It’s about two and half weeks since we arrived in Scotland. And I must say, these first weeks have been very good and promising for the time to come.
Usually when we come to Scotland, we only stay for a short period and rush from one living room to another, as we run around to see family and friends. This time though we have finally decided to stay a bit longer, and take our time. As well as while working, and seeing family and friends we’ll also visit a bit more of the countryside.
Right from the start, we were lucky. We arrived on a sunny afternoon, which was great after a month of disappointing weather in Amsterdam. As to be expected, the landscape looked a lot friendlier and colourful than on a rainy day.
On the way from the airport to Jim’s mum, the yellow buttercups and purple and white foxgloves in the fields waved to us cheerfully, welcoming us back in this beautiful country. Inviting us to go for long walks, trips across the country, relax and enjoy the sun. So unlike the Scotland I had known until now or had expected.
And it was sunny the whole of the first week. Everything was very nice, meeting family and friends, enjoying a drink on one of the terraces in Paisley, going for long walks along an old railway track and sitting in the garden with family enjoying the Scottish cuisine (haggis, square sausage, black pudding, millionaires short bread, tattie scones, fish and chips, smoked salmon, Drambuie, to name a few).
But then after a week, the weather showed it is true nature and became cold and grey. At first I was disappointed, a bit down even. The apartment we rent, a nice and bright place on a sunny day, felt cold. Going for a run early morning became a mental challenge of choosing between the comfort of a warm bed or a cold shower outdoors.
All the buildings suddenly turned grey. I felt the need to put on warm jumper and coat to go outside, and all I felt like doing was staying inside, or dive into a pub. To hibernate and withdraw from public life.
And it was during these first rainy days, I realised that for years that I had not been able to see through this rain. I had conveniently associated the Scotland outside of the living rooms with grey and rainy days, depressing housing schemes, smoky pubs and daily, drunken fights in front of the kebab shop at the end of the night while waiting for a taxi. All good reasons for us to stay in, or quickly dive in another pub.
Till now, now that I have a chance to observe the Scots a bit longer and more closely. Of course, like anybody else in the world, they complain about the weather. And of course, like us, they will dive into the pub on a rainy afternoon.
But there are also many that don’t give in. Rain or shine, in June the Scots will wear their summer gear, sit on terraces and go for walks. And when you are open to it, you start to see there are plenty of dry spells during the rainy days, you can appreciate the green fields, nice long days and beautiful sunsets on the lochs and over the hills.
And it’s without doubt that the saying, ‘sun’s out, tops off’, comes from the Scots. While at 15 degrees Celsius I still prefer to wear a jumper, I see here both brave men and women eagerly taking the opportunity to put on their summer gear and show off their tattoos. And I realise that with a slight adjustment of my expectations and perception, summer in Scotland doesn’t have to be that bad after all.