Far From The Island – Episode 11

It’s snowing.” Morag Macleod peered out of the farmhouse window in dismay at the falling white flakes. “I didn’t think it would snow this early in the year. I hope it won’t get too deep.”

Her husband, Donald, put a reassuring arm around her shoulders.

“They’re used to it here in Canada,” he said calmly.

“I’m sure it won’t stop the midwife from coming, if that’s what you’re worried about.”

Morag leaned into the comforting warmth of her husband’s body, rubbing a tired hand over the astonishing mound of her belly.

“He’s restless today,” she said with a tender smile.

“He’s been kicking all morning.”

“How long now, do you reckon?” Donald asked.

“A few days, maybe,” Morag said, trying to keep the worry from her voice.

Babies were a woman’s province. Back on Heronsay, she’d have been able to consult any number of neighbours and family, to say nothing of the howdie, who’d delivered more babies than Morag could count. Here in the province of Ontario, where they knew no-one and their farmhouse was over five miles from the nearest town, she felt completely isolated.

The midwife, a fierce-looking woman of German origin whose heavily accented English Morag, a native Gaelic speaker, struggled to understand, had dismissed all of Morag’s questions with a shrug, and the Macleods’ nearest neighbour was a stern man in his fifties whose only attachment was to the foul pipe he smoked.

“You’ll be fine,” Donald said bracingly. “Your mother had eight bairns, all fine and healthy, and your sisters have had children, too so, there’s no reason for you to fret.”

“No,” Morag replied, wishing desperately that one of her sisters could be here, just to hold her hand.

“And I’ll hold your hand, if you need me to,” Donald said, as if he’d read her mind.

She knew it was a joke, for what use was a man when it came to birthing, but Morag kissed him all the same.

“Thank you.”

“A few more weeks and it will be a new century,” Donald said, frowning out at the snow, which was falling more heavily now. “A new century, a new country, a new family. I still can’t quite believe we’re here.”

“That reminds me. That letter you collected this morning was from Fiona. She seems to be settling into her new life, too. I miss her.”

“Did she mention Euan?”

Morag shook her head.

“I don’t suppose he mentioned her, either, in his letter?”

Donald laughed.

“He was too full of schemes for fighting the land reforms the new laird seems set on. That factor of his is a tough man.”

“So we did the right thing, leaving Scotland?”

“We’ve a farm many times the size of the croft, and no-one to answer to but ourselves,” Donald said firmly.

“Of course we did the right thing,” Morag said. Much as she loved Donald, she found it hard to share his optimism, but if she said it often enough, maybe she’d start to believe it. “Aye, of course we did. Things are going to be just fine.”


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