We moved back up to Suni Duni (Dunblane) in September 1997, after 5 years in a tenement in Cowane Street, Stirling. It was just Elaine, myself and Sean, who was 3 months old.
My folks in Murdoch Terrace were delighted, they loved Sean and fought over who should hold him when we popped round. Sean had been 11 nights in Stirling Royal infirmary in August , giving us a hell of a scare. A wee skelf of a boy in a cot with tubes everywhere: it would break your heart. It was only after he recovered that they told us : it was whooping cough he had survived.
Braemar Avenue for us was a revelation, no people below us complaining about noise, two toilets and our own garden! When I took the dog up the park I could see the stars it was so dark. And so quiet at night,so quiet we couldn’t sleep at first!
Our first venture into the garden was memorable. We decided the silver birch tree should go, got the saw out and it was going fine until it started falling the wrong way. Frantic pulling on the support rope(actually a hosepipe) proved futile and it crashed through the fence into the neighbours garden below. Shite! We all peered down as they all looked up at us aghast. ” Eh, hallo.. we’re.. like..your new neighbours…errr…we’ll pay for the fence”. Its funny 22 years later anyway.
To celebrate Sean’s good health we had a half birthday party on St Andrew’s day and the entire Dumbarton clan came though. We announced Elaine was expecting (gasps… whispers “so soon?”) and her papa said it was the best day ever. I made a wee speech to say Elaine had worked wonders by looking after Sean in the hospital. Eleven sleepless nights. I always remember dad saying ‘hear hear’ at that comment : him and Elaine got on great.
We lost dad the next May, the dreaded phone call too early in the morning to be anything else. The day before, Elaine had gone round with Sean and on a sunny May morning they sat on the front doorstep playing.
Dad had a great dry sense of humour. One time Elaine took Sean round and my mate popped in. He put a hand in to Sean’s pram and with that primal instinct Sean held onto his finger. “He’s got a good grip, he’ll play for Rangers one day”. Well dad wasnt gonnae miss this chance – ” no’ wi a name like that he’ll no’ “. Glasgow humour. Gorbals humour.
Amy was born at home less than three weeks later, in Braemar Avenue. A home birth which went great, Elaine and the midwife together in the downstairs bedroom. I was sent to phone for assistance but I’d no sooner dialed than they she shouted too late, it’s on it’s way. A few minutes later we had a daughter, a wee girl ! I put pink balloons on the lamppost to let the neighbours know : a precursor to Facebook.
Granny was round in a shot, delighted. She’d been looking after Sean. “A boy and now a wee girl : a gentleman’s family” she said. I liked the sound of that. We were a gentleman’s family.
So, life went on. Amy was just what granny needed I reckon and from then on granny was a regular in Braemar Avenue.
Finally, I want to tell you a fact, an indisputable fact (leans over, whispers): My dad would be so proud of both Sean and Amy today.