Thursday, Oct. 18, 2007
Isle of Skye’s weather and ours sound the same
Well, we’re deep into autumn over here in Scotland.
The leaves are all golden and russet and from chimneys you can see wisps of smoke in the early evening as people start lighting their home fires again after the summer.
Autumn is a truly beautiful time of the year in Scotland. My parents have just returned from two weeks vacation on the Isle of Skye, which, for those not familiar with Scottish geography, is one of the Inner Hebridean islands.
It is famous for its mountains and coast and for its connection to Flora MacDonald, who helped Bonnie Prince Charlie flee Scotland after his army was defeated at the Battle of Culloden in 1746.
Skye’s weather is notrious for being changeable - no matter the time of the year, you can’t guarantee what the weather will be like an hour later, never mind a week or a month later.
However, in contrast to their recent annual forays to Skye, this time the folks were blessed with glorious warm sunshine and blue skies for almost the entire two weeks.
Much of Scotland seems to be enjoying relatively good weather for this time of year.
However, the tans my wife and I are curently sporting have less to do with Scotland’s climate and more to do with 10 days spent under the blazing sun of Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates.
With daily temperatures of 40 degrees centigrade (104 degrees F) and a humidity level of 85 percent it was certainly a contrast to the Scottish weather we are more used to.
Every building is air conditioned, as is almost every vehicle and during daylight, people seem to only travel outdoors when they need to go from one air-conditioned building to another - via air-conditioned car, taxi or bus, of course.
You don’t get too many people strolling about the streets when it is so hot.
Luckily for us, the luxury five-star hotel in which we were booked had its own private beach and pool.
Guests at the hotel were spoiled when it came to the superb standards of service, accommodation and cuisine.
The sea was 35 degrees centigrade (94 degrees F)and it was an ideal spot to hang out for 10 days and take it easy.
However, while holidays could always do to be longer, I always find it nice to be back home as well.
Possibly because we live in such a beautiful part of the world here in the Borders.
We might not live in five-star luxury with our every whim met instantly by liveried servants, but that’s not really that important, is it?
I enjoy vacations but I never see them as an escape from a dreary life.
I consider myself lucky that I can think like that because I know for many people the opposite will be true.
Time spent abroad is very enjoyable and helps broaden the mind. But it often brings into focus what we take for granted about our own countries.
Seen from afar, maybe there’s not all that much to complain about really?
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