Billy - Act two

In Act II, we see Billy and an older Ian, who has now left school, working overtime on a Saturday painting a licensed grocer’s shop. They continue to have a close relationship. In their conversation over cheese and spam sandwiches, Billy reveals he turned down the opportunity to go into business with Davie after the war.

He thought it was takin too much ae a chance and he has always played safe in his life, rather than seeking opportunities. He likes the idea of being his own boss, but would never do it.

He recalls his wartime army service, acknowledging he was lucky… Didnae see a lot of action but does not encourage Ian when he mentions the army. He is practical again, warning his son, They don't show ye the haufae it [on the adverts] … It’s no just playin at cowboys ye know. Here Billy shows shrewd insight in being unsupportive of his son’s notion of joining the army and tries to point out to him the false glamour the adverts portray.

He also suggests that London is not worth seeing. Ian is a little disappointed and there is a sense that he would like to spread his wings and experience new places, but Billy is either over-protective or unambitious for him.

Either way, there is an impression that he is limiting what his son could achieve when he says don't rush intae anything. Throughout the play, we see Billy and Ian together, whereas Davie and Alec drift apart as Alec seeks out new opportunities and experiences.