The sun lingered on the Scottish horizon until midnight, and its faint glow never faded as I checked at 03:00. Early the next morning Violet and I took a few lazy moments to lay in bed before starting breakfast, I would only eat breakfast when I was with her as it was as necessity for her and it made her happy when I joined. Around 09:30 we walked down to the pub where we met a retired Scottish gentleman that I could hardly understand. He gladly welcomed us into his car and we started making our way through the rolling hills and country roads surrounding the small village of Foggie. We turned a corner towards what seemed to be miles of empty fields, occasionally littered with a few houses and an old wooden and lonely church. We drove on until we found a tiny valley tucked neatly into the center of three hills. There sat the Glendronach Distillery. The seemingly ancient stone building was hidden by a semi-circle of trees. Inside the charming site some of the finest Single Malt, Sherry Cask Scotch had been in production since 1826 making it one of the oldest in Scotland.
After refusing any offer of money our kind old driver dropped us off, I left a tenner for him when he wasn’t looking as he wished well and drove off. Violet and I made our way to the welcome center and I asked for the connoisseur’s tour, the guide sadly said they didn’t have enough people and 4 were required. Without hesitation I asked to pay for all four spots for Violet and me, after a little query with management we got the ok and the tour began.
Our guide was lovely and took her time as she showed us around the Distillery. We saw the malting floor where we were told the story of a retiree would still return on occasion to turn the barley by hand with a shovel because of his love for his old job and the pride he felt working for Glendronach. That pride was apparent in everyone we met there that day, it appeared to be an honor to work there and while very few, the employees all had a sense of purpose in their demeanor.
We walked by the beautiful copper stills that shown with an earned patina that made the whole place seem more unique than the other distilleries I had visited. Further on, into a room containing giant mash tun (wooden casks the size of a large van) where the malt would undergo fermentation before being sent to the stills. The sheer size and amount of wood it took the build these giant mash tuns was considerable and left me a bit in awe as I looked down the factory at the dozens they had lined up. From there we had the special privilege to take a walk through the dark factory that housed the aging whisky once it had been distilled, put in their casks and sat to age for as long as was necessary. Inside the factory, like most Scotch distilleries photos weren’t allowed inside to protect any trade secrets. That didn’t bother me as I expected it and was happy to just soak up the charm.
As our guide set up our 6-dram tasting, while arranging and gathering all the bottles and glasses needed, she told us about how the founder, James Allardice after producing his first small whisky production couldn’t seem to sell any of it after traveling to Edinburgh with a dozen casks. He exhausted himself pitching the hotels and pubs around the city where he was met with distain, as the whisky of choice was already established in each of his stops. In the end he gave up with the sales pitch and took a cask down to where the ladies of the night would conduct their business. There he gave the girls the cask of whisky for free on condition that they share it with their clients. Soon after there was a demand in the pubs and hotels for Glendronach. We also learned that Glendronach means valley of the brambles and the stream and water that was utilized during production carried a faint taste of the blackberries that were growing wildly upstream. The romance of these stories was making me love my favorite whiskey more and more.
Soon our tasting began and although Violet didn’t enjoy whisky particularly but soon I found that her pallet was much more advanced than mine, as my dull senses couldn’t find the exotic flavors she could immediately call out. We did our proper tasting; all while being coached on how to inspect each glass and soon Violet was enjoying the taste. By the 6thdram, a 30+ year old Scotch that gracefully rolled over your tongue and created a blissful sensation of calm while trickling through you. After tasting them all, I settled on my favorite.
I came with the intention of purchasing a hand filled bottle that I could pour from the cask and label myself, but instead purchased a 22-year-old 1993, Pedro Jiménez Sherry Cask after much internal conflict, the '93 was simply the smoothest and uniquely flavored whisky I had ever had the pleasure of tasting. It was a UK exclusive bottle too, so with that on the scales I slapped down the £250 for the bottle and vowed not to drink it until I had made my first million dollars. Our guide took out 6 tiny little glass flasks and sent us home with extras of each of our tasted whiskey a parting gift I assume for having paid for four spots rather than two. Soon after, and reluctantly, we were leaving, our Airbnb host picked us up a few moments later and took us back to the house.
I was so relieved that I had been able to finish my back piece and visit Glendronach, the two things I aimed to do on arrival the weight of uncertainty hanging over my head about what might happen with immigration when I would leave the UK, if I would be allowed to return had a little less sting to it. I was in a wonderful mood that afternoon, while Violet made a small lunch and we sat in the living room. After a brief moment of silence, and finding ourselves comfortable, Violet asked if we could try again, meaning get back together. I protested with my reasons, holding her back, holding me back and the inevitable pain of separation and all the conflict it causes. Quietly she answered, “well, I’m ready to try and make things work, but you need to be too.” I thought for a moment, and in that moment so far from the reality of the road, so settled into my life and routine over the long 6 months I had stayed, I knew I didn’t want to lose her, and that in a near future she would be exiting my life as my magic faded and the distance dissolved her feelings as our worlds dramatically changed, me broke and on the road, and she high in her tower rubbing elbows with the Hollywood elite. Knowing I would be helpless to change these things, knowing I would have to endure that familiar, slow and excruciating dull heartache of watching her slip away from me and her affections waining, still, with all the damage I inflict on myself, and never knowing if my number could be up I reasoned, now was the only moment that existed. My conflicted heart at this point was clearly telling me that what I wanted was right in front of me. The wild life of late nights drinking with outrageous bar tabs to afford the endless train of women into my bed could only focus my mind and allow me to set into motion the schemes necessary to succeed until I was satisfied and with the challenges awaiting me in Amsterdam, that could only make things better, and maybe would lead me to a recommendation and another shop after my stint. I still thought of Violet as an investment, that she had the traits necessary to be half of my power couple dreams of the future, the difference was clear that the thick walls defending my heart started feeling a bit less impenetrable as I smiled and agreed and was answered with a pouncing kiss.
As the whisky buzz grew nearly manageable and our relationship repaired, the two of us jumped into the car and I put on the new Chromeo album as loud as I could while I reveled in the little BMW’s sport mode, speeding through winding country roads, enjoying the high afternoon sun and the picturesque vistas of fields and coastline while we moved towards the coast. We used the afternoon Sun to visit a few sites I had marked prior on my Google maps. First, we made way to the seaside and in the heat of the summer hiked down some fairly steep embankments down to the beach where a giant cave that was begging to be climbed through as windows of the sun peered through large holes that led to giant smooth stones protruding from the coastline, I zipped straight up and bounced up a slippery, near vertical path towards the light. Assuming Violet wasn’t far behind, I looked and she was still far below and said she was scared. I giggled to myself and went down to help her up and once we exited the cave to the views of the sea, she was proud to have made it to the end, that made me think of all the wild shit I would do with my Father as a kid and how much she missed being considered second class in the religion she grew up in. around the corner from the cave was the famous Bow Fiddle Rock, our destination. The tide was low and the sun was too high for a classy photo but it was fun to kick around and look at the tide pools and check the giant formation off the list.
Bow Fiddle Rock is at the edge of the town of Portknockie, which looked to be a village of summer homes that were neatly lined into charming little lanes leading towards the North Sea. The windows were frequently adorned with items relating to the sea and with so few cars occupying the streets and not many people outside I wondered if the heat was too much for the weekenders. I was starting to feel the weight of my shirt as it was soaking in sweat which made me want to retreat to the haven of our car’s air conditioning. Violet protested and we wandered a bit more. The British are so active in my experience and Violet longed to get out and aimlessly walk frequently, which wasn’t among the things I would count as enjoyable without a payoff or site to behold at the end of the journey, I rarely find myself able to just freely enjoy things like that when my list of things to accomplish grows ever longer, especially in moments of contemplation.
From Portknockie we toured the coast eastward, finding quaint little villages and towns that were charming and fun to navigate through while the music still blared and the gift of summer after the long British winter was enough to be cause for celebration. We drove onward until we reached Banff, which was lovely and had white beaches on each side. By this time the sun was setting and we began our return to Foggie. Violet pretty much demanded that we have a seafood dinner, I calculated that since her funds had run out days ago it wasn’t a very good idea, she won in the end and while she thoroughly enjoyed the over-priced food and no wine to compliment it, I could hardly finish my meal which I thought was mediocre at best. Still with a smile I paid and we drove through the country to our last evening in our little AirBnb as the Sun set and the sky caught blaze in the most fantastic orange.
That night I walked down to the grocer in Foggie so Violet could see how chocolate changes the way you taste whisky. We drank and nibbled while checking another of the handful of classic films I was appalled to learn Violet had never seen off our list; this time it was Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. She fell asleep with her head in my lap and I gently woke her after a while and took her upstairs to the bed. I worked for a while and enjoyed the last of the Sun suspended on the horizon at midnight over Scotland for what would likely be my last for a long time. The morning I was gently roused by Violets mouth around my morning erection. Our sex that morning was loud and fun, she orgasmed so soon and asked for a break and as she stroked and sucked me off. I drove her mental gently teasing her until she had to fuck me again. It was still early and we packed up and started the long drive towards Edinburgh, stopping only to see the Birnam Oak, the famed tree from Macbeth. As an actress this was thrilling for Violet and I enjoyed seeing her happy as we walked through the woods. From there we crossed through Perth and soon we were crossing the famous bridge over the water to Edinburg. While driving along the bridge I knew that only a few years before I was just below with my last English girlfriend at the small lighthouse that was now behind us, my Ex wasn’t someone I ever should have considered dating, she was passive and cruel and I smiled knowing how much happier I was with Violet.
I surprised Violet (and my wallet) with a fancy joint in Edinburgh. It was near the old center and we planned to get loaded and enjoy the night, we uncorked a bottle of wine and I pulled out the last of my giant bag of MDMA. Violet had never done any drugs but she stated there would be no rules on our last night in Scotland. I dabbed a huge dose and was high only a few moments later. I coached her about taking small like tastes until she found herself in a comfortable place and felt like she had been smacked with the “love stick.” Her face grimaced at the taste and over the next hour or so we listened to music and drank wine while we continued to dab until Violets eyes were saucers and we were both starting to get a little lazy with our body language. I got us off the couch and we went walking through the city while the sun was low in the sky, Violet was wide eyed and in wonder, I could tell by her face that the feeling was so foreign to her that she didn’t quite know what to make of it. We climbed up to the Calton Hill where we sat cuddled up while together while the Sun dipped lower on the horizon than it had up north. Still without the direct Sun the city was bright and sky still blue, we ventured onward and found ourselves lost in a cemetery and found again eventually on the southern side of Edinburgh old town. Once we had enough walking out of our systems and our minds were drifting to how wonderful each touch felt we made our way back. As we made our way, we passed the café where JK Rowling wrote harry potter and Violet pleaded to eat breakfast there, it was an easy yes. That night, as you can imagine, the sex was wet hot and wild as Violet got to experience the numb, buzzing delight of kissing, touching and fucking like teenagers while high on MDMA. I had her breasts grabbed in tight handfuls while I sucked her nipples while she was grinding hard against me, then she was against the wall and moaning so loudly I had to cover her mouth, she pushed me back to the bed and was violently making loud slaps against me as she whipped her hips up and down. Then, just as she was calling out that she was near orgasm, I tossed her off and she collapsed in frustrated, near hateful exhaustion. With her head buried in the pillow, while her sighs and light punches against the it expressed her frustration I quietly snuck beneath her still spread legs, her ass still stuck in the air and soon she was straddling my face and pulling my hair, eyes rolling back as her head looked to the heavens while I finished what we started. Her orgasm was like a seizure of lustful pleasure and left me very content afterwards watching her lie there unable to move or speak for the ten minutes following. It had grown very late at this point, nearly 04:00. We had returned sometime around 01:30 and I wondered where the time went. I could only assume that the foreplay was much longer than I thought it was. I didn’t finish that night; the quality of the drug wasn’t the greatest and prevented it without a strenuous effort but Violet paid that debt back in full early the next morning.
We showered, gathered our things and made way to the Elephant House, where Rowling worked on the second and third books on the series. I was interested to see the environment, we were early enough to miss any of the overly long tourist lines and immediately sat at a table near the front inside the buzzing little café. I was in awe of what Rowling was able to do with so many distractions flashing all around her. The cook ringing the bell when food was ready, the waitresses weaving through it all refilling coffees and teas and clearing plates. Our breakfast came quickly, Violet order a full breakfast while I just had tea and a few bites of hers in hopes I could avoid getting road weary too quickly. Violet was on fire with excitement, and honestly so was I as I sat in comparison wondering if I could create any of my arts is an environment as chaotic as this little café. As we finished breakfast I excused myself to the restroom to insufflate some Ritalin to sharpen my head, once I opened the door and it closed behind me I realized I had been standing there for 5 minutes, reading the millions of little messages and quotes from the book, people who wrote “thank you for my childhood” there were many drawings big and small of Deathly Hallows symbol and my person favorite, above the light switch with a little wit was written “LUMOS” which gave me a little giggle. I did my drugs and walked out to find Violet at the end of her tea. I told her she had to check out the toilet she asked why and I said to just go. It was ten minutes before she came back with a giant smile on her face. At that point there was a line reaching just outside the door and I went to pay the bill before it got any wilder.
We crowded our way out of the Elephant House and Violet had her photo in front before grabbing the car and we began the nearly 8-hour drive back to Kings Cross, Violet had already cued up the first of the final audio books of Harry Potter and we began listening to her great delight. The language seemed simple to me at first, and the plot a little slow, I was comparing it to the lightning pace of the films I suppose, eventually I was fully engaged, all the details the films didn’t have time to fit in gave the story so much more depth and set up so many mysteries to unravel, especially leaving a door wide open for Grindelwald, which further solidified my thoughts of Miss Rowling as a genius to have, as a forethought, figured to leave enough breadcrumbs to lead us years later, to the “Fantastic Beasts” series.
I had made the drive from Scotland through the UK a couple times in my travels, so it was all very familiar and felt a little like home while I recognized landmarks at the roadside and had a vague idea of how long was left. Violet was a little hungover and slipped off into sleep a couple times and I carried on driving for about three and a half hours before I stopped off for petrol and she woke from the change of speed. We grabbed her a lunch and I broke my abstinence from energy drinks with a large Red Bull. I did more drugs in the men’s room and soon we were back on the road, Violet was bright eyed and we diligently listened to Harry Potter the whole ride back to London, barely making it a 3rd of the way in the 22 hour audio book. When we arrived, I had to get petrol again before returning the rental car, which in the Kings Cross area was quite a mission with one-way streets and all kinds of confusion trying to follow Google where to go in time to make the correct turns at a moments notice before ending up having to travel miles out of the way. It was getting dark and my eyes were heavy and body was in pain I stretched and charged the final bit of credit I had available to my card to top off the tank. We dropped the bags off at the front entrance of the flat where we set them inside the door before going to turn the car in, thankfully it was right at the train station and within five minutes walking distance back to her friends place she was house sitting for. We got ourselves upstairs, both tired from the drive and I’m sure Violet, same as me, was feeling the clawing sensation of all the troubles we had left in London and both, fully aware, but remaining unspoken, that I would be leaving in what would be a very short couple of days.