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A Scotland Rendezvous, chapter 3

“So tell me about your past relationships–the good, the bad and the ugly.”

That’s how we began our three-day road trip through the Scottish Highlands.

There wasn’t much to tell, really. I was 39 years old and over the last decade I’d kept a pretty good distance from any relationship for a variety of reasons that didn’t make sense when I really thought about it.

Steve, I’m certain, thought I was being coy when I explained that there wasn’t much to tell.

A lesson on the birds and the bees.  Well, maybe just the birds.

Just as I was going to ask him about his back story, he said, “Hey, do you mind if we stop by this bird refuge? I’ve always wanted to see it.

“A bird refuge?” I thought. “Can’t say I would ever stop to do that.”

And before I knew it, we had parked and then he was pulling out of the car trunk a tripod and scope.  He never really said anything about what he was going to be doing with the scope.  In fact, he was pretty quiet about it.  “Hmmm,”  I paused to think and take this all in.  “He’s got a scope.  He’s kind of the quiet type. We’re stopping at a bird refuge.” I was putting all the pieces together slowly.  ”This guy looks at birds?” Oh, the horror.

I played along.  We went into the visitor center, paid the donation and walked around, looking at the various dioramas of wetlands and birds. I was scanning the place looking for a gift shop that might have something I might identify with. Like a necklace. Or a tea cup.  But I didn’t see a gift shop.  “Just go with it,” I thought.

The host at the visitor center told us about a blind nearby where we could get a good look. At what, exactly, I wasn’t so sure.  Nevertheless, I just followed Steve and we went outside and walked along the path that led us to what looked like a dilapidated shed and sat there on the bench and looked out through narrow slats.

And that’s when he made his big move. I asked him, “Have you always wanted to do that?”

“Do what?” he asked sheepishly.

“Take a girl out in a blind and kiss her.”

And then there was a castle

After catching my breath following the bird refuge we made our way to the Dunnottar Castle in Aberdeenshire. I had never been to a castle before my time in Edinburgh the day before. But this one was even better–it was just sitting out there in the middle of nowhere for people to walk through.   For a mere £5 each we were able to meander through the ruins of the castle, even sneaking away to a private corner where Steve stole another kiss.

To tell people that I felt like I had been dreaming the entire experience is the world’s greatest understatement. But imagine this: What woman really gets to fly off with very little notice at the invitation of a stranger she had just met online and get kissed in a castle? And let me add this: And actually like the guy?

It had to be a dream, right? This was so not my life.

The pathway to the Dunnottar Castle, Aberdeenshire

View of a waterfall seen on our walk to the castle

Me with Dunnottar Castle in background,

Arranging for a romantic soundtrack in Inverness

The first day on the road was long I suppose, because we got as far as Inverness, the capital of the Scottish Highlands, all the way from Dundee and it was dark. It just didn’t feel like it was a long day. It wasn’t going too fast either, I must admit.  I think for the first time, I actually was trying to be in the experience and I wasn’t concerned with time at all. I had quit my job just before this trip and was starting at a new company the day after I was to return to the United States, so there really wasn’t anything pressing on my mind to distract me from what was taking place. No emails to check, no work to catch up on. I wasn’t attached to anything that would prevent me from letting everything happen to me. I could actually change the script of my life and write a new one.

We stayed at the Holiday Inn in Inverness, had dinner at a restaurant next door and rose early to get back on the road again. By this time it had occurred to me that Steve brought no music with him on the trip.  For me, you can’t go on a road trip without a proper road music and so I said, “Hey let me pick out some CDs for you,” and we popped into a store. Now since I couldn’t help but be romantic, I collected all the necessary artists for the perfect soundtrack for this new script.  Thank you Diana Krall, Michael Bublé and Steve Tyrell.

Yes, I have my ways.

Go on to the next chapter.