who came into leisure in February.

TREVOR JONES continues the story of Taigh a’ Charbadair – “Ishbel was born into a family of hoteliers and, as well as being a St.Leonard’s girl, is a graduate of the Hotel School of Lausanne and has worked for the Stakis Organisation, the Roxburghe Hotel Edinburgh and for herself. She’s working for herself now in order to develop our guest house. I’m “employed” as builder, as we’re seeking to do some of the work ourselves.

“These things take an enormous amount of time and effort. The television DIY programmes omit a great deal of the essential nitty-gritty stuff such as planning regulations, building regulations, fire regulations etc. We have our own copy of the building regulations and it completely fills a lever arch folder! It took to 2002 to resolve the error made by West of Scotland Water about our drains. Their insurers have paid for a new pumped sewerage system exclusive to our house so that we can stop pouring raw sewage into our “garden pond” otherwise called the Clyde Estuary.

“The cottage was “below tolerable standard” and uninhabitable. We decided to start there. The lathe and plaster was stripped from the interior walls leaving bare sandstone; suspect and rotten structural timbers were removed, new timbers inserted and the entire roof chemically treated; the floor was dug out, removing beach sand, pebbles and boulders, in order to prepare for a damp-proof membrane, foam insulation and concrete solum; the walls were drilled and a chemical damp-proof course injected; the slates were stripped from the roof, re-dressed and sized and the roof re-slated. We did a good deal of this work ourselves. Having our own access tower (scaffolding), purchased second-hand, is a great boon not just for access but also for safe and efficient working.

“In the kitchen we’re restoring the brick arch that was once above the open cooking fire and having a gas-fired “Stanley” range cooker (AGA-style). We demolished the old wash house, saving the kettle drum-shaped boiler and the deep Belfast sink. We’ve demolished the outside toilets too, saving the high-level Shanks of Barrhead cistern with its pull chain. The “cludgies” weren’t kept and unfortunately proved to be of no value as architectural salvage. This is one of the areas that we’ve become knowledgeable about, having purchased reclaimed hardwood flooring, cast-iron “beer garden” table bases, a cast-iron fireplace with hand-painted tiles and a church pew (little knowing that our own local church was, a few months later, to give us three!)

“We’ve divided a single bedroom in the former coach-house to form a store room, called “Gloria” after Glory Hole, and a bathroom with a shower instead of a bath. One of our difficulties has been organising a route for water pipes to go upstairs and underneath the floors; it’s even more difficult when you live in the house and have to move furniture and carpets before lifting floors! Downstairs in the main building the existing kitchen will be converted to a bedroom capable of accommodating ambulant disabled people.

“There’s more, since we haven’t tacked the garden at all, but the rest can wait for another occasion. All in all I’m confident that you will appreciate how busy we have been and will be for some time to come. The plan, all being well, is to have a first-rate Bed & Breakfast establishment open for the 2004 season, some two years (or more) behind schedule. We’re listed in Ayrshire & Arran Tourist Board accommodation booklet and possibly at . One of my “to do” things is the development of our own web-site with hyperlink to/from the Tourist Board site as well as other sites.”

OWEN WHITE, currently OHMS, tells us that he plans to retire soon before emigrating to France, where he will slowly fade into the sunset whilst enjoying civilised living Gallic-style.


Pencilled-in arrangements are in progress for our third Reunion, a Lunch to be held in Winchester on a Saturday in early summer next year. The provisional programme is for a Blue Badge Guide Tour of the city centre and cathedral to commence at 10.30 a.m. to be followed by a late lunch at a city-centre eatery at 1.30 pm. This will allow time for shopping or other personal assignations before going home time.

Why Winchester, you may be wondering? A number of Men of Kinnessburn living in the South of England have expressed interest in attending a Reunion but find St. Andrews and Edinburgh rather far away. Twenty-two Men live within a couple of hours’ drive of Winchester, which is easily accessible by road and by rail for those who stay further away and there is an international airport nearby at Southampton for our overseas members.

But I need to be sure that the event will be viable before I start spending more time and money on the project. So if you’re interested, please let me know pronto – an e-mail saying simply “Yes” or “Maybe” together with your name will suffice. (If you don’t have e-mail facility, send a postcard – address and e-address both on front cover.) Lack of expression of interest will result in the Reunion not taking place.


JOHN STEPNEY writes, “Hi Graham, I've put the newsletter up on the website in .pdf format again. I'm not sure if this is wholly satisfactory; but it's certainly a lot easier for me than converting the document into HTML. The resulting files are rather large so they won't suit dial-up internet users. Has anyone commented on the format? When (if) I get the time I'll go back and do the last three newsletters in the same format..”

 Produced for the Men of Kinnessburn by Graham Robertson


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