Monday, June 21, 2010

Light nights



This is the longest day of the year. I’ve just checked sunrise and sunset times for Edinburgh and timeanddate.com says they’re 4.26 am and 10.03 pm.

However, I’ve just come in from the garden and downloaded photos I started taking at 10.10 pm, when the sun may technically have set but it was still very light indeed. These are in the order I took them, completely undoctored photos and taken without flash. Even now, 10.29, it's not remotely dark.


It’s been beautiful weather – but oh dear, it can’t last until our catsitter arrives at the end of next week. I would like it to rain soon because the garden is very dry and I’m having to water my tender plants. And if it rained now then it might be nice again for our visitor.


I do love summer evenings. It’s balmy and still; the birds are trilling away outside the window and the garden is frothing with oomph. Even now, at my great age, I find it hard to remember when the flower beds were heaps of sodden dead stalks covered with soggy brown leaves; or when the snow covered the ground, etched with the pawprints of cats and foxes and badgers and the delicate twiggy footprints of birds.




Now the beds are bursting with plants, elbowing for room in my little garden.





Scottish winters are dark and damp much of the time and the days are short. But they’re worth tholing (a good Scots word which means “putting up with”) because of the compensating light nights, when I’m reluctant to go to bed and the dawn chorus starts up around three. The picture above was taken at 10.20 pm.




I’m looking out of the window. It’s 10.35 now. The sky is blue-grey, tinged with pink. The birds sing on.


Tomorrow, dawn is at 4.27 - ever so slightly later.


Soon our six weeks of holiday begin. That's when being a teacher pays off...
PS - for anyone who doesn't read the comments, this is my brother's clarification of why it's light so early/late:

Sunset and sunrise aren't everything. At your latitude, 'civil twilight' - when it's officially light enough to see objects outside - ended at 11:03pm and started again at 03:31am last night. 'Nautical twilight', when it's light enough to navigate a ship, lasts all night in Edinburgh at this time of year. You are at about 56 deg north and the Arctic Circle is at 66 deg, so the centre of the sun is never more than 10 deg below the horizon on 21 June (though of course there's a hill between you and the horizon). Your big brother thought you ought to know that.
Well, there you go. Handy if I ever want to navigate a ship at midnight.



19 comments:

  1. You're making me homesick for those long lazy summer days of my youth!
    Our parents had a hard time convincing us it was bedtime while the sun shone on.....

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  2. You garden and baskets are looking bright and lovely.
    The day light hours, behaving like that is foreign to me. Even in mid summer we don't get days as long as that. It is all down to longitude I think.( we are a bit closer to the equator )
    At the moment here we are at that stage you described, damp, leafy, dull...not my favourite time of the year at all.

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  3. Like Molly, my parents had a hard time getting us to bed while the sun shone. I remember hearing the neighborhood kids still out playing and laughing.

    Your flowers are beautiful! Mine are looking smaller by the afternoon since the deer are munching them away-my beautiful tomato and cucumber plants are shadows of their former selves.

    I do so enjoy being a teacher (if only a substitute) and having summers to spend at home. :)

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  4. Ooooh...big twinge here....did you find my replacement??? Is it another blog adventure -- I can't wait to hear. I'm thinking our next trip should be in the summer -- I'd love to experience those very long days -- who needs sleep when you're in paradise???

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  5. Meanwhile, we've just had our shortest day and there was ice on the car windscreens this morning. Brrr!

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  6. Being in a desert I look at your pictures longingly !
    Yesterday and day before were hottest my side of the world with temperature hitting 49 degrees Celsius. :(
    Summers suck big time for us !

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  7. What lovely pictures in the gloaming. The flowers seem to take on a special glow, don't they?
    I've deliberately used a lot of white in my garden this year, for the pleasure of sitting out there at 10pm with the bats skimming overhead.

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  8. Lovely pictures! Even here in the north-west of England it stays much lighter in the summer months than in Australia. Also - don't worry about the rain - I'll bring my umbrella and change my photos to black and white and call them "atmospheric".

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  9. Ditto to Stomper's comment!

    Brrr indeed. Although probably not even cold by your standards!

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  10. Our English Grandmother used to tell us of the long hours of daylight, and the wonderful twilit evenings. I experienced something similar in the South Island of New Zealand.
    Your garden is wonderful!

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  11. Those long days sound lovely, and without the heat we have - it must make summer much more tolerable and enjoyable. I love the garden photos - and it all looks SO tidy. Are you going far away for your holidays?

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  12. Sunset and sunrise aren't everything. At your latitude 'civil twilight' - when it's officially light enough to see objects outside - ended at 11:03pm and started again at 03:31am last night. 'Nautical twilight', when it's light enough to navigate a ship, lasts all night in Edinburgh at this time of year. You are at about 56 deg north and the Arctic Circle is at 66 deg, so the centre of the sun is never more than 10 deg below the horizon on 21 June (though of course there's a hill between you and the horizon). Your big brother thought you ought to know that.

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  13. It was beautiful here last night - could still see as far as Worcester from our bedroom at 10.00pm. Robin was singing outside for quite q while after that, too. Teaching does have the holiday compensation, doesn't it.

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  14. Such lovely flowers...and yes last night I was in the bathroom at 10:15ish and did'nt need to put the light on...it was so atmospheric..(not me going to the loo obviously! the gorgeous light in the garden!!))I too watered my plants and thought how lucky I was with my little bit of the world...

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  15. It's amazing what you learn when bloging. The photographs of your garden are lovely, I particularly like the blue alliums.

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  16. Wow.

    My husband has told me of having similar experiences when he lived in Michigan. Having only ever lived at lower latitudes, this seems extraordinary to me.

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  17. I think the seasons and the changing day lengths are part of what makes living in this country quite special - always something to look forward too.

    Your garden looks lovely and yes, it is so had to imagine it in the winter.

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  18. Lovely garden, it must take a lot of work to keep it so, but what pleasurable work!
    Do birds still start trilling at dawn and go on all day until dusk? Don't people get tired with all that daylight? Or do you just close your blinds when you want to go to sleep? So many questions...don't feel obliged to answer, but I am curious.

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  19. I so enjoyed the 'late' daylight when in Scotland. Extra time to enjoy the scenery, walk and walk and walk...

    Your garden is looking grand.

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