Issue 053

The Passion Edition

Top Stories


I’ll always remember the day I interviewed comedian, musician and actor, Bill Bailey. Not just because it was a privilege to chat to one of Britain’s best-loved personalities, but also for the fact that I was sitting in my car in a service station somewhere near Peterborough, balancing my notepad, my phone and my recording device, whilst trying my best not to give any clues as to my temporary, somewhat unprofessional working environment. I think I managed it. At least, I hope I managed it.


We have all seen the sad news regarding Ayr Ice Rink and its closure at the end of September. It feels ironic that this local sporting venue, which has brought joy to so many, has closed when one of its young stars is achieving wonderful things in the sport of ice dancing.


Despite being over forty years old, An Officer and a Gentleman remains one of my favourite films. It’s one of the few films I saw more than once at the cinema and although I would happily watch it again, there’s a new version of this 1982 classic that I’m hoping to see instead: An Officer and a Gentleman the Musical.

The Ayrshire Lads

For those lucky enough to have seen The Ayrshire Lads perform live before, they’ll know what to expect when they return to The Gaiety for a third and final time this February. Or will they?

The Passion Edition


I vaguely remember owning a dog. The memories are tucked away in a fuzzy folder, that stage in my childhood impacted by the divorce of my parents. My brain doesn’t allow me to fully remember what life was like but I do remember she was a poodle. Her name was Suki and she appeared at shows. Her puppies sold for big money. I never walked her once. Or threw a ball, or a stick…

What Lies Beneath…

The seabed has been described as a gigantic underwater museum, and that’s certainly true of the waters off the Ayrshire coast, home to all manner of shipwrecks with stories to tell – stories of commerce and pleasure, of peace and war, of hope and despair, of better times and worse times. Let’s look at five of those wrecks, all built with war in mind, and their stories.


WHERE DO I EVEN START? Hannah MacMillan “Did my heart love till now? Forswear it, sight! For I ne’er saw true beauty till this night.” You could argue that Romeo and Juliet is probably the most well-known romance story in the world. The absolute definition of passionate. And yes, once you get past the weird…

Bitesize Mindfulness: A Guide For Beginners

Mindfulness involves learning a skill that can be introduced in a few sessions and be with you for the rest of your life. It is a skill that can help you to relax, a skill for health and well-being, a skill to soothe and calm the mind, and a skill that can give you the resilience to thrive.

The Ancient Society of Kilwinning Archers

The Ancient Society of Kilwinning Archers is the oldest archery club in the UK, if not the world. Established in 1483 during the reign of James III it has continued, with a few breaks, since that time.


CoreSpace: ‘For the original thinker, self-starter who strives for flexibility and great coffee. Start early, work late and be around others aiming for brilliance.’

issue 053


Dr Connor McGaughey has lived in South Ayrshire since 2011 after becoming a GP Partner in The Surgery @ 9 Alloway Place. He continues to serve NHS patients at this Ayr-based practice today. Having visited many times over the preceding decade he grew to appreciate both the beauty and opportunities of the Ayrshire coastline as well as the people that live within the area.

The Love Thief

Love is in the air, and what better way to celebrate the season of romance than with a cocktail that steals your heart? Enter ‘The Love Thief’. This delightful elixir combines the boldness of gin, the bitterness of Campari, and the citrusy zing of pink grapefruit and fresh lemon juice. This one is guaranteed to leave you and your loved one swooning.

Beetroot and Gin Cured Salmon with butter poached lobster mousse

Beetroot and Gin Cured Salmon
with butter poached lobster mousse

New Year, New and Improved Services!

At Vets4Pets Ayrshire we are always looking for ways to improve our services, as well as add new services that will benefit our patients and clients alike. We know pets are family and appreciate the importance of giving them the best possible care whilst making the experience for our clients as seamless and convenient as it can be.

Kilwinning Community Sports Club and Kilwinning Rangers

Not so very long ago, football teams based in Kilwinning had a problem: finding somewhere to play their home matches. There was a community sports field at Pennyburn Park but facilities there were poor, as it had only a portacabin and four (two 11-a-side, two seven-a-side) rundown pitches to its name.


When Janet Martin took a trip to Oregon for the annual Gorse Blossom Festival, she didn’t expect it to be quite so enlightening.


Knitting was, at one time, a solitary pastime. These days, however, it’s considered a much more sociable activity, particularly if you find yourself at one of the many Knit and Natter community groups held across the country.

Ayrshire welcomes…

Ayrshire welcomes new Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann Branch.

Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann’s (CCE) mission is to bring together an inclusive community of all ages, who learn, share and experience the music and culture of Ireland.


Thirty-five years ago, on 15th February 1989, Ayrshire Hospice opened its doors at 35 Racecourse Road, Ayr. The hospice was established to enhance the quality of life for those living with a life-limiting illness, as well as providing support to those facing the loss of a loved one.

Resolutions? Cannae be bothered!

That’s another year gone, and another notch added to life’s bedpost. Happy New Year folks! I hope you all enjoyed the holiday period as much as I did. I overindulged on the grub as always so I’m back on the health kick this month. I’ve been mainly eating salad for dinner.

Traces of Rabbie Burns

What can we say about Rabbie Burns that’s not already been said? To people in Ayrshire, he’s a local lad made good, but to the world he’s a genius whose words continue to reverberate across the globe more than two hundred years after his death.


I’m no stranger to Croy Shore. That said, it still takes my breath away as I wind my way down the single track road to Electric Brae Gallery on this beautiful, crisp morning.


I’m intrigued by the title of Lauren Collier’s debut album, Uddevalla. It is, I discover, the name of a town in Sweden so I begin by asking Irvine-born Lauren about its significance.

What A Difference A Film Makes

One of the largest questions to come from the current Post Office Scandal is: “Why did it take a TV drama to draw attention to the injustice suffered by the postmasters?” Although it is a fair question from a journalistic perspective, as a creative practitioner, I understand fully the power of drama to engage with larger social issues, resonate with audiences on a deep level and motivate social change. It is something that, at The Iris, I have been fortunate to be a part of.

Dane Love

It’s often said that most people ‘have a book in them’ but Ayrshire author Dane Love has done rather better than that – to date, he’s had 39 books published.

Q&A with Kevin MacGillivary: A Culinary Journey

Kevin MacGillivary is one of Scotland’s most respected and well known chefs. Cooking from the young age of 15, Kevin is passionate about food. He has travelled and competed around the world giving him a wealth of culinary knowledge but he has always remained passionate about Scottish produce.


Whether you’re a devout believer in the power of New Year’s resolutions or not, the chances are you’ll have some changes in mind as you step into a brand new year. At the very least, most of us will be quietly committed to cutting back after a bit of festive overkill on the chocolate, cheese and booze.

Ayrshire & whisky

Ayrshire, the home of Robert Burns and the inspiration for much of his poetry, was at the same time a bustling region for whisky smuggling.

Relationships in the workplace

The statistics speak for themselves. 58% of employees have engaged in an office romance according to job site, More than half of the workplace find love or at least romance at work. Interestingly, Forces (2023) found that 43% of relationships at work have led to marriage, with another 40% having cheated on their current partner with a co-worker. I was surprised to learn these facts!

Developing the Young Workforce

Developing the Young Workforce (DYW) Ayrshire is a government funded initiative aiming to bridge the gap between education and the world of work. DYW Ayrshire is passionate about helping young people find the right path to their future career. The aim is to connect 16–24-year-olds with employers to better prepare them for employment.

Green Home Systems celebrate British Chambers Awards

Ayrshire Chamber of Commerce member, Green Home Systems, celebrated their recent British Chambers Award with a homecoming celebration in their Irvine office attended by dignitaries from North Ayrshire Council and the Ayrshire Chamber.

Finding February’s Flowers

Linda Brown Are you, like me, a galanthophile? If you are, this is just the right time of year to indulge in our shared passion. In case you don’t know what a galanthophile is (which I must confess, I didn’t until very recently), let me explain; a galanthophile is the proper term for a person…


The reaction from our friends and relatives to our announcement that we intended to move to a house with a much larger garden was not universally positive. True, I was the wrong side of sixty-five, I was struggling to make my allotment fully productive, and my back was not wholly reliable, but the allure of a good-sized garden without the time constraints of full-time work was irresistible.

Ayrshire Film and TV locations

There’s no question in my mind that Ayrshire is underused as a filming location. It can muster castles, harbours, hills, lochs, beaches, islands, an airport, historical sites, ruins, monuments; indeed, it has pretty much everything a filmmaker might want, save for a city and, er, a desert.


“Let’s go and find some snow!”

You’d be forgiven for thinking those words were spoken by a young child, giddy with excitement at the prospect of making snowmen or hurtling down a hill on a home-made sledge


In my late teens I bought a moped. We were a family without a car so the exhilaration of driving off that first evening minus map, helmet or plans, was an unforgettable thrill. I drove randomly with no concept of direction or distance. Time meant nothing until I faced a sign indicating that Dumfries was a mere ten miles away. Oops.

SAL Scamp

In the 1960s, Scottish Aviation Limited, an aircraft manufacturer based at Prestwick, set up a New Products Development Department (usually just referred to as ‘The Projects Department’) to explore other manufacturing areas into which SAL might diversify, with the caveat that any such endeavour should ideally make use of the rich and varied skills of its existing workforce.

Buying a car at auction

For most people, buying a car is a major expense, usually second only to the cost of buying or extending a house. That’s reason enough to take care when buying a car but the sad fact that cars can – and sometimes do – turn into money pits makes it all the more important that you make sure you buy well, particularly if the car you’re buying is pre-owned.


Last year, 12-year-old Kyle Davidson travelled to Skegness, Austria, Denmark and Gibraltar, all in the name of darts.

Tom Coughtrie

Tom Coughtrie was born in Dalmellington and educated at Dalmellington High School and Ayr Academy, where his favourite subject was art. His eye for detail and artistic talents led him to study Design at both Carlisle College and Birmingham School of Art, where he was part of a team that won a major competition to design a modern kitchen and appliances of the future. With his share of the prize money, Tom jetted off to North America in 1976, hoping to find work as a designer.

Issue 053

The Passion Edition

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