The day after I met with the Church Assessors, I was up early and at the train station by 6:45 a.m. I was off to Dunblane to meet Scot and Samantha, with whom I had gotten acquainted on the Outlander Gathering forum. They run the Jamie and Claire Tour, based on Diana Gabaldon's Outlander. We had decided to meet even before I got on the plane to fly to Edinburgh.
I had packed for Scotland expecting it to be rainy, windy, and cold. This was the only day of my whole trip that it was all those things. After Samantha and Scot -- who was wearing a kilt in this blowy, snowy weather -- picked me up at the train station near their home, we headed off by car to Inverness. They were exploring lodging possibilities for their tours that day, so while they worked, I played by wandering around downtown Inverness. The 3.5 hour trip didn't seem to last nearly that long because we talked ALL the way. We did pass the road to Culloden -- but I was a wimp. It was cold and wet and I decided to wait until I return to visit.
They introduced me to a great second-hand bookstore, Leakey's (I think that was the name), so after a rainy afternoon looking at books and wandering around (I did have to buy a warm fleece scarf to fend off the cold), we met outside the Marks and Spencer store. I nearly had an international credit card incident there -- my card got stuck in the card reader -- and all I was trying to purchase was a loaf of bread! One thing I noticed as I sat at a window seat at a coffee shop -- Inverness is a truly international small city. I expected to find that in Glasgow and Edinburgh, but for some reason was surprised to see it so in Inverness. Preconceived notions falling into the dust...
We were off to the Blackfriar's Pub for dinner. I wanted traditional food -- and got it in the form of lamb's liver, bacon (which looks an awful lot like ham to me), fried egg, and chips (aka fries). Both the dinner company and the travel company that day were excellent. Samantha and Scot are both great story-tellers and engaging folks. I am looking forward to being able to avail myself of their tours someday soon. Anyway, before we left the pub, we had the proprietess take a picture of us together. Scot decided we needed to be behind the bar for the shot, so we did it! Of course, you can't see his kilt, but it is still a great picture.
Then, nearly all of a sudden, the day was over. They were off to present a program for Highland tour guides and I was off to the train back to Edinburgh. The psychologist had asked in my interview the day before how I was going to build a network of support when I got settled in my new place. It is a great joy for me to be able to say that there are a couple of links in that network already -- and I suspect those links will only grow stronger.