I know it’s not officially summer until June 21st but I’ve never been one to follow the book if it made little sense. The glorious weather—and especially the endless light—of late May and early June deserves to be considered summer in Scotland, not least because it lets us see our country literally in a new light.
Yesterday I caught a jaw-droppingly inane made-for-high-numbered-channels TV show called Real Wives of Orange County. In it, overly made-up women jostled for points in materialism and aspired to leave the endless sunshine of their home (just south of LA). Endless sunshine sounds great but, after six months of it and being unable to walk on the searing pavement in bare feet, it gets old fast. Also, its palm trees, shopping malls, tract homes always looks the same, no matter what time of year. We’re really different.
I won’t argue that our dark January is a joy but at least the sledges come out once in a while and there’s a real cosiness when you get back in to stoke the fire and wrap hands around a mug of tea. But this time of year, go for a walk at 4am. The sun’s up, shining at new angles that lights the place up making it seem different, birds are hammering away and it’s as if the whole world is up & running just for your entertainment.
Same thing around ten at night: the sun dips but seems reluctant to go to bed, swinging away round to the North to shine across the Forth from behind the Lomonds. Go to the tropics to watch a sunset and twilight lasts about 45 seconds. Here, the gloaming lasts best part of an hour and a month from now, the sky over Fife never gets properly dark. Especially on those still evenings, there’s a hush, glassy water laps at the shore and each lighthouse flash streaks a bright path across the water to you. It’s so quiet you can hear the gulls squabbling on the islands and the eerie throb of a passing freighter far out in the Forth. Forget the calendar: this is summer. Enjoy!