A Sense Of Belonging – Episode 19

Euan stared at the bundle asleep in Caitlin’s arms, the pink face topped by a shock of red hair, thinking it was unbelievable that only a few days ago he and Colleen had been looking forward to his arrival. Their son, their Christmas miracle.

“He’s a healthy laddie,” Caitlin said, following Euan’s gaze. She pulled the shawl that Colleen had knitted for Douglas down a fraction to reveal his tiny hands which were clasped together as if in prayer. “You’ll find someone tae take him.”

There was a lump in Euan’s throat as he reached forward and stroked the baby’s head.

“I’ll be over to see him tomorrow,” he whispered.

Shortly afterwards, as he and the girls trudged across the icy, slushy street, Jean lifted her face to him and asked, “Will we be having our dinner when we get home, Paw?”

“Did yer auntie Caitlin no’ give you anything tae eat?”

“No,” Jean answered with sad eyes. “She said she had enough to deal wi’ feeding Douglas.”

Euan grimaced. There had been so much to do over the last few days, his mind had been distracted from domestic issues. Fortunately, some of his neighbours had taken pity on him and taken away the sheets from his and Colleen’s bed and replaced them with clean ones. Olive Bain had also been in and out with hough soup and bread and a smiddy dumpling, and he’d been more than thankful when she offered to take Jean and Nell into her own house and bath and dress them before the funeral.

It was Christmas Eve today, though, he suddenly realised. Everyone would be busy with their own preparations. And he felt shamefaced for not having bought any food.

“I wish Maw was still alive,” Nell declared.

“We all do,” Euan heard himself reply.

Just at that, Bob Smart stepped out of their close. He was holding a large wicker basket.

“Hullo, Euan,” he said. “Elsa sent me round with this for you. It’s no’ much, mind, just bits and pieces to get you through the morn, and there’s something for the girls in there, too. She knew you’d not have had time . . .” His words broke off uncomfortably as he stepped forward to hand the basket to Euan. “Well, anyway, Merry Christmas.”

A completely overwhelmed Euan stood silent for a few moments, staring at the generous contents of the basket. It was far from being just bits and pieces. It was a godsend and his heart swelled with gratitude.

“Thank you, Bob. Tell Elsa I said thank you, too,” was all he managed to say.

Much later that evening, long after the girls had gone to bed, there was a knock at the door. When Euan opened it he didn’t recognise the woman standing before him.

“Mr McIntosh?”


“I’m Marigold Pettigrew. Nora Macpherson, the midwife, told me about your wife.”

Euan stared dumbly.

“I’d like to talk to you,” the woman said earnestly.


December 23, 2012

YOU well and truly deserve that prize,” Avril declared as she and Spike stood watching Susanne read the letter that had arrived just moments earlier confirming that she’d won the Travel World employee of the month competition.

“Four thousand dollars to spend on air tickets,” Susanne said, her eyes wide with delight.

“Got any idea how you’ll spend it?” Spike asked.

“Yes,” Susanne replied. “Actually, I do.”


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