A couple of weeks ago my wife and I travelled a couple of hundred miles North of Edinburgh.
She had an interview for a job at Gordonstoun and partners were invited to go along.
I was reluctant but with them mentioning partners it seemed like it would be detrimental not to go.
I had already discussed my misgivings about the possible move with my wife.
But she felt like she had to apply for the job as she fitted the job description perfectly.
The Journey North
My parents had kindly travelled up to look after the kids whilst we were away.
We set off at 6am to get to where we were going with plenty of time.
Typically the weather had taken a turn for the worse and it was snowing.
We needed to get through the Cairngorms or go around them via Aberdeen.
To make it there on time, we decided to take the risk of going through them and stopping at Aviemore for a break.
The roads were clear enough until we turned off to go into Aviemore.
At that point there was a few inches of snow lying on the road.
We had a lucky escape at one roundabout when we skidded and bumped the tyre off the kerb.
There was a nice cafe on the main street that we popped in for a coffee and to calm down after the skid.
Shortly after we left, the sat nav tried to take us down a back road to Elgin and my wife insisted we turn back to the main road.
Another half an hour later along the journey and the snow was barely visible on the ground.
And we arrived in Elgin, way too early but in one piece.
The further North we went the more cut off I felt.
Elgin’s a town with much of the stuff you’d want but it didn’t stand out as being anything special either.
The surrounding countryside on the other hand is beautiful and if you wanted to get away from it all, it would be an ideal place to stay.
Still, that’s not going to suit everyone.
I grew up in the sticks so I’m used to it but I’m not sure I would want to go back to that kind of isolation.
On arriving at Gordonstoun, there was no space in the visitors car park so we had to improvise.
It has quite a sprawling campus so we found a space on what looked like a piece of waste ground where the staff park.
The reception was through an odd entrance at the back of the main building.
As we entered the place, I already wondered what we were doing there.
I didn’t get good vibes, especially when they told me I would be going on a road trip the next day.
I had hoped I would be able to explore the surrounding area at my leisure.
Staying The Night
The first day at Gordonstoun was cold and we spent a lot of time wandering around the campus going from building to building.
If my wife got the job we would be provided with accomodation and we were able to look around it.
It was nice enough, although very overlooked and it was a mish mash of extensions added onto a smaller house.
I could see myself living there if I had to but it wouldn’t have been my first choice of somewhere to live.
That evening the school had booked us into bed and breakfast accommodation in Elgin.
It was a little disappointing and felt quite impersonal. The room was also really cold even though the heating was on.
The bathroom had no heating so venturing in there wasn’t a pleasant experience at this time of year.
After settling in for an hour, we then had to go back to Gordonstoun for an evening meal.
I thought my hands were going to drop off it was so cold in the school’s dining hall.
And they had the air conditioning on cold. It was unpleasant.
I didn’t enjoy the evening and particularly when all of the Gordonstoun staff swapped seats half way through the meal.
Having gotten through that experience, we got back to the bed and breakfast and my wife then had to prepare a presentation.
It was only announced earlier in the day that she would need to put something together for the following day.
A bit sneaky when all we wanted to do was sleep after getting up at 5am and driving for 200 miles.
The Second Day
The school arranged for one of its former employees to take me and another partner for a road trip along the coast and then to a whisky distillery.
My wife and the other job candidates had a day of interviews and other more taxing activities.
It was another freezing day and my hands were like ice.
For the first few hours we went from village to village along the Moray coast, getting out occasionally to have a look about.
There are some lovely sandy beaches that barely anyone visits.
After a while we stopped for coffee at the Moray Golf Club.
It was nice to sit somewhere warm for half an hour and it was interesting to see the jet planes landing at RAF Lossiemouth.
They didn’t half make a racket. Although I guess the locals are used to it by now.
Then we went on to Hopeman harbour to look at a couple of boats owned by the school.
We walked out onto the pontoon to look at the two Cutters and the waves were rocking the thing quite wildly.
It felt like we were standing above some very deep and cold water.
I’m sure it was safe enough but it didn’t make me want to take up sailing any time soon.
After leaving the coast, we headed inland through Elgin to the Glenfiddich distillery at Dufftown.
We had a tour of the distillery which lasted about an hour and a half.
It was really informative and I would recommend a visit.
After the tour we got to taste a few whiskies. although I just sniffed a few of them as I was driving home that night.
Then we had lunch in their excellent coffee shop. I was ready for something to eat by then.
After lunch we headed back to Gordonstoun and thankfully it was time to make the journey back down to Edinburgh.
A Little Bit Confusing
The journey back home was far less eventful because much of the snow had disappeared.
We were glad to get back before the kids bedtime as we’d missed them over the couple of days we’d been away.
My wife got an email from Gordonstoun the next day to say they’d hopefully make a decision early the following week.
It was a long weekend as my wife doesn’t do waiting to hear news very well.
Monday came and went without hearing anything.
By Tuesday afternoon when she’d still hadn’t heard anything we assumed the worst.
My wife emailed the school and asked if a decision had been made.
Silence. We didn’t hear anything back. It felt rude and unprofessional.
It wasn’t until the Wednesday afternoon that she received a letter from the Headmaster by email.
I felt a sense of relief when I read the letter that she hadn’t got the job.
It didn’t feel like the kind of place I wanted to be.
I said to my wife that if she applies for any more jobs that we’d be better moving South of the border.
Thankfully she agreed.
A Lucky Escape
I can’t help feel that we dodged a bullet.
If my wife had been offered the job she would have felt like she had to accept it.
I would have gone along with it assuming the overall package had been right but I would have done it reluctantly.
It was further away from extended family, situated in the middle of nowhere and didn’t feel right.
To say I’m relieved is an understatement.