My personal blog as a 'grown-up' Goth and Romantic living in the Highlands of Scotland. I write about the places I go, the things I see and my thoughts on life as a Goth and the subculture. Sometimes I write about music I like and sometimes I review things. This blog often includes architectural photography, graveyards and other images from the darker side of life.

The Gothic subculture is not just about imitating each other, it is a creative movement and subculture that grew out of post-punk and is based on seeing beauty in the dark places of the world, and looks back to the various ways throughout history in which people have confronted and explored the macabre, the dark and the taboo, and as such I'm going to post about more than the just the standards of the subculture (Tim Burton, Siouxsie Sioux and Anne Rice et al.) and look at things by people who might not consider themselves anything to do with the subculture, but have eyes for the dark places. Goth should not be limited by what is considered "goth", inspiration comes from all places, the key is to look with open eyes, listen carefully and think with an open mind..

Thursday, 22 August 2013

Celebrating 2 Years In Scotland

Yesterday evening Raven and I celebrated 2 years in Scotland
We had a small gathering yesterday - Raven and I, and eight friends (some of which are not pictured in the photographs - N. left before we were photographed, Suzy_Bugs and her husband don't do flash photography, and the chap photographing us was behind the camera, not in front.)

It started off as a garden party in our back garden. I do quite wish I had taken a few photographs as I worked quite hard to make it atmospheric. Anyway, this isn't a post about silver doilies and piles of cushions, this a post about having lived in Scotland for two years now, and what that means to me.

First of all, it doesn't feel like I have lived here for two years - I still feel so new to the area, and feel like it was only a few months ago that I moved here, and that I don't really know the area. I certainly don't feel like I have been here for an entire 24 months!

From left to right; M.W, K., me, Raven, Brian, and M.G.
Photograph by S. Goodwin
Secondly, moving to Scotland was a whole change for me; so many new and different things. I moved to a new country, moved in with Raven for the first time, moved into our very own apartment, both of us moved to completely new jobs  - both twice, after I was made redundant a month into my previous job, and after Raven decided that moving into hospitality from nursing was a bad idea and went back into nursing - new friends, and a very, very long way between all that and what we had once known. I was previously living in the Thames Valley, and Raven was previously living on a farm in Wales, each of us were a good day's driving, or a couple days by train, from where we had once lived. 

I have never been homesick; while where I lived was beautiful, and while I had friends there, I knew I had to go. Sometimes I miss my friends, sometimes I miss my cat and my Dad, but I never miss the actual place. When I left I was so excited; I packed all of my things into the car and could hardly move (I had cans in the footwell and was sitting on cushions...) and just went North and more North and more North... I had no realistic idea how much of Scotland I still had to cross before actually getting to where I now reside, and thought getting as far as the Scottish border had been a really long way. The drive itself was through some incredible scenery. The UK is mostly known for gently rolling hills, little fields with livestock and nice woodlands, for rivers winding through small towns and villages and generally quite a tame view of rural life; Scotland does not look like that. I travelled past mountains and waterfalls and heather moors and ancient castles and suddenly realised just how much the landscape called out to my sense of adventure. Scotland good be Westeros or Middle Earth.

Aside: A lot of Game of Thrones is filmed in Northern Ireland (which has quite similar landscapes), some of it was actually filmed in Scotland, and Lord of the Rings was filmed all the way on the other side of the planet in New Zealand.

Every day I open my curtains to a view out across mountains (snow-covered in winter), the river, forests, farmland, and often birds of prey soaring on thermals. I would love to post a picture up of the view from our flat, but I think it would be too easy to locate where I live from it, so you will have to take my word for it when I say I have a broad panorama of dramatic and beautiful scenery. I've stayed in places with some nice views (like from the gable windows of my friend's Victorian garret flat overlooking Bristol; it was a sea of lights at night.) but now I get to actually live in one. I never, ever get tired of looking at the view. My favourite thing is watching how varied the skies can be, and how colourful. 


Four lassies
Photo by S. Goodwin
Up here it is also quite a different place to live in terms of people. I have noticed that people here are a lot friendlier than where I used to live - total strangers often acknowledge each other with a "morning" or "afternoon" as they pass, people talk to you on public transport and it's not considered weird or even rude, and I actually get a lot more friendly and positive interactions for my clothes than I do get snooty or rude ones.  I have noticed that it is generally speaking (there will always be exceptions) the case that the further from London you get, the more friendly people on public transport are, with West Wales and Scotland being the places I have experienced as the most friendly. It is not perfect, and have been insulted in the streets even here, too, but I have experienced less than I did when I lived in the Thames Valley, even if there are far fewer Goths here, so I stand out from the crowd more. 

No place is perfect though. I guess the thing I dislike the most is the sort of wind-blown driving rain we get here. It falls so far off vertical that it gets under my umbrellas and into my coats. It falls for a lot of autumn, winter and spring, and I end up wanting to stay at home in the warm and yet I have to go out for work. The wind chills, too, so I sometimes end up quite wet and cold, despite being thoroughly wrapped up in several layers. 

Altogether, I am really happy that I moved here, and I feel that it really is something to celebrate, as is living with Raven for two years and still being in a happy relationship. I think the initial period after moving in can be the most difficult stage of a relationship as dating someone and living with them are two wholly different things, and I am glad we have managed to negotiate a peaceful coexistence and never really argue much at all. Two very happy years and a nice party to round them off. May many more happy years follow!

4 comments:

  1. I'm glad to know that you're happy living where you are. It took work and determination for you both to get settled in there. Congratulations to you both. And what a nice looking group of friends!

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    1. I've ended up really integrated into the local Goth community and made loads of friends up here, which I am so happy about as my circle of friends in England was limited by comparison.

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  2. Congratulations on your living together anniversary! It is a great achievement! You and all your friends look amazing, I really want the dress the girl second from the left is wearing!

    Scotland sounds beautiful. I have Scottish and Welsh ancestry but have not yet had a chance to visit either. I plan to, though!

    I also have not been to New Zealand, even though it is an island fairly near where I live. I keep on saying I want to go to Middle Earth! :P

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    1. K.'s dress is available from Fan + Friend.

      Wales and Scotland have some really beautiful geography, lots of history (and one of my favourite things: lots of castles!).

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