A little girl's crocs by Hannah Foley. All rights reserved ( a Scottish winter an umbrella is a useless object. Not because it isn’t raining but because the wind will have turned the poor umbrella inside out and ripped it into ragged tatters before you can say brolly. There is also the regular occurrence of gravity-defying rain that appears to be pelting you from the ground up, against which only a boat is adequate defence. But an umbrella during a Scottish summer, that’s a different thing entirely.

A blue summer’s sky in Scotland will not be without a cloud somewhere. No matter how bright and warm the day, at some point that cloud will whizz over, unleash a delicate shower, and be off again before you have time to blink. It’s not something worth getting cross about because it’s been and gone before you know it, hence it’s not worth making a fuss over soak prevention either. An umbrella is just the thing, especially one of those small ones you can fold away into your bag. Little Owl’s is blue and changes colour when it gets wet. I caught her licking it the other morning.

The advantage of this insanity-invoking weather is that it provides perfect growing conditions in an all too short growing season. Everywhere vegetation is stretching and pulling in green lushness toward the sky. With my Dad’s help I made the most of a sale at our local garden centre and have installed some perennials and a few shrubs in our neglected patch. Out and about the paths are crowded by the flowers of meadowsweet, hogweed, rosebay willowherb, vetch, clover, and sow’s thistle. In great drifts the golden green of the grasses, thick with seed, shimmers in the breeze. We scoot, cycle, and stroll around our locality, enjoying the abundance, but ever alert for that sneaky cloud.

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