Reunion in Scotland

Tom and I with Tom Miller and Kate

After our french cycling trip we once again invaded London and the home of our friends Robin & Ruth.  We rested a bit, did  laundry, repacked and headed off for our next adventure — this time in a rented car.

We traveled to Banff Scotland to visit an old friend of Tom’s from Cleveland Heights High School — Tom Miller.  The two Toms had seen each other only once for about 10 minutes in the past 32 years!

Tom M attended Cleveland Institute of Music and ended up playing bassoon with a Swiss orchestra.  There he met a Scottish woman, Kate.  The last time Tom B and Tom M saw each other was on the streets of Inverness Scotland in 1982.  At the time, Tom B was cycling around Europe with a friend and Tom M was in Scotland in preparation for his wedding.  Tom M spied Tom B’s Heights Hockey jacket across a street in Inverness and called out.  The two visited briefly but never touched base again.

Tom M and Kate initially lived in Switzerland, but about 20 years ago, they purchased an old farm in Banff and turned part of it into a guesthouse.  Tom continued to commute to Switzerland for his orchestra gig, while Kate and their two kids stayed in Scotland and Kate ran the guesthouse.  Tom is still playing bassoon with his orchestra, but Kate has retired from the guesthouse business.

About five years ago (probably procrastinating on grading papers) Tom B decided to google Tom M to see if he was still playing bassoon in Switzerland.  Lo and behold, he was, and Tom B was able to contact Tom M by email through the orchestra.  But Tom M was in Europe and Tom B was in the US preparing to send kids to college, and neither man is a prolific email writer. So, while an open channel of communication was established, it was not used much! Our sabbatical travels provided the perfect chance to re-establish contact.

With this history, it was with some trepidation (on the part of both Toms, it turns out) that we arrived in Banff.  We shouldn’t have worried.  The four of us hit it off instantly and the two Toms were soon lost in memories of high school friends, teachers and escapades.  We were treated to Tom M and Kate’s wonderful cooking and wine.  We enjoyed some great hill walking (to visit the only gannet colony on the mainland of Scotland), and sampled some very, very good Scottish whiskey!

Here are all of our Scotland Pictures

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