This week's weather has passed me by

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

Share
Related Topics

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.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

SharePoint Engineer - Bishop's Stortford

£30000 - £35000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: A highly successful organ...

Planning Manager (Training, Learning and Development) - London

£35000 - £38000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: A highly successful, glob...

SEN Teaching Assistant

£50 - £70 per day: Randstad Education Chelmsford: Are you a Teaching Assistant...

Year 5 Teacher

Negotiable: Randstad Education Plymouth: Randstad Education Ltd are seeking KS...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

Daily catch-up: eurogloom, Ed in Red and Cameron's Wilsonian U-turn on control orders

John Rentoul
'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes': US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food served at diplomatic dinners

'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes'

US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food
Radio Times female powerlist: A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

Inside the Radio Times female powerlist
Endgame: James Frey's literary treasure hunt

James Frey's literary treasure hunt

Riddling trilogy could net you $3m
Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

What David Sedaris learnt about the world from his fitness tracker
Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

Second-holiest site in Islam attracts millions of pilgrims each year
Alexander Fury: The designer names to look for at fashion week this season

The big names to look for this fashion week

This week, designers begin to show their spring 2015 collections in New York
Will Self: 'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

Will Self takes aim at Orwell's rules for writing plain English
Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Toy guns proving a popular diversion in a country flooded with the real thing
Al Pacino wows Venice

Al Pacino wows Venice

Ham among the brilliance as actor premieres two films at festival
Neil Lawson Baker interview: ‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.

Neil Lawson Baker interview

‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.
The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

Wife of President Robert Mugabe appears to have her sights set on succeeding her husband
The model of a gadget launch: Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed

The model for a gadget launch

Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed
Alice Roberts: She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

Alice Roberts talks about her new book on evolution - and why her early TV work drew flak from (mostly male) colleagues
Get well soon, Joan Rivers - an inspiration, whether she likes it or not

Get well soon, Joan Rivers

She is awful. But she's also wonderful, not in spite of but because of the fact she's forever saying appalling things, argues Ellen E Jones
Doctor Who Into the Dalek review: A classic sci-fi adventure with all the spectacle of a blockbuster

A fresh take on an old foe

Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering