Armadale, West Lothian

Butlins Ayr Trilogy - It's the final season!

Itโ€™s the end of an era; as Frank, returns to his Hi-De-Hi days, remembering a much-loved holiday camp that once brought pleasure to thousands of holiday makers and changed his teenage life.

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A Redcoat a National Treasure and a Butlins Legend

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The joys of a first novel

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"Doon The Watter" Pt 1

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Remember those

Hi-De-Hi days

โ€œ๐—ช๐—ผ๐—ฟ๐—ธ๐—ถ๐—ป๐—ด ๐—ฎ๐˜ ๐—•๐˜‚๐˜๐—น๐—ถ๐—ป๐˜€ ๐˜๐—ผ๐—ผ๐—ธ ๐—ผ๐—ป ๐—ฎ ๐˜„๐—ต๐—ผ๐—น๐—ฒ ๐—ป๐—ฒ๐˜„ ๐—บ๐—ฒ๐—ฎ๐—ป๐—ถ๐—ป๐—ด. ๐—ฆ๐˜‚๐—ฑ๐—ฑ๐—ฒ๐—ป๐—น๐˜† ๐—•๐˜‚๐˜๐—น๐—ถ๐—ป๐˜€ ๐—ฏ๐—ฒ๐—ฐ๐—ฎ๐—บ๐—ฒ ๐˜๐—ต๐—ฒ ๐—ฏ๐—ฒ๐˜€๐˜ ๐—ฝ๐—น๐—ฎ๐—ฐ๐—ฒ ๐—ถ๐—ป ๐˜๐—ต๐—ฒ ๐˜„๐—ผ๐—ฟ๐—น๐—ฑ.โ€

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DSCF0249 2Originally Pubished 2015: Everyone will no doubt have moments in their life where they feel nothing but immense pride. Last year was when I walked on to the stage of the Usher Hall in Edinburgh to officially confirm my Batchelor of Arts degree and a few months later, I was back in my coveted โ€œRedcoat Uniformโ€ during last yearโ€™s Butlins Reunion at Scarborough.

Working as a Butlins Redcoat around 30 years ago was a special moment in my life that not only transformed me as a person and also changed my life. And you could say that those two moments have come together resulting in an exciting new chapter that I would never have thought possible a few years ago. (That last part was a bit of clue)

On Saturday I was chuffed to bits when my first novel, โ€œWhat Time Does Midnight Cabaret Startโ€ was officially published. It is a work of fiction, but it does draw on my past experiences of working at Butlins in Ayr as a Redcoat during the early 80โ€™s. For those who knew me whilst growing up in Greenock, will know that Fiction Writing and me was a combination that just did not work. Much like a black forest gateaux with double cream can be washed down with a Diet Coke. When I was a school, I used to put my school teachers on overtime with my response to the literary classics.

I regarded Shakespeare as the best cure for insomnia on the planet. In fact studying for my English Higher exam, I had to study Hamlet. It was the best sleep I had in ages. If I read classics like the โ€œOld Man and the Sea,โ€ or โ€œThe Pied Piper,โ€™ I very rarely got past Chapter Three without starting to think that watching and episode of โ€œCrossroadsโ€ was a more attractive option. Nothing against stories which as regarded by those in the know as classic novels, but back in those days, I was a literary philistine. Itโ€™s amazing how things can change.

I think working 15 years as a freelance journalist would have had some effect. Especially as it was my job to appreciate how information was collected and that sentences were assembled in a logical order. But I thought that when it came to writing that was as far as I could go. That is until just over two years ago, I ventured into โ€œCreative Writingโ€ as part of my degree course. Appreciating styles of writing, ie biographies, fiction, non-fiction and even poetry? Maybe that was pushing things a bit far.

But thanks to encouragement from a fab tutor, barriers were broken down. And after I produced some writing and I include poetry in that, I experienced the joy of creating something new out of my head and even other people enjoyed. That was it, I was hooked. One of the first things I was taught on that course was that when you are writing something for the first time, it is a good idea to write about stuff that you know. So almost two years after that course, I am no proud to say that my first book is out there and have been really pleased that people are liking it.

Now if you regular readers of this blog, I know what you are going to say next. โ€œThat is not your first book.โ€ This is true, but the first one was a co-production, focussing more on the journalistic side and the other was a freebie e book. They donโ€™t count.

This is my first novel, whether you read the Kindle or the paperback version, I hope you enjoy it.

What Time Does Midnight Cabaret Start: By Frank McGroarty, is available now. To purchase either a Kindle download or a paperback copy, then click here.