Wednesday, 27 June 2007

Summer holidays

Okay, I know this is well travelled territory for me, but what the hell is up with the weather in Scotland? Where sunshine is involved, this is the country of false hope.

Through all my misery and whinging about the arctic winter conditions I was comforted by Scottish friends who reassured me that summer here was wonderful thing - warm, sunny days in beautiful landscapes. They regaled me with tales of swimming in lochs, long walks in forests and up mountains. In short, dear readers, they lied.

I doubt this was intentional. You see, the Scots had all booked their tickets to Majorca - a tradition they follow every year, and, therefore, have no clue what a Scottish summer looks like. They are Scottish. Their memories of summer are sunny. Somehow, these facts are mixed together and voila! Sun in Scotland? Lies, I tell you!

Intuitively, the combination of the warmth and good humour of the Scottish nation and it's truly appalling weather are at odds. Most countries with truly lousy climates and long periods of darkness each year have reputations for high suicide rates and depression. With all the scientific backing (cough!) of two years of living here I have developed the following theories as to how the Scots survive:

Theory One: Scots photosynthesise more efficiently than other races. They have the ability to absorb sunshine rapidly and live off it's glow for longer periods of time. They simply don't need more than two days of sunshine a year.

Theory Two: Hope and happiness are closely intertwined. All Scots need is the promise of good weather, not the actual thing. To ensure mental health in Scotland, the met office has introduced the 'catch all' icon. It depicts a sun peeking out from behind a cloud from which rain is pouring down. Anywhere else this would be called 'hedging your bets'. Here it's the daily forecast. It will rain. But the sun may peek out too. Hope.

Theory Three: Scotch whisky.

You would have thought that, by now I would have learnt to follow local wisdom when it comes to holiday planning. But no. While all sensible Scots are beginning the annual exodus to Majorca, I have just booked our summer holiday to Orkney.

If summer hasn't arrived by then.... well, we're leaving in September anyway.


Iota said...

Your two theories are spot on. but you might get freakish good weather on Orkney, and then you'll cross the line and become just like the rest. You'll forever have those memories of idyllic summers on Orkney, and wonder why everyone else went to Majorca.

Kaycie said...

We are having very unseasonable rain and cloudy days for a week at a time. It has rained so much that the creeks and streams and streets are flooding. Usually by this time of year the sun is bright and the heat is almost unbearable. I like the change, but I can see how rain and clouds every day might get a bit old. Hoping you'll have good weather on Orkney!

The Good Woman said...

Hi Iota
Yup - we certainly got lucky with the weather in Skye. I think I would then just suspect that all lousy weather in specific to Glasgow.

The Good Woman said...

Hi Kaycie - there've been floods further south here too - much damage and tragedy. And I am grateful that we haven't had that to contend with. But, really, just a little sun would go a long way right now.

Katie said...

I love the BBC's all-encompasing weather icon. It's going to be rainy with possibly a bit of sun - that's every day! Isn't the BBC cheating?

The Good Woman said...

Yes, a total cheat Katie! There was a comedy skit I once saw in South Africa talking about the inefficient weather service there. The commentator solemnly announces, 'And tomorrow, there will be weather...'. That's pretty much what the BBC icon means.

Crystal Jigsaw said...

It's quite the same here, just a few miles from from Borders. Except locals don't take holidays at all. I expect Orkney will be lovely.

lady macleod said...

You nailed us darling. I mean really what other country do you know that could turn Oatmeal into a national haute cuisine?

I wish I could send you some sunny days.. just think Africa, you will have sun coming out your ...ears, soon!

The Good Woman said...

Hi Crystal. I am looking forward to Orkney - it's meant to be amazing. I just hope we can see it once we're there.

And Lady M - I do like oatcakes! They seem to add just the right amount of crunch to any cheese.

Elsie Button said...

Brilliant! - i love your theories! do the scots really think they have good summers?! we spent 3 weeks camping in scotland once, during august and it rained every single day. not fun in a tent. the AMAZING scenery and pies make up for it though.

Gwen said...

Actually Orkney weather can sometimes be a lot better than the rest of Scotland.

Also re your theories - there is something in that. As far as I am concerned anyway, if we get temperatures of, say 20 degrees for one day perhaps then I am satisfied that we have had a heatwave. We get used to bad weather so a small chink in the gloom makes up for the rest of the year.

The Good Woman said...

Elsie - I'm picking up a tent and pie theme here?!?

I don't know that they really think summer is hot but I keep being told, 'It's not that bad...'

Gwen - I do hope you're right about Orkney (there's that 'hope' word again).

Annie said...

You know the BBC weatherman used to have wee sticky versions of that icon that he peeled and stuck all over his wee map?!

I hear the weather is very cold over there right now - wanna swap? We are sweating our butts off here, and it's only just past 9am in an air conditioned house!

Drunk Mummy said...

Isn't the damp climate why the Scots are supposed to have lovely skin? It can't possibly be down to the deep-fried Mars bars.

The Good Woman said...

HI Annie. Actually, yes!

And Drunk Mummy- I think your info may have predated the invasion of the tanning salon.

Motheratlarge said...

Yes, Scottish weather is dreadful, isn't it, but you get used to it. The funny thing is that when I lived in sunnier foreign climes I missed the wind and rain with a terrible homesickness.

We were huddled on a beach in the rain yesterday - and enjoyed ourselves. Last summer was much better than this - to be fair, so far this has been a shocker, unusually bad. More like November.