Saturday, August 28, 2010

A. J. Cronin - New Biography

Wonderful News! This first full biography comes out this October by the author, Alan Davies, entitled, 'A. J. Cronin, the Man who created Dr Finlay'; definitely not to be missed by anyone who loves Cronin's works.


'A. J. Cronin, author of some of the best-loved novels of the mid-twentieth century and the creator of Dr Finlay, has been unjustly overlooked by literary biographers. In this, the first full-length life of this eminent but often neglected writer, Alan Davies recounts the story of Cronin's Scottish childhood as the son of a Protestant mother and Catholic father, his subsequent medical career, and ultimately his rise to literary prominence, emphasizing throughout the importance of holding at arm's length many of the apocryphal tales that have accumulated around the memory of the author of "Hatter's Castle", "The Citadel" and "The Stars Look Down", many of which are based on mistaken autobiographical readings of Cronin's fiction itself. Incorporating an account of Cronin's tempestuous relationship with his publisher, Victor Gollancz, and revelations about his private life, Davies' timely and moving book paints a clearer portrait of both Cronin the writer and Cronin the man than the world has hitherto seen.

About the Author:

Born in Pontnewydd in South Wales, Alan Davies read Anthropology at University College London. After a career in industry, he turned to writing and the study of the life and works of A J Cronin, one of his lifelong passions. He has two children and lives in Shropshire with his wife.'

Some places on line where you can buy this book (needless to say, I have already pre-ordered my own copy!) For those ordering from a local store, the ISBN number is 9781846881121

House Sale Update

After three and a half months of marketing, no one has bought our home in South Wales - in fact, no one has even been to view it! It looks more and more as though we won't be moving to the Firth of Clyde in the near future. Very disappointing :-(


Friday, May 14, 2010

House Price Increase

Our house went on the market yesterday! If it sells then we should be able to move to Scotland before too long. However, the latest news about property prices rising so high (and so fast) is very worrying and will make things difficult for us:

"INVERCLYDE Has Biggest House Price Rise
(04 May 2010)

AVERAGE property prices in Inverclyde in the first three months of 2010 increased by more than anywhere else in Scotland.Figures from the Government’s Registers of Scotland show that house prices in Inverclyde between January and March rose by 27.7 per cent compared with the same period in 2009.

The average price of a property went up almost £30,000 from £102,493 to £130,856.This was the highest increase in Scotland. Argyll and Bute had the next highest increase – 18.8 per cent. The average Scottish rise was 5.4 per cent and the Scottish average house price was £147,854.

Inverclyde had a 0.8 per cent house price increase between the final quarter of 2009 and the first quarter of 2010, compared with a fall in the Scottish average price of five per cent."

(Source: 'Inverclyde News')

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Greenock Cut - Heritage Walk

I was delighted today to see my photo (above) of Shielhill Farm and the Greenock Cut in May's edition of the magazine, 'Scottish Memories', thanks to the historian, Nate Pedersen. It appears in his article 'A Walk Through Time' as one of his recommended ten heritage walks.

Information about the magazine can be found here

The photo appeared originally in my first blog 'The Greenock Cut', (there is some information about its history too) and there are many more of my photos in 'Greenock Cut 2'.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Largs in the 1930s

A few interesting postcards - not my own photos as I'm not that old!

The Viking Cinema in Gogoside Road, sadly demolished in 1983

Sunday, February 28, 2010


Not far from Strone (see my last blog) on the banks of Loch Long, 14 miles from Dunoon. A little further from the Firth of Clyde but is part of the general area and group of places I've written about here recently. What a nice day we had for this drive from Dunoon, around the lovely Holy Loch, to Kilmun, Strone, Ardentinny - and then through the impressive Glen Finart to Loch Eck!

The shoreline at Ardentinny, very picturesque and tranquil

Below, looking across the waters of the loch to Coulport and, since the 1960s, the Royal Naval Armaments Depot, part of HMNB Clyde.

I'm running out of my own photos to use for this blog but hopefully it won't be long until I'm back to take lots more! In the meantime I'll be uploading some old postcards of the area fairly soon.

Saturday, February 13, 2010


We had a lovely sunny day for a drive around to Strone and beyond. All my photos were taken on the pier, sadly derelict now for many years, although it was once a regular stop for Clyde steamers. Strone is very close to Kilmun (see my previous blog) and is where the north shore of the Holy Loch becomes the west shore of the Firth of Clyde.

Above, an old photo of Strone on a postcard, from around the early 1900s

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Kilmun and David Napier

A few photos taken at Graham's Point, Kilmun, on the shore of the Holy Loch, where it meets the Firth of Clyde. It was once a popular watering place for Glasgow merchants after a quay was built by David Napier (1790-1869), the famous engineer who is thought to have been one of the best builders of marine engines in Scotland.

It's a great spot to stop and admire the wonderful views!

The children's play park at Graham's Point and a poem about David Napier

(Click on photo to enlarge)

You can read an interesting account of his work, and the development of steam powered ships, written by his grandson, here

There is also an interesting piece about him on this page and I quote a sentence from it below:

"Robert Napier of Shandon, who succeeded to his business when he went to London, enjoys most of the credit today, but David Napier was the actual pioneer of the modern shipbuilding industry of the Clyde"

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Isle of Bute: Ferries

Two Caledonian MacBrayne ferries operate between the mainland and the island, one from Wemyss Bay in Inverclyde and the other from Colintraive on the Cowal Peninsula to Rhubodach in the north of the island.

My photo below shows the MV Loch Dunvegan at Colintraive getting ready for the five minute crossing over the narrowest part of the Kyles of Bute

Below, the ferry, MV Bute, coming into Rothesay from Weymss Bay.

Alas, this completes my collection of Bute photos until I can visit again
(hopefully sometime this year)!

The Caledonian MacBrayne website is found here

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Isle of Bute: Rothesay Harbour

Some of my photos taken around the harbour and pier

A short video from the pier (with a bit of unavoidable wind noise!)

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Isle of Bute: Rothesay Esplanade

A few of my photos taken on the Esplanade (there's a bit of overlap between this and my next blog of the harbour area)