Thursday, August 06, 2009


In defiance of Thimbleanna, who says “And when you start talking about the weather, you’ve run out of things to say and it’s time to sign off”, I’m going to write about… the weather. In case you’ve never been to Scotland and are planning to make a summer trip, you might like to know what sort of clothes to pack. So for example…

Last week I was passing the Botanic Gardens, one of my favourite places in the world, and decided to pop in for a walk. It was starting to rain a bit – just a smirr in the wind - but a little rain doesn’t bother me and anyway I had an umbrella in my handbag. So off I set. The nice thing about the Botanics in the wet is that you usually get it to yourself and can fantasise that you’re a Very Rich Person and that this is your domain.

On this occasion, however, a tour bus had disgorged some Japanese tourists and they were going round grimly, trying to enjoy themselves. With some difficulty, because it began to absolutely POUR. It was STOTTING off the ground, and if you don’t know what that means, click on the picture below and you’ll see.

My little umbrella did keep my head dry. And my shoulders. But from the elbows down, I was drookit – drenched. I sploshed cheerfully around, enjoying the empty paths and the deserted benches and lawns and discovering that my “showerproof” jacket was nothing of the sort. Soon the paths became raging torrents through which I had to wade. As I’ve discovered before, there comes a point in wetness when saturation point is reached and you might as well enjoy sloshing and squelching and splashing because you’re going to slosh and squelch and splash whether you like it or not.
You can easily see why Scotland is so green. Here's the rockery.

Standing on a rockery path, I looked over the city to our lovely hill, Arthur Seat, which was enveloped in an atmospheric - but I should imagine somewhat damp - cloud. It seemed to be coming our way. I retreated.
Of course I was going home to put on dry clothes, not like the unfortunate tourists who were getting back on a bus and proceeding to another sodden part of Scotland. Ah, the joys of travel.

Today, by contrast, it’s warm and sunny. The temperature is around 73 Fahrenheit / 23 Celsius, which is just perfect for sitting in the shade. It’s not so good for cutting the lawn, although I’ve just done this because I am a Good Person. But as for the weeding that I had planned to do – too hot. My goodness has its limits. This is what the garden looks like today. I don’t want to leave it and go back to work in eleven days.

The other reason I can’t weed the back garden is that I need to be able to hear the doorbell because I’m waiting in for a chap to come and tell us that our dishwasher, whose catch has broken so that it won’t stay shut, is now discontinued and he can’t get us a new catch so that we have to buy a new dishwasher. He hasn’t said this yet because he hasn’t arrived – he’s now 15 minutes late. I could of course weed the front garden because I would see him coming. But it’s too hot. Even the cats seek out the shade in the sitooterie.

Ah, he’s just phoned. “What day was I supposed to come and see you?” That inspires confidence, doesn't it? “And where exactly do you live?”

Time for a cup of tea, I think.
And now you know what clothes to pack for a holiday in Scotland. Don't you? Ok Anna, I'll sign off now.
(PS. He came! He mended! O me of little faith!)


  1. Oh look at that rain. I love rainy days - but only one at a time. If it rains more than a couple in a row, I find it depressing. I do have to concede your point, though, that once you're well and truly soaked, you might as well enjoy it. I never seem to be prepared for the weather - no brolly, no coat. I expect every day to be warm and sunny. Ha!

    Your garden is beautiful, by the way.

  2. My favourite Scottish garden! Your flowers are lovely. You, of course, did not hear me hoot derisively when you said it was too hot to pull weeds. You would have to be made of sterner stuff to live here Isabelle! But then I remember, you still live there in the winter, a winter for which I would be too much of a wimp! We do have nice showers in summer though. Sometimes it'll be raining in the front, but the sun is still shinging and the ground is dry out back. Bizarre is the word for it....

  3. I've just come from Stomper's where I was interested to learn that you might be planning a trip to town in your pyjamas. So when you make that video for me could you please make it of you galumphing for the bus to town, in your jammies, in the rain, with perhaps a cat under one arm and a large frame under the other? That would make me so happy....

    Also, I'd like to make you my honorary sister, since you were shamefully shorted in that department. This is an idea I saw somewhere in my cyber ramblings today...have already forgotten where, but knew right away who needed a sister.

  4. "Coming down like stair rods" as my Granny used to say. Showerproof jackets might keep you dry in the shower, but not in an Edinburgh downpour!

    (And the reason I didn't mention our fabulously enjoyable lunch in my recent post was, of course, because I didn't want to make my other readers jealous, and nothing to do with the fact that I have been chanting "remember the frame" non-stop since Tuesday. Honest.)

  5. 23 degrees and you're sitting in the shade?? You'll freeze! (Please tell me you were wearing a cardigan...)

  6. It's so much fun reading and commenting here....I really should go and cook some supper or make a bed or sew a quilt or pull a weed, but it's too hot. Better to drink something tall and cool, and keep reading!

  7. Now, should we expect the same weather in May /April? Because that is when we are there next year.

  8. Hi I love your photos they bring me back to my Scotland I will never get back there again so I feel at home when I read your blog.Thanks.
    Hugs Mary.

  9. Anonymous11:40 pm

    Our cold winter days are 24 degrees and in the summer we mow and weed at 34 degrees.

    I love the new words I learnt there though. Our rain stots off the ground in the summer time too...

  10. I particularly like drookit. And am intrigued about the pyjamas. Will check with Stomper when I GO OUT WITH HER TOMORROW NIGHT! (I enjoyed saying that).

    Now. Blocking is what you do to your knitting when you have finished it, to even out the stitches and shape the garment. One generally 'blocks' garments like jumpers and cardis with a light steam iron under a tea towel. However a lace shawl or scarf will need 10 mins soaking in warm water, then rolling in a towel to remove excess water, and then spreading out on a clean dry towel or mat and pinning into shape. That way the laciness of the knitting is opened up and the pattern revealed, instead of the stitches all scrunched up. You can purchase blocking 'wires' which are fine wire rods that you can thread through the stitches to easily pull the garment into shape, or use pins. Lots of them. Once the shawl is dry you remove the pins or wires, and the wool holds the memory of the new shape.

    That was a far longer answer than you were looking for, wasn't it?

  11. Well, darn it, Isabelle, if I could make a "weather" post be that interesting, I wouldn't have to sign off! There was SO much more to your post than mere weather -- it was an adventure. And what an adventure, I would have loved to be by your side getting drookit -- what fun!

    Your garden is looking gorgeous -- my next visit to Scotland will have to be in August so that I can see it in all it's splendor.

    And Molly. She's soooo funny. Now I must go off and contemplate what to say in more comments so that I can keep up!

  12. I would say 23 degrees would be perfect weather for weeding, not too hot, not too cold, but since I never weed (that is Mister Fixit's department) I won't say it after all. But I do think it. Do not ever come to Melbourne Australia in summertime is all I'm saying.

  13. Well, we will be in Scotland for 4 days or so. My man has never been and is envious that I have, he want to be very 'touristy' and visit some distilleries.

  14. We are having temperatures approaching 20 degrees and I think that is much too hot for winter. What a lovely garden you have, and I do enjoy your photos, as they show so many lovely things about your city. What a relief that your dishwasher did get fixed.
    And thank you for your suggestion that I think up alternative words to songs...brilliant! Nothing like knowing what one is doing when they do not.

  15. if i could visit Scotland, i would not mind the rain! without the rain Scotland would not be as beautiful as your photos

  16. "If you don't like the weather, just wait five minutes!"