Thursday, 26 May 2011

Thank You Stars

*Warning* Intensely personal post ahead!

It was 2005 and I'd just been through a painful divorce. I lived alone in the solitude of the highlands of Scotland, and although I had the fun and exciting life of being a performer in a rock band - I was still pretty miserable. Tour after tour, gig after gig seemed to end the same way - rapturous applause then the deafening silence and solitude of my wee cottage in the mountains.

Contrary to what Southerners will tell you, we have electricity in the North of Scotland, we even have phones, TV and computers, and so I'd struck up a 'conversation' with a lady from Australia on an Internet forum - about sleep paralysis of all things. Passing info to one another on the forum became private messages, private messages became e-mails, e-mails became phone calls and pretty soon I realised I was falling in love with this 'persona'.  What was she like in real life though? My mates in the band used to joke about the fact she only sent pictures which showed her from the waist up - "Be warned! She's either a midget or in a wheelchair Rory" they'd tease me. Not that it would have mattered. But it did leave questions about whether the persona of someone on the Internet can be matched by the reality?

Neither of us were in a position physically or financially to spend any time abroad - I had tour commitments and she had four kids to raise on her meagre income as a substitute schoolteacher.

And then a miracle happened.

A mutual friend we had made from the USA on the same Internet forum, had been observing the relationship develop. She figured that if one of us didn't get ourselves over to the other then this whole thing could be heading nowhere - and so it was that Tracey (The Australian Lady) awoke one morning, to find that a plane ticket had been booked from Australia to the UK for her for a month, and that a rental car would be waiting to greet her, and there was more than enough set aside as spending money to cover the period, all courtesy of our mutual friend, someone we had never met before in real life.

On November 3rd I waited at Heathrow Airport to see if the person now about to land matched the person I'd known for 6 months on the Internet. It seemed a great idea at the time to turn up in full Highland dress, but now, standing in an English airport wearing my kilt, sporran and Montrose, all seemed a bit over the top, but at least she could never mistake who I was - or so I thought. She appeared out of customs and I was sure 'That's her!' - and she walked straight past me.

When she finally realised that the awkward looking extra from Braveheart was me - we hugged and headed off for coffee...what followed then seems like a dream...

No words could do the following month justice. Suffice to say that I cancelled all gigs except two smaller ones and we started off on our journey through Britain - along the way we video'd most of the places we went and the time we shared together (which you can see below).

Six months later I was in Australia and we married in Brisbane. The Maid of Honour was our mutual friend from the USA who even came on Honeymoon to New Zealand with us such was the strength of our friendship.

Even now when I think back on it - it still raises a tear. I'm overwhelmed not only to be married to the woman I'm in love with but I'm proud of her. Proud of her bravery in traversing the world to go meet an ageing, falling apart rocker. And as for our friend in the USA, it reversed any lingering doubts I may have had about the human condition. 'We're a' Jock Tamson's bairns'.

For those of you wondering where on earth we are in this video; (Be warned - turn your speakers up and get your handkerchiefs ready lol)
Tower of London
Hampton Court Palace
Lady Jane Grey's Castle
The Highlands of Scotland
Falls Of Shin
A bar in Ullapool
A bar in Applecross (I like my bars :) )
Edinburgh Winter Markets
Edinburgh Castle
Castle Eilan Donan
Kyle of Lochalsh
Castle Urquhart
Loch Ness

All of the video as well as the stills images you see, were taken by ourselves.


  1. Wonderful video...lovely music. You look so comfortable with a guitar in your hands and so happy looking into the eyes of your beloved.

  2. Well lucky you! Did we see her legs in that? I don't believe we did. Very unlike my internet 'date' :o( Alec

  3. LOL - I hadn't realised her legs were not on display in that either! I assure you she does have them! :)

  4. Chuck and I met on the internet. On a Led Zeppelin message board. One can find love in strange places, when one is least expecting it.

    Chuck bought me a ticket that Christmas to come down and see him here in NC. I accepted the gift, and a lot of people thought I was crazy. My mum was worried he was in prison lol. I still remember the look on his face when I got off the plane. He was looking at me like I was a goddess LOL. Most of the pictures I'd seen of him had him wearing a beard or a goatee, but I mentioned I wasn't big on that so he shaved it for me as a surprise lol. But I recognized his bright blue eyes and huge smile when I came down the escalator.

    It would have been MUCH more awesome if he'd been wearing a kilt.

    Loved your story. :)

  5. Aww Kyna that's sweet! More than that - he took the trouble to shave off his beard! Awesome :)

    Well when Tracey left I knew the next trip would be me heading for Australia - I was broken hearted when the time came around for her to leave. But I'll leave the next part for another blog day lol.

    I'm really delighted for you two - Internet relationships, they can work, they do work.

    mybabyjohn - Thank you ever so much for the kind words!

  6. Sheilagh Lee said :Aw what a love story and what a great friend you both have.thank you for sharing this

  7. Thanks Sheilagh Lee - much appreciated and yes, she is our greatest friend and has now been our guest here in Oz about 5 times I think.


  8. Loved the video and loved your love story and the fabulous friend who made the magic happen.

  9. Thank you Marian - she is indeed our dearest friend. I'm hoping it will be us next time, visiting her in California, rather than her coming all the way over here again.

  10. What a wonderful story and beautiful video!

    I spent a little time traveling in Scotland in 2004 and fell in love with the countryside, the accents, and the attire. Nothing, in my humble opinion, is sexier than a gentleman in a kilt. (My friends wonder why I enjoy Renaissance Fairs so much...the food? The grog? Nope, it's the kilts!)

  11. Hi Sue - I love the kilt! But it's a wee bit draughty in winter as it was then lol. I wore it for two days only - it was all I could bear. I was quite surprised when Tracey and I went to Buckingham Palace; I was continually stopped by Japanese tourists wanting photographs alongside a man in a kilt!

  12. Awww, it's like a fairytale and the american lady was the fairy godmother :-) The music you chose was beautiful, too - I love Katie Melua. Your happiness just shines right out into my living room - thank you for making me smile :-)

    PS I've always wanted to visit Applecross, is it very lovely?

  13. Lovely story, Rory. It’s nice to know I’m not the only person that fate smiled upon via the internet. Guess how my Aussie hubby and I met? Yup! Same M.O. as you. I lived in Canada, he lived in Oz... The rest, as they say, his history! :)

  14. gorgeous! it's all in that kiss photo!

  15. Annie! Applecross is 'nice' - it's nothing spectacular but has a cosy wee bar looking out at the sea and the folks were incredibly friendly - but the JOURNEY TO APPLECROSS IS AMAZING! If you take the route over the hills to get there it is quite simply the most breathtaking journey in Scotland. There's a scene in that video where we're on top of a mountain and there's snow all around with the sun shining through - that's part of the trip to Applecross. It's single track road all the way and apparently in summer is a nightmare as it's so busy - but off season, as it was when we went - we didn't see a single car. Be warned though - once in Applecross, if it starts snowing heavily on the mountains - you can't get back out. You might be there for several years lol.

  16. Cre8tivesoul - Yeah! I'm delighted for you both :) At first it was really difficult having to jump through all the immigration hoops - took three years just to get my permanent residency status and the right to work here - so it was a really tough three years. But we got there in the end :)

  17. Thanks, Rory! I've heard and read lots about it over the years and always intended to visit. I'm off to Carcassonne (France) in a couple of weeks with my daughter, Isla - another of my must see places:-)
    Your beautiful video is a great advert for Scotland - and fairytales coming true :-)