This week's weather has passed me by

Reports of flash floods and landslides engulfing the country drift from my radio
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The Independent Online

I'm not one to gloat, but sitting as I have been most of this past week in my new wooden swing seat on my new wooden deck in blazing sunshine looking out across the loch to the Kilcheran Islands while reports of the flash floods and landslides that have engulfed the rest of the country drift from my radio, I can't help feeling a little smug. The Isle of Lismore seems to have its own microclimate quite independent of anything that Michael Fish has to say.

I'm not one to gloat, but sitting as I have been most of this past week in my new wooden swing seat on my new wooden deck in blazing sunshine looking out across the loch to the Kilcheran Islands while reports of the flash floods and landslides that have engulfed the rest of the country drift from my radio, I can't help feeling a little smug. The Isle of Lismore seems to have its own microclimate quite independent of anything that Michael Fish has to say.

Someone gave me an aerial photograph of North Argyll taken from a light plane a couple of weeks ago which could have been an aerial photograph of Saturn or whichever planet it is that's always wreathed in mist and cloud. Except for one green, bone-shaped island at the Oban end of Loch Linnhe on which the sun is focusing as greedily as Brer Fox on Brer Rabbit. Yes, it's the Isle of Lismore, or the big garden in Gaelic, where once upon a time the Bishops of Argyll had their summer palace and we our bolthole, escape hatch and long-term pension plan.

It wasn't always like this. Twelve years ago when we started building our house on a piece of midge-infested bog, as one of the Argyll and Bute councillors cheerfully described it (we were having a little local difficulty getting planning permission at the time), I seem to remember that it rained every day. It certainly rained every Saturday morning when we moved from one rented holiday house to another, children, luggage, bicycles and the hardier of our friends piled into the back of the battered open pickup we had bought from a bearded William Wallace lookalike who clearly saw us coming.

We lived in our wellies. The way things were going we were likely to end up genetically modified like the erstwhile inhabitants of St Kilda who started growing prehensile toes, monkey-style, to enable them to shin smartly up vertical cliff faces to catch fulmars, the island's only source of income. Fulmar feathers were sold for stuffing pillows, fulmar oil for lamps. I could practically feel the soles of my feet developing deep, corrugated ridges like heavy duty industrial gumboots to enable me to negotiate the mud slicks that permanently surrounded our plot.

And then suddenly everything changed. One summer it was so incredibly hot the only way to keep cool was to sit in the stream beside the house or, better still, in the waterfall that plunges into the sea. In the wet old days you could hardly see the rocks of the Kilkcheran Islands for seals, but now even they appear to be finding it too hot and spend most of their time paddling sluggishly about underwater with only the tips of their shiny black noses showing.

An Irish friend assures me that a small stretch of the Cork coast has a similar microclimate, something to do with the prevailing south-west winds that keep a minute area of that southerly peninsula as pleasantly mild all year round as the Mediterranean. There was an additional attraction, she assured me. Because of the topography the winds were effectively circular, acting as a sort of protective barrier which is why, 30 years ago when we were all scared stiff of being nuked by the Soviets, the Swiss government secretly bought a mansion in the area for its government in exile. I should perhaps add that my source is the same Irish friend who sent me a statue of the Infant of Prague to bury in my garden to ensure that we had good weather for a family wedding.

It's only up here that I really notice weather. In London it frankly doesn't make much difference if it's wet or dry apart from having to line up bowls and saucepans on the kitchen floor when it's raining because the roof leaks.

'"But isn't it fun when it's hot in a big city, all that eating al fresco in romantic pavement cafes watching the world go by,'' say friends. No, it isn't. It's hateful. Last time I ate out in the Kings Road there were so many exhaust fumes swirling round our table like the rings of Saturn that my buffalo mozzarella turned grey before I'd finished eating.

The only place I want to be when it's hot is a remote Scottish island, especially when it appears to be the only remote Scottish island that is hot right now. From where I'm sitting I can see that its pouring in Oban eight miles away and my husband has just rung gloomily from the Fort William golf course to say that a monsoon downpour has stopped play. I was going to say that being a stick in the mud has its attractions, except that its years since I've actually seen mud. As the saying goes; east, west, home's best.

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