When Part 1 (Inverness) begins, it's 1945, and Mrs. Randall and her husband, Frank, have moved to Scotland to rebuild their marriage as Europe rebuilds itself after World War II.
After some bouncing of bedsprings, they talk about genealogy, particularly Frank's great-great-great-great-grandfather Jonathan Wolverton Randall.
Later that afternoon, Claire (that's Mrs. Randall's first name, it seems) goes shopping in the town square and buys some vases for her flower specimens. She likes botany.
She meets up with Frank and they return to the place they're staying together, where they find a bloodstain on the steps.
No, a serial killer isn't on the loose (although Claire briefly suspects this); it's chicken blood (maybe Colonel Sanders is on the loose) as part of a ritual sacrifice for Beltane, one of the four ancient feasts.
They go down to the pub, where Claire meets Mr. Crook, an old man who agrees to take her "for a tour of the local shrubbery" (1.95). This is a botany thing, not a double entendre. (Trust us: there will be plenty of opportunities for double entendre later.)
After a night of drinking and Gaelic folktales, Claire returns home.
The power flickers while she's upstairs brushing her hair. A little lack of electricity doesn't inconvenience her, though, and she lights some candles.
When Frank comes in, he looks like he's seen a ghost…
And he has.
He saw a Scotsman, "in complete Highland rig-out, complete to sporran and the most beautiful running-stag brooch on his plaid" (1.150). He's not doing Braveheart cosplay, either; although it was windy, the man's kilt didn't move in the breeze.
Later, Frank is still thinking about the man. He wonders if he's someone Claire had an affair with during the war. After all, it was six years.
She swears she hasn't… but then she starts wondering what Frank did during their six years apart.