"I’m Mauchline born and bred but I spent three years when I was younger in Australia with my mum and dad in the 60s.

It took six weeks on the ship to get there and only cost my parents £10. You had to stay there for three years and if you came back home before then, you had the full fare to pay.

My dad was a forklift driver and my uncle was already out there. He worked for the fire service out there and my mum had a part time job. I remember Australia very vividly still.

I remember the grass because it was very jaggy, they called it bindiis. Because of the heat, you couldn’t walk on the grass because it was full of bindiis which are like wee jaggy bits, like walking on nettles.

Irvine Times:

I remember a garage across the road from our house and a tree swing in the garden. I remember a lot of things.

I liked horses and ponies and used to ride them. I did have an Australian accent and was tanned with blonde hair. The accent wasn’t long in disappearing right enough. My mum took pictures for us to keep and posted them home to our grandparents so there’s loads of photos.

I remember when we were coming home, being on Sydney Harbour Bridge with my auntie and uncle and cousin who stayed there, that was our last day out in the big city saying goodbye to them.

I remember the ship way on the home when we crossed the equator, they had an equator party so everyone dressed up and unbeknownst to me at time a guy was dressed up as Neptune, King of the Sea, so he had big pitchfork thing and a big long beard and he absolutely terrified me.

I ran away from my parents and apparently they found me hiding in a trunk on the deck. Still to this day I’m not keen on Neptune.

I was planning to go back for my 60th in December for the first time in 55 years with my husband but I think COVID has put the brakes on that. I was going to go for five weeks. 

We came back when I was five and then I went to Mauchline PS then Auchinleck Academy. Then my mum and dad split up and I moved to Glasgow for a few years then came back to Mauchline when I was 17 and met my husband the first week I came back, even though we were in the same primary class.

We got married a year and a half later and went on to have two children.

At school he asked me to the club dance when I was eight. It was on a Saturday afternoon at two o’clock. He didn’t appear at the door but he only stayed one street away so my mum said to go chap his door.

His mum answered and I said, William is meant to take me to the club dance. She said, 'he’s up at the park playing football. I think he got a dod in the lug!'

When I came back to Mauchline, it was funny, I got a job in Tesco in Kilmarnock, the old one. I was coming home on the bus, I’d only started there that week, and there he was double decker bus upstairs.

He’d just been out the hairdressers getting blonde streaks in his hair and he had an earring which was in fashion at time so I thought he was cool. We were chatting away and I thought he was going to ask me out.

We got all way to Mauchline and we got off at bus stop at the bank and he walked me up the road, then we got to my gate before he actually asked me out at that weekend. Here we are 41 years later.

I had many jobs bringing the kids up. I was at home with them then went part-time. My last job was with Digital Compact-HP in Ayr, I worked in customers services there and then through ill health I had to give it up which was about 15 years ago. Then about five years ago the cake thing started off. My son got married and asked me to do wedding cake and it snowballed.

I’ve always baked and my mum was a baker. There came a point in time when I was doing seven a week which was too much because I have grandchildren to look after. When COVID hit, I used up the ingredients to bake for key workers.

I’ve taken July off and then I plan to get 5,000 cakes for key workers baked by August. It’s kept me sane. I’ve been shielding so today was the first day I went further than five miles away from my home. It felt a bit surreal."