The October wind whistles. Mercilessly pursuing nooks and crannies within our sash windows. Fortunately our merchant delivered a healthy stock of coal this morning. Directly transported from Lanarkshire’s coalfields. Aptly named the “Black Country”of Scotland and is Glasgow’s source of heat to fend off the winter approaching.
Our cousins from the Spey Valley are visiting. The children sit close to the stacked hearth of glowing coal. The highland lass captivates them with Whistle-binkie: Stories for the Fireside. William Miller’s collection of nursery rhymes warm the room further with ‘The Sleepie Laddie’, ‘A Wonderful Wean’ and ‘John Frost’. I know she is saving the best till last. The one about a wee man running through the toon.
William is a brilliant poet. However life is harsh in Glasgow. He would have had surgeon hands if illness at 16 hadn’t halted his ambitions. He trained in wood-turning and cabinet making and still works in Ark Lane in Dennistoun. I visited him last week and placed an order. His eye for detail is still relentless for a man of 60 years.
The children are kissed goodnight. The gentlemen are left with the orange glow flickering. My cousin Robert pours two whiskies. Balvenie of Dufftown is a marvellous way to end this day. His first question, “When is Queens’ next match?”.