Copyright on this story text belongs at all times to the original author only, whether stated explicitly in the text or not. The original date of posting to the MMSA was: 30 May 2012
When you are browsing in a second-hand bookshop you do not expect to come upon a personal diary with the opening lines, in a neat copperplate hand, “I have decided to write down exactly what happened on that most painful, humiliating and ultimately life-changing day last June.”
They were in a leather bound volume nestling among a collection of books in a box on the floor which must have just come in, and which the shopowner had not yet had time to look through. It had obviously been included by accident, because the unknown writer could not possibly have intended his words to be read by anybody other than himself.
The bookshop was in the Grassmarket, with Edinburgh Castle towering above to the north, and I was whiling away an hour at my favourite pastime – browsing among other people's discarded books and hoping for a moment of serendipity, a happy discovery.
“This could be good,” I thought. Intrigued, and not a little titillated, I bought the book for a pittance, the bookseller giving its cover no more than a cursory glance.
The events recounted in the diary had clearly taken place years before, at a time when the tawse, a thick leather strap, was still in frequent and regular use in Scottish schools, and magistrates could order up to 36 strokes of the birch or tawse on the bared buttocks of juvenile delinquents up to the age of 16. In a museum in Glasgow you can still see a bench which was used for strapping boys down so that they could not move while their bottoms were being birched. Nothing excessive, you understand – a doctor had to be present to decide if the miscreant was fit for punishment, and how much more his bottom could take before there was lasting injury. The traumatic effect on its owner was not considered important....
I now reproduce the diary as it was written, after those tantalising opening lines. You will understand that from now on it is the diarist speaking, not myself.
I was sixteen and in training for our annual school run in Holyrood Park, from Duddingston Loch to the peak of Arthur's Seat, 800 feet up. I lived in an outlying suburb to the south west of the city, nestling under the Pentland Hills, and I had decided to go for a training run. Soon the tarmac had ended and I was on an unmade road which made its way straight upwards until it petered out to a farmtrack. Sheep were dotted around on the hills above. Human habitation was running out too. There were just a few big gaunt houses in their own extensive grounds, probably built by prosperous Edinburgh burghers late in the nineteenth century to boost their pomp and get away from Auld Reekie.
It was a fresh day of sun and cloud, typical Edinburgh weather, in fact, and cold even though we were into June. I was halfway up this track and well winded when dark clouds came sweeping over from behind the hills, and in no time at all it had started to rain, heavily. There was even some hail. My white singlet and running shorts quickly became saturated, clinging to my body, and it was cold.
On my left was a granite wall about five feet high which seemed to offer a degree of shelter, especially as there were trees behind it. I knew it was private property, but there was unlikely to be anyone out in such weather, so I vaulted over the wall and looked for the driest place I could find.
Making my way warily among the trees, which by now were dripping steadily, I came to a large moss-covered shed. There was a padlock on the door but it had a key in it, so I undid it and let myself in. It had a pleasant woody smell and was full of gardening tools, machinery and also, surprisingly, a racing bike that looked brand new.
I had that edgy feeling that goes with an act of trespassing, but in that weather the likelihood of being found and challenged was slight, and I intended no harm. That did not stop me from jumping almost out of my skin when I heard a single loud bark, clearly from a large dog and close at hand. I leapt to the door and pulled it shut. Through a rain-bleared window I could see two very large dogs, looking straight at me. They looked like huge, shaggy greyhounds, and they were taller than my waist.
I did not know much about dogs and I had certainly never seen anything like them before. I was not to know that these enormous dogs, Scottish Deerhounds, are actually gentle, affectionate creatures, which rarely bark and are not much good as guard dogs. I was terrified.
It was still raining heavily, and how long we would have remained like that I don't know, because apart from an occasional bark they were not moving, and I had no intention of opening the door to find out their intentions.
The impasse was broken when a boy came through the trees towards us, which did nothing to make me feel any better. He looked to be about fourteen. He called the dogs and they went to him immediately, tails wagging. He came to the door and pulled it open, the dogs at his heels.
“What the fuck are you doing here?”
“I... I was just sheltering from the rain,” I faltered.
“Oh aye? And what else were you going to do?”
“Nothing – honestly. I was only waiting for the rain to stop.”
“Well this is private land, and you're trespassing. Come on out!”
“Are those dogs safe?”
“Depends on you. They'll chew your balls off if I tell them to, so you'd better not try anything.”
Legs trembling, partly from cold, partly from fear, I emerged from the shed, thinking I could now be on my way having had a lucky escape, when there was a shout from a female voice.
“Bruce! Where are you? What are you doing out in this? Are you mad?”
“I'm here, Nan. It's all right. I'm with the dogs. I just found someone in the front shed. A lad.”
“What? Bring him here.”
I was not going to risk making a run for it with those dogs there, so I followed him through the trees until we came to a gravelled drive in front of a large Victorian mansion. Standing at the top of half a dozen steps leading to its front door was a small elderly woman, glaring down at us.
“Right!” she said, having decided that my pathetic figure posed no threat, “You can come in and explain yourself. Bruce, take those dogs round to the stables and give them a rub down. I'm not having them in here like that.” Then she turned her gaze back to me. “You! Inside!”
I squelched my way up the steps and followed her into an outer porch and then through heavy oak doors into a dark, gloomy hall. My running shoes were waterlogged.
She turned round and surveyed me. “You're not coming in here soaking wet and messing up the floor. Take your shoes off.”
I did so, relieved to be out of them but feeling the tiled floor cold on my feet. She had gone into a room nearby, evidently a cloakroom, because she came out holding a small towel.
“And the rest of your things too. You can dry yourself with this. Come on, hurry up, I haven't time to wait around while you're feeling shy.”
Feeling totally ashamed, but in no position to argue, I stripped off my singlet and stepped out of my shorts, which had an inner brief attached. It was horrible, feeling just like a naked little boy again under the eyes of a stranger, but I had little choice. I rubbed myself vigorously, trying to give an appearance of unconcern which I certainly did not feel, and very conscious of my penis as she stood watching me. It had started shrivelled almost to nothingness but now, to my alarm, it was starting to lengthen. The towel was too small to offer any concealment and it was soon wet anyway.
She gathered up my clothes and shoes. “These'll need drying. Wait here.” And she disappeared through a door at the far end of the hall which evidently led to some kitchens and warmth. While I was waiting for her the boy Bruce returned from the stables with the dogs. He was almost as wet as I had been.
He grinned at the sight of me, which was totally embarrassing. I didn't know which way to turn, literally – whether to present him with a front or rear view. To cover my genitals with my hands would only make me look more ridiculous. In the end I made a rush for the cloakroom and shut myself inside, stifling back tears at the humiliation I was suffering.
I waited tremulously, my ear to the door. I wouldn't have minded using the lavvy but I was in enough trouble already without being caught in mid-squat, so I just waited. I had never felt so exposed or helpless.
After a minute I heard voices, raised voices. Bruce (I assumed) was evidently protesting about something. Then the door was flung open and she ordered me out, and I saw that Bruce had been getting the wet clothes treatment as well and was as naked as I was. His shorts, underpants and T-shirt lay on the floor. In other circumstances I would have enjoyed the sight of him, because he had almost the perfect physique for a young teenager who was beginning to fill out after the skinniness of boyhood. Though I guess he was fourteen he was almost as tall as I was, and certainly more robustly built. Despite my predicament, I felt a tingling in my cock at the sight.
She told us to follow her upstairs, up a wide stairway with elaborately carved wooden balusters, and it was a relief to feel a carpet under my frozen feet. The dogs, to my relief, were left downstairs. I was behind Bruce, and I was startled to see, across his buttocks, the faint faded marks of a beating. Boys' bottoms were rarely safe in those days, but I was more concerned about the instant rush of blood to my penis when I saw it. Fortunately I was too frightened about my own situation for it to develop into a full-blown erection.
She led the way into a large drawing room with a tall oriel window looking out on to a well-tended garden, with the Pentland Hills in the background. Incredibly, after the gloom of the hallway, it was warm, and lit by brilliant sunshine. The rainstorm had come and gone, replaced by fleecy white clouds racing past.
“Go and put some clothes on, Bruce, while I decide what is to be done with this creature. And bring something to cover his nakedness while his things are drying.”
“Are you going to skelp him, Nan?”
“Never you mind. Just do as you're told.” He went.
Although it was June there was a fire burning beneath an ornate mantelpiece, which was surmounted by a huge mirror in a gilt frame. She told me to stand in front of it to warm up, which I was grateful for, and it wasn't long before my cock and balls had responded and become soft and pendant.
She went over to a large leather-topped desk on the other side of the room and demanded to know who I was and where I lived. For a millisecond I thought of giving her a fictitious address, but I have never been a convincing liar, and with sinking heart I watched her writing down my full details, including my date of birth. Then she took up a telephone and dialled a number.
“Can I speak to Sir William, please?” There was a pause, then, “Ah, Willy, I need your advice. I've got a problem...” She glanced at me and jerked her head towards the door. “Wait outside.”
During the next few anxious minutes all I could hear was an occasional muffled comment or question from this small but formidable woman. She was still on the phone when Bruce turned up, now dressed, with the two deerhounds. One of them sniffed my genitals, which was quite terrifying, but fortunately it did not seem to be interested in them.
With a smirk Bruce handed me a woollen sweater. “Put this on. It'll only keep your top half warm but you'll doubtless be getting your bottom warmed soon enough!”
He opened the door and went in, with the dogs. The sweater was on the small side, barely reaching my waist, which somehow made me feel more naked than ever, but it was better than nothing.
Then the door opened again and Bruce beckoned me in.
“That was my brother, Sir William Buchanan,” she said. “He was a bailie for many years and he is still a Sheriff Substitute in the Juvenile Courts. He told me that since you are still technically a juvenile you are liable to be tried and sentenced for trespass, breaking and entering, and that would surely mean at least a dozen strokes of the birch, possibly more.”
At these words my legs practically gave way from under me.
“However,” she went on, “he suggests that if you want to avoid this, and the public shame and expense that would result, you can have a choice. Either I report you and let the law take its course, or you take a dozen with this, here and now, instead.”
She opened a drawer of the desk and took out something I recognised all too well. It was a tawse, a thick black strip of leather ending in two tails with which every Scottish schoolboy is familiar. I had only had it once at my school, George Heriot's, when I was ten – two on each hand from a burly master who did not hold back, and it was something I took care never to earn again. It left your hands stinging and tingling for well over an hour, making it agony if you had to do some writing.
“On the hands?”
“No. Your hands could not take it. On your bottom, the same as in the court. Well?”
It was Hobson's choice. There was no way I was going to volunteer for a public trial and bring everlasting shame on my family. I glanced at Bruce, whose hand was already moving around in the pocket of his shorts.
“Not with him here?”
“Certainly with him here. It will do him good to see what he'll get himself if he carries on the way he has lately.” The grin promptly disappeared from Bruce's face, and he had the grace to look chastened.
I went through several stages of agony before I said, “All right. If I have to. When?”
“Right now. You're dressed for it.” She slapped the leather lightly against her hand. It looked like a genuine Lochgelly tawse, mercifully not the heavyweight version, but bad enough.
She told me to stand in the middle of the room with my hands clasped behind my head and my legs slightly apart. In a far corner I could see the two dogs curled up on a sofa, uninterested and already asleep.
She went behind me and before I had time to anticipate it she gave me a single stroke across the middle of my bottom, Bruce standing behind to watch its effect. I was not prepared for the sound it made, an incredibly loud, sharp crack! It stung. A lot. In the mirror above the fireplace, and with the aid of a circular convex mirror in front of me, I could see an instant broad red strip appear across my buttocks. But apart from my feet shifting a little on the carpet I made no movement, resolutely keeping my hands on my head and thinking “maybe this is not going to be too bad – just so long as my prick stays under control.” For the time being it was behaving itself.
While I was waiting for the second stroke I heard her say “Bruce! You can take your hand out of your pocket or you'll be getting this next..... aaaagh....” She gave a cry of real distress.
I swivelled round and saw that she had dropped the tawse and sunk down on to a sofa by the fire, a hand clutching her heart, her face grey with pain.
“Oh my God! It's the angina.”
“Are you all right, Nan?”
“I... I think so. Yes, yes, I'll be all right, but I can not go on. I just need to sit for a while. Get me some water.”
Bruce hurried off, while I was left to digest the absurdity of the situation, bending half naked over this elderly woman whom I had only just met, a stripe across my bottom and waiting for more. Her face drawn, she looked up at me, and a sort of grin passed across her face. “Maybe you'll get off without your skelping, laddie, though you deserve it right enough.” A hand feebly slapped across my penis, and when it predictably swelled to the touch she smiled again. “You're as bad as Bruce!”
Five minutes later, after a drink of water and a pill from a box on the mantelpiece, she looked a lot better, but she insisted she could not risk resuming my punishment.
Bruce butted in. “I could do it for you, Nan. Could I? Please! I'd like it fine and I'd do it well.”
Did I want to be tawsed by a boy younger than myself? No, I did not. But I had no choice. She agreed. He took the tawse with relish, and after a few practice swings he brought it smartly across my bottom, doing it a whole lot harder than she had done. After four more strokes, getting more vigorous each time and all on top of each other across the middle of my bottom, and with the tails of the tawse whipping round and catching me on the hip, I could stand it no longer. Casting dignity to the wind, I went hopping around the room, frantically scrabbling at my blazing buttocks, oblivious to any undignified flapping at the front. It must have made an entertaining spectacle.
“Maybe that'll teach you not to go breaking into other people's property,” she said.
“I didn't,” I said through gritted teeth. “The shed wasn't locked.”
“It was,” came from Bruce, for the first time a note of alarm in his voice. “It was padlocked. He must have picked the lock.”
“That's not true,” I said. “I wouldn't know how to, and anyway the key was in the lock.”
“He's lying. I swear it.”
“Are you sure, Bruce? Or is it you that's lying?”
“No, Nan – honest!” There was now a note of desperation in his voice.
At that moment there was a tap on the door. I could not believe that she would invite anybody else in to witness my ignominy but she did, and in response to her call a young man entered. He looked to be not much older than myself and he was dressed in working clothes down to his stockinged feet, because he had removed his shoes. He was also strikingly good-looking, with a delicately pointed chin and floppy black hair falling across his forehead.
As soon as he saw the scene inside he made to turn and go out again with an apology, but she called to him, “No, Rob, come in. What is it you want?”
Looking thoroughly flustered, and doing his best not to look at me and the tawse, he said, “I'm sorry to interrupt, m'leddy, but I thought you would want to know I found this key in the padlock of the front shed. I don't think anything's been touched inside. Will I put it along with the others in the kitchen?”
Predictably, this resulted in an inquest. It soon became clear that I had not broken into the shed, that the key had been carelessly left there earlier by Bruce, and that an expensive racing bike had therefore been put at risk. He tried to pretend that he had taken the key out with him when he came to investigate, but that convinced nobody.
His grandmother was furious, telling him that his lies had got me into more trouble than was necessary. My punishment was declared at an end and his was about to begin.
“Get the cushions, Bruce,” she commanded.
He pleaded, but she was relentless. Evidently not for the first time, he went to the oriel window, took two of the cushions covering the box seats there and placed them on top of each other on the desk, after clearing from it the telephone and one or two other things.
The young man Rob and I just stared, hardly able to believe our eyes. We were going to watch a young boy having his bottom thrashed? But who was going to do it, with her still sitting on the sofa?
“On my troos, Nan – please!”
“Certainly not. Get them off. And your panties!”
Reluctantly he undid his trousers, shoved them and his underpants down and stepped out of them. Then he climbed on to the desk and lay down on the cushions, which hoisted his bottom up to make a perfect target. I could feel my cock swelling at the sight but there was nothing I could do about it. From the strangled look of anguish on Rob's face, I wondered if he was suffering the same embarrassment.
But who was going to give it to the boy? Clearly she could not.
“You can do it,” she said to me. “You can get your own back.” I shook my head.
“Well you, Rob, then.”
He shook his head too. “I couldnae do it, m'leddy.”
“You will do as I say if you want to keep your job. All right, both of you then, three belts each – and give it to him sore. He deserves it.”
Reluctantly I took up the tawse and laid it across Bruce's bottom. He evidently knew what to expect, because the knuckles of his hands were white where he was gripping the sides of the desk. I swallowed hard, shut my eyes and opened them again, took a deep breath, and brought the leather down, hard and flat. The boy's whole body jerked and he gave a sharp intake of breath. I had never done anything like this before and I was horrified. I struck quickly twice more and handed the tawse to Rob as though it was a live snake.
He gave an imploring look to the woman, but she merely nodded her head. Three more loud cracks, during which the boy's legs were jerking wildly on the cushions, with his balls and even his little pink hole in view. Then, sobbing and snuffling, he stumbled off the desk and struggled into his clothes.
“That'll teach you to come here telling me lies! Now, up to your room, and stay there. You'll be lucky to be getting any tea the day.”
Turning to me as he left the room she said, “And you're lucky too, young man, that I didnae get Rob to leather you as well, with your penis in that shameful state. Well, your clothes should be dry enough by now. Rob, take him down to the boiler room, see him into them, and then make sure he's away off the premises.”
As we were leaving she added, “and take the tawse with you and give it a going over with saddle soap, ready for the next time, which I doubt will be long.”
On the way downstairs I was terrified that we would meet yet another stranger who would see me naked from the waist down and with a penis that had now taken on a life of its own, so that its state was totally unpredictable.
“Is there anyone else around to see me like this?” I whispered to Rob.
He chuckled. “No. Dinna fret. There's only the housekeeper who does the cooking, and it's her half day off. I'm the only one who has the privilege of seeing your cockie. And, my, you've a bonny wee red bum to go with it that looks good enough to eat!”
Downstairs we went through the door at the back of the hall, which led to another flight of stairs ending in a large kitchen. There was a dumb waiter in the corner, evidently connecting with a dining room upstairs. From the kitchen another passage led to the boiler room, where the heating was still on despite the summer weather, and on a hot pipe were my skimpy running shorts and singlet. I peeled off the sweater and put them on, thankful to have my loins covered at last, but dismayed that the outline of my cock was still plain, forced sideways.
“I'm sorry about this. I can't help it.”
Rob grinned. “Mine's the same, if you had eyes to see it. Mon, that was fair horrific up there, wasn't it? Mind, that wee brat's being asking for it for a long time.”
We went back to the kitchen, where he took a tin of saddle soap from a cupboard and sat down to work on the tawse with a rag. While he did so we got chatting and I found out that he had only been there a few months, doing odd jobs around the house and grounds and walking the dogs. He didn't expect to be there much longer because he was awaiting his call-up papers to do his two years National Service in the army.
“And then I'll be away to Germany, I guess.” Tensions were high there, with the Russians trying to force the western powers out of Berlin, and the Airlift about to begin to save the Berliners from starving.
Then the conversation returned to the events upstairs, and shamefacedly I had to confess that my tawsing had been done mainly by the boy Bruce.
“He did it well. My bum's still burning sore. That's why I'm not sitting down. It's worst on my right hip, where the tails whipped round and lashed it. I doubt if I could have taken the dozen I would have got if you hadn't turned up.”
Rob had stopped working on the tawse and was looking directly at me, a strange look, his face immobile and his eyes expressionless, unfathomable. I wondered what was going through his mind, though my penis, working well ahead of my brain, seemed to know well enough.
“Can I see it?” Rob said. “I mean..... can I touch it – your bum, I mean?”
My throat had gone dry and I tried to swallow.
“Course you can,” I said lightly, “but you'll have to excuse this feller.” My penis was now rock hard, thrusting against the thin material.
“I told you,” he said softly, “it's not the only one.” It was at that moment that I knew that sex was inevitable, and that we both wanted it. Up till then my sex life had consisted solely of solitary relief, usually to the accompaniment of images of a boy at school that I would love to have had in bed with me. But this good-looking boy, or boy-man, was awakening in me such fires of lust that I knew that I was moving into a new dimension. And I wanted it more than anything else in the world.
Was Rob queer? Was I? I wasn't sure, either way, but it didn't matter.
Rob stood up. “Not here,” I said, and the words came out as a croak.
“No. The boiler room?”
“Is it safe?”
“Probably. There's only those two and they're not likely to come down. And Morag and Lonagh won't bother us, the lazy hounds. But if you're worried we can go over to the stables. I've got my own nook there. Ouch! Wait while I just hitch ma cockie round. It's pressing fit to bust.”
We collected my running shoes from the boiler room, though they were still damp. While I was bending down to put them on I felt a thumbnail run up and down my crack, which caused a delicious sensation to pass through the whole length of my body.
“Hey! What are you trying to do? Make me come in my pants?”
“No. Save yersell. I can do better than that!”
He led the way out of a back door and across a courtyard to a stable block. I saw that he was taking both the tawse and the saddle soap with him. I shivered – and it wasn't just the colder air outside. I looked up at a chorus of rooks chattering and circling their nests, high in elm trees. In their innocence, little did they know of the turmoil and wickedness going on inside the two tiny figures below.
Inside the stables were a couple of cars and the usual clutter, but there was a rough wooden stairway at the side which led up to a loft, which to my surprise had a chair and a bunk bed in it – just a mattress and a blanket on a truckle cot. Presumably a groom had slept there in the old days.
“I sometimes sleep overnight if I've been working late. We'll not be disturbed here.”
Two minds with but a single thought, it took only seconds before we were out of our clothes and on the bed, lying side by side, hugging each other. His hands went round to my bum, kneading and exploring the cheeks and working their way in between – an exquisite pain. Our tongues met. More exploring. It couldn't last, and within a minute we had both exploded against each other, cocks touching and our bellies a glorious sticky mess.
Sated, we just lay there for long minutes, arms still entwined, quietly living the moment. “That was great!” Rob whispered. I nodded.
Maybe I should have cleaned up, got dressed, and passed out of Rob's life. But we were young, and once was not enough for our rampant bodies.
“You know what?” murmured Rob. “I would like fine to know what it feels like to get the tawse. Would you give it me? On ma bum?”
Would I? My operation on Bruce had given me a taste for it that I would not have thought possible – an incredible mixture of horror and pleasure as I watched him squirming and his little bottom being covered with broad crimson stripes.
In an instant we had jumped upright and were both rock hard again, mirror images of each other. I took up the tawse from where it was lying on the chair.
“You're not going to enjoy this, you know. It bloody well hurts,” I said, slapping it gently on my hand.
“If you and that brat could take it, so can I. Besides, I want to test myself. How do you want me?”
“Any way you like. You can lie on the bed, you can bend down and stick your arse up, you can go doggy fashion, or you can have it the way I had it – standing up with your hands behind your head.”
He opted for the standing position. I told him to hang on to the beam of a rafter overhead. Then I went behind him and surveyed the target area and the perfect symmetry of the smooth torso and legs above and below it. The bottom looked too good to spoil. Growing old in wantonness, I knelt down behind him and planted a kiss in the middle of each cheek, with a hand straying round to the front to cup his ballsack and fondle the contents.
“I'm kissing your bum goodbye. It's not going to look like that again for a while.”
“Get on with it, you wee pervert!”
“Whatever you want.”
“Say six – if you can take it. You can always ask for more!”
I did not hold back. The first crack, in those wooden surroundings, was so loud that I was sure it could have been heard over in the house. Rob shifted his feet and grunted.
I did it slowly, irregularly, allowing plenty of time for the pain to register and be absorbed. There was no warning of when the next stroke would be delivered. Not a word was spoken by either of us. I took care only to see that the tails of the tawse landed on his right cheek, with no chance of them whipping round on to his hip.
He took them well, with just a hissing or a sharp intake of breath. It must have cost him a heroic effort to keep his hands clutching the beam above him.
“That's six. Have you had enough?”
“You're a bastard, you know that?” – said with a little choking laugh. I waited.
“I'll take two more – on one condition.”
“That you'll take the same.”
When it was all over, and we both had tears in our eyes, he flung the tawse on the floor and we were in each other's arms once more, our hands working overtime on each other's blazing bums and our cocks once more rising to the occasion. Another joyful effusion, another libation to the god Priapus spilling onto the wooden floor. I had discovered the literalness of the crude phrase 'bumping and grinding', but it did not feel in the least crude.
There. I have written it, as honestly as I know how. It was time to go home, before I was missed. We paused only to establish that each Sunday Rob took Morag and Lonagh, mother and daughter, for a long walk in the hills, giving us the chance to meet again. We did so four times, always spending some time in a stone bothy where Rob introduced me to further blissful practices which I had scarely even imagined before.
Now he is away in the army, in Germany as predicted, and whether we will meet again is a question.
And there the diary ended, tantalisingly, leaving me to attend for a second time to my own urgent needs. There had been never a mention of the writer's name. From the reference to the Berlin Airlift I knew the events must have taken place in 1948. So I knew that the boys would now, if still alive, be about forty – my own age. It was only a week later, as I was re-reading the story for the umpteenth time, that I discovered, written on a page near the back of the notebook, a name and address.
The name was Robbie Muirhead. The address was close to my own.
I wonder, I thought..... I wonder. But that is another story, which is yet to be told.