9 Oct. 1918
Up by 4:30 and down to Ayr and Alloway. It rained with jolly persistence all day. The first hour of the day in the railway coach, munitions workers getting in at one station and out at the next. A little kiddie of about seventeen informed me she was working on cartridges and making 2.90 pounds per week. She hadn’t the faintest idea what she would do after the war. Perhaps things would be as they had been before the war. There is no after the war for these busy war money makers. It is unthinkable, too far removed from life as they know it. There is no past or future only the war yet everyone wishes intensely it was over for dear ones sake. In Ayr in a hotel after an hours wait we got breakfast. A pleasant one of ham and eggs, toast, oat cake and a scraping of jam.
A street car ride to Alloway two miles away to the Shrine of Scotchmen, the birth place of Burns. This trip was a great success. It is a delightful country of small prosperous villages; pleasant farms and beautiful rivers flowing between high banks heavily wooded. The only rough land is the moors and the sea coast. I had always fancied Burns living in Highland country but this is some miles away. The Trassocks, the home of Sir Walter Scott. We visited the Doon River, crossed the old ‘Brig’ over which Tam o’ Shanter was pursued by witches on his return on the Old Mans back from their evening in the tavern.
On the hill above the Doon is a very fine monument and gardens in memory of Burns. All pilgrims must pay 3d. to enter and within he must pay lavishly for souvenirs for they are very fine. Later we visited his birthplace, a white thatched cottage beside the road. In the house near was a museum of things connected with the poet and again we bought pictures. These I have packed and sent home.
We walked back to Ayr, caught the train for Glasgow and arrived at our YMCA at 1:40. At 2pm I was at the Theatre Royal seeing Madam Butterfly by Sir Thomas Beecham’s opera company. A very pretty, very sad story and the music was wonderful even to my uncultured, dull and boorish ears. A girl and her father treated me to chocolates, lending me their opera glasses and explaining the story. They seemed highly educated and very gentle folk indeed. They left before the agonies of the closing scenes.
Andy showed up after six, blinded after an eye examination and as cross as a bear. In great haste we had supper, a shave and met our ancient friend Miss McIntyre on the corner and in a teaming rain got to the theatre and into the Family circle. She knew many of the dignitaries about, professors, leading medical and musical men. Told little stories, gay and sad of various people in view. The opera followed. It was more complex than the one in the afternoon, chorusers crowded the stage with great floods of music and play of colour, comedians lightened the tragedy and held up its continuous progress.
We saw Miss McI. home and returned to the YMCA, had a late lunch and into bed with plans made for Loch Lomond in the morning. Rather a full day!