Tinkerbelle – a fairy tale cottage in Scotland

 

TinkerbelleI was supposed to be in New York, but instead I found myself in northeast Scotland being chased by a goose through a forest – and it was all thanks to Tinkerbelle.

My husband and I had planned to be at his brother’s wedding in New York that week, but we were stuck in the UK thanks to delays with our visa applications. Since I’d already taken time off from work and we were both feeling a bit sorry for ourselves, we decided to book a last-minute trip to the countryside to get away from it all. And that’s when we found Tinkerbelle.

Tinkerbelle is a cottage on a Balnaboth estate in Glen Prosen. She is bright yellow and round with a pointed roof, and so tiny that the surrounding trees threaten to overwhelm her. Staying in Tinkerbelle is like being in a fairy tale, in the way that fairy tales are both magical and slightly dark.

Take the goose, for example. The fancy estate house next to Tinkerbelle is guarded by a goose who struts back and forth in front of it all day. A goose guard? Magical! But when that goose tries to chase you away from the holiday cottage that you’ve paid to rent like you’re a common criminal? Dark. Being surrounded by rugged, unspoiled wilderness? Magical! Discovering that said unspoiled wilderness includes abandoned farmhouses, rusted farm equipment and a ruined stone chapel that’s being slowly torn apart by trees, reminding you of the very transitory nature of human existence? Dark.

The creepy magic of Glen Prosen overwhelmed my sense of logic. On our last night there, I went outside the cottage and saw a large frog sitting a few feet away from me. My first thought was not, “This frog must have come from the river that runs just outside this cottage.” It was, “This frog might be a prince.” We stared at each other for long time, neither of us willing to make the first move, until my husband came outside and the frog hopped away into the darkness.

“There’s a big frog out here,” I said to my husband.

“Gross,” my husband said, and we left it at that.

The glen was so many kinds of green, the result of so much Scottish rain. It pulsed with movement from rabbits and rivers and our feet on its paths. We explored it while using long walking sticks and pretended that we were Gandalf from Lord of the Rings. At night we put on thick socks to protect our feet from Tinkerbelle’s cold stone floor and watched 90s movies on VHS in front of a wood-burning fire. I remembered how much I hate Adam Sandler. I forgot about New York. I relaxed for the first time in months.

On our last day we packed up the car and drove away from Tinkerbelle, honking at the goose as we passed the estate house. He honked back angrily and flapped his wings. I knew that some other couple would arrive at Tinkerbelle later that day and he would hate them just as much, and it made me a little bit sad. This was our fairy tale, our angry goose. As for the ending to our story, “and they lived happily ever after” seemed slightly optimistic at the time given the uncertainty of our visa status. “And they lived” was probably the best we could hope for. As we drove out of a canopy of overgrown trees into the early morning sunlight, I decided that was good enough for me.

About the Author: Katie Lee is an American web content developer based in England. She writes about Cheshire, Scotland and all the stuff in between at www.eatingthecheshirecat.co.uk.

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