I hope you like the first photography, it is of a really delightful Ayrshire calf and the angelic child on the other end of the rope is of course your author!
Now my children and grandchildren are living in the house I was born and grew up in, and I sometimes wonder if the magic that I and they to some extent found here as children will ever be seen again. Interestingly, I had another author visit yesterday to talk about the olden days of agriculture, but when he asked how many tractors did I have photographs of from the 1950s, I thought to myself ‘I can’t be bothered going to look it up’. When the sun catches the Mill in a certain way and it rains and the river rises four metres in what would appear to be 20 minutes but of course is slightly longer, my mind does sometimes flash back to the men who built it in 1622. There are many questions – we know their names, William Walker was one of them, but what was he like? what did he wear? and did he ever come round the corner from the main road and think ‘what a beautiful place’? I may be philosophical because one of my treasured photographs is with my childhood companions sitting at the end of the cottage, with Bobby the dog (all dogs were called Bobby, whatever they make, size sex!). This Bobby had had pups and the three of us are sitting, holding the pups. Sadly the first of the three friends, Innes Cain, died a few years ago but the other pair (Daniel and I) is still up and about. I mention the author yesterday because he did send me into the studio to look through the hundreds of photographs which we have collected and some of them that I found brought back really vivid memories.
The first of them shows what I know to be the first aerial photograph taken in the early 1950s, and as you can see on the left hand side behind the main Mill building, the roof of the kiln has been removed to avoid paying rates on it. But apart from the greenhouse behind the byre, and the proliferation of trees, everything else looks almost the same as it does today. And in many ways, you think that it should have stayed like this for ever, but times change, and as the feeding of cattle turned away from the produce of the Mill to silage, it was inevitable that we, the inheritors, would have to find a new use for it. And the conversion into a public building, which would become familiar to thousands of people in almost every corner of the world, began in 1985.
It is of course not quite the same for the family, in just the same way as farming has changed from what you see in the photograph below:
But there are still occasions when the call of a bird, the sound of the waterwheel, or a shaft of sunlight, takes this now rather mature child back to the days of yore. But then there are thousands, well a lot anyway, of people who carry what we created in their hearts.