• Vol. 02
  • Chapter 09
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Birthday Heat, August 1964

I am high on a track above the cliff edge, following the path from Arbroath to Auchmithie. It is my eleventh birthday and I can feel the new signet ring on my right hand finger. The gold on the curvy initials shines as I move my hand back and forth with admiring glances to catch the sun. I feel so grown up. Dad leads the way, easy to spot in his casual, cream holiday outfit, holding his bonnet, beads of sweat on his brow. They glisten down his reddened brow as he turns to check we are still with him. He keeps reassuring us we are nearly there but it seems like he's no idea. Mum is not that impressed. I can tell from her lack of response. She names the plants as we pass. My brother, seven and a half years old, skips along, unaware of time or distance, happy to tail Dad until the light goes. An ‘ouch’ goes up. The first nettle stings, Dad winces, Mum searched the edges of the path for a dandelion leaf to sooth it. I smile to myself as I really wanted an all expenses paid day, not a long walk to some village on the edge of nowhere. I am not the best balanced walker without a pavement to guide me and we must have been out here for hours. I am my Dad's biggest fan though so I want him to be fine. I also want to avoid the same fate. We move on gingerly and keep going until the roofs on the bay rise to meet us. Mum sighs, takes my brother's hand as we climb down the rocky path to the main street which curves around the shore. Dad promises us Knickerbocker Glories. So his good mood returns. It has been a memorable afternoon.