Your Holiday Romance: Serena Kutchinsky recalls a Christmas in Scotland - and how love blossomed over the marshmallows

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The Independent Travel
The ChristmasI met Will I was at my lowest ebb. Resigned to a life of buying dinners for one, and watching cosy couples cooing all over each other, I had given up on men, romance, and those drunken, meaningless kisses under the mistletoe. Baffled by my inability to muster my usual Christmas cheer, my mother ordered me to spend the festive season with her and my sisters in our little seaside cottage in Scotland. Too lethargic to protest, I reluctantly agreed, groaning inwardly at the thought of a Christmas spent probably snowed into a village with one pub, no shops, and a male population who were all either over 50 or under 5. Not much hope of a Highland fling there!

On my first night everything changed. I was staggering in from the car, collapsing under the weight of my mother's ridiculous Christmas swag (huge lengths of fake ferns), when I first saw him. I nearly dropped my load in shock at seeing a good looking man, under retirement age, whose hair was on his head, not protruding from his nostrils. I did not have long to ponder over how to attract his attention for, blinded by the wretched swag and dazed by his presence, I tripped over, slid on a convenient piece of ice, and ended up in an unceremonious heap at his feet. I may have been bruised, humiliated and wet, but none of it mattered as he picked me up and helped carry the rest of the bags into the house.

My Christmas was transformed, all my anti-men pledges wafted out the window with the pungent smell of his lynx aftershave. From London, he was a musician, and had come to Pennan to recuperate after the emotional and bitter break up of his latest band. Ignoring my mother's warnings about men who hide their insecurities behind a guitar. I spent the next few days permanently by his side, willing something to happen. I threw meaningful glances over the Monopoly board, invited him over for countless cups of tea but, to no avail, the only thing steaming was the kettle. His friends assured me the only thing holding him back was his shyness, so, on Christmas Eve, I resolved to make the first move. Rigid with fear and insecurity, I turned towards him and said "are you ever going to kiss me?" His only response was to take me in his arms and kiss me sweetly, if somewhat hesitantly at first. Then the power cut happened.

Nothing can ever go smoothly in my love life, and this time was no exception. The blizzard which had raged intermittently had reached full force that night and the electricity cables had collapsed. Plunged into darkness we huddled round the fire, clinging together for warmth and pleasure. Hours past, filled with conversation and kisses. We shared our life stories over toasted marshmallows and lukewarm baked beans. Our conversation only stopped when we both got too tired to speak, and curled up in each others arms by the fire.

We resumed our conversation the next day, and two years later we are still talking. It was the most romantic evening of my life, and every year we celebrate our anniversary with a meal of marshmallows and baked beans.

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