Childhoods in Ardentinny
Growing up in Ardentinny
I was born in Loch side in 1941, which was then known as number 14 Holding. I remember that we had a variety of animals including hens, geese, sheep, dogs and even horses (Jean and Barney). We grew our own vegetables and even hay for the animals in our two and a half acres. We had a pond in the hen run and after one hen hatched out three goose eggs, she was astonished to see the goslings head for the pond! She just stood looking at them and couldn’t understand what was happening! As well as all these animals, we had a family from Greenock ( the Dowd family) who moved in with us as evacuees during the war. The house only had two bedrooms so it was quite a squash but a happy time nevertherless.
A few years later I remember Dad going out at 6am to feed the horse in the stable ( before he went to work in the forestry) and heard voices coming from inside….not the horse surely?! On opening the stable door, he found all these soldiers sheltering from the weather while out on an exercise ! On another occasion, he found a man asleep in one of the haystacks in the field….a relation who had arrived after the family had gone to bed and was reluctant to wake us up.
The horse was used for dragging out timber in the forestry. I worked with them too from age 15 and on one occasion when I was bringing Jean , the horse, back from her being shoed at the old steading near the big house, I decided to jump on at the cuddy gates after climbing up on the white fence and ride her home. What a mistake! She had no saddle….just a halter…and she headed at full speed along the road. The more I shouted “Whoa”…the faster she went ! Eventually, before arriving at the Laird’s grave , I decided on the only course of action….I JUMPED OFF! Then I had to run alongside her until she finally gave up and stopped!
One of the many joys of living in Ardentiiny during childhood, was the way we all helped on George Richardsons farm, who worked the farm and the hotel along with his two sisters, Jean and Kirsty. We even got to drink warm milk straight from the cows! It was also good fun to help lifting his potatoes in baskets as he ploughed them up with Smokey his horse and plough. His sisters used to reward us with tea and scones in our tea break. George owned all the field which is now full of houses and known as Ardenfield . He paid us a penny a bucket to lift the stones after he had ploughed it and harrowed it
Never a dull moment in childhood……and not a mobile phone in existence!