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Daily Journal

July 3 – Summer in the City
The spooky dude at Callendar House

There's no sneaking out of Oaklands; the motion activated lights in the drive announce our departure. We know we'll only be able to see the outside of Callendar House, but that doesn't really matter. We had so much fun out late at night in Melrose we just know that are more thrills and laughter to be found.

What we find is a very misty quiet road which passes multilevel apartments before ending at a chain strung across the road. We sit in the car with the motor idling, discussing where we should park. The street lamps give off an eerie glow. We ease down a road which curves around and downward to a small house with many windows illuminated – probably a caretaker's house. Robin backs up, pulling up to the chain that prevents us venturing further onto the grounds of Callendar House, killing the headlights and engine.

As in Melrose, it is so very still. Different from Melrose is that we are not in a designated car park. We are obviously somewhere that we shouldn't be, but that knowledge doesn't sway us from our intention. Climbing out of the car, we hesitate as a dark figure appears from the bottom of the hill.

A tall, well-built man approaches slowly, swinging a paper bag by his side. It appears he is going to pass us by with only a "good evening," but he rounds back, standing near the trunk of the car. Robin has her keys in her hand and I light a cigarette (cough) thinking, now I'm armed too, just in case things get weird, which they do. The man begins to talk ... and talk ... and talk.

The more he talks, the more I'm trying to figure out who he looks like. He resembles someone famous, but I can't put my finger on it. I use this mental diversion to keep the heebie-jeebies at bay. I can only make out about a third of what he's saying – something about being let off at the wrong train station, or taking the wrong train. He's ended up near Falkirk but wants to be in Stirling.

Finally we stop responding with understanding "uh-huh"s and he turns away, walking slowly toward one of the apartment buildings. Halfway there, he stops in his tracks, holds his arms out to his side and does a decidedly head to toe Kramer-like shake. That's it! He looks like Kramer from the American sitcom, Seinfeld.

He carries on, finally reaching the apartment building, where he drops his bag and slumps against the wall. Okay. Time for us to go. With a great show of nonchalance we climb into the car and lock the doors. This is the only time in the entire two weeks of my trip that I felt uncomfortable in my surroundings and not completely safe. Some would say this discomfort never would have occurred had we not gone where we shouldn't have been. Some would most probably be correct.

Back at Oaklands, we warm ourselves with hot chocolate from the tea tray. We've had our adventure, though it wasn't quite what we had hoped for. We have had a long day and will have an early morning and long drive ahead of us tomorrow. Introspective, and not dare giving voice to the emotions that accompany leaving Oaklands and what that means, we bid each other a quiet goodnight.

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