Denise: It was on the national news last night: the warmest, sunniest and driest part of Scotland this year has been the Outer Hebrides. It wouldn’t surprise me if this is picked up by the wider media and it turns out we’ve been the best place to be in the UK all this year! April and May were very sunny and dry, if cold for the time of year, thanks to winds from the north east. June brought a heat-wave with it, and though the rest of the month was less sunny, with more variable wind directions, it was dry and mild. July is proving more changeable, but still very dry. In more than three months we’ve had only two days of anything stronger than light winds and fine drizzle or a passing light shower. Water supplies are very short, especially here in South Uist, with Scottish Water setting up temporary pumping stations to extract water from fresh-water lochs to top up the usual supplies. Despite more recent rain, the ground is still very dry and grazing for the sheep and cattle is scarce. It’s been noticeable how few wild flowers there’s been this year. May and June are reliably sunny and dry, in the Outer Hebrides, and particularly here in the southern isles, but this year is exceptional. As it has on the east coast, and England too – but for the coudiest and wettest June since records began, and an exceptionally cloudy and wet spring and summer generally. Apparently, it’s all to do with the jet stream.
Jonathan: Time flies when you’re having fun … and when you’re struggling to get done all that needs to be. Today it’s a full month since my last blog, and it’s not as if there’s nothing to write about! The fine dry weather has continued almost unbroken since early April, and the long days and lack of cloud mean it stays light enough to work outdoors until 10:00 or 10:30 – so I do. It’s still light when I take Tilly for a walk before bed-time. But for all the effort, the worklist only seems to grow.
Jonathan: Yes, at the Big Garden, 1 May is indeed Runrig Day! Since we first got Runrig’s ‘In Search of Angels’ album, every 1 May I’ve plaid Maymorning full volume with all the windows wide open – a celebration of new life rising, an affirmation of everything the song has to say. The words stir the soul, but the music makes the body jump with joy! The other tracks of this album are also especially life-affirming, acknowledging the value of all the conditions we face over the years, from joy to sadness, hope to despair, from love anew to the loss of a loved one. This Maymorning, this May Day, has been a fulfillment of all our winter-cherished hopes for fine weather, warmth and ease. Today has been glorious! Clear blue skies; warming sun with no more than a light cooling breeze, the grass greening and growing so well we can hear it!; the white sands and the many-hued seas and the familar outlines of the islands; fishing boats about their work; lambs skipping and their mothers baa-ing, gannets a-diving … If, to you, life is but years of work and possessons, then come you to Uist in May, and see life afresh, see life as it truly is, with the eyes of angels!