November and, yes, trees are gaudy in gold and orange but only when the Scottish sun shines, and you can count those days on one hand.
Ach, I’m just mumping because when you get out of bed to greet another day you can’t always tell if dawn has broken. Dreich skies and a variety of rain – you name it, we’ve had it.
Speaking of naming uninvited droplets from above, we’ve got a few: bucketing, lashing, drenching, pelting, stair-rods, skudding, stotting and peeing down. And the lighter varieties: spots, dabs, drizzle, mizzle, haar. The latter of course most often confining itself to the East coast while the West basks in unblemished summer sunshine.
I have, to accommodate our indigenous weather, a variety of umbrellas: tartan, spotted, black of course and many more – though most have broken spokes fighting the horizontal variety. The best of these, of course, are now circulating on buses or left in shops. At one point I thought of opening an umbrella shop to customise them, rather along the lines of T-shirts. With phrases like “Ah ken it’s rainin’ but am smilin’”. OK, you can do better. Anyway, it was just a passing thought which has now passed.
Even reputedly the largest flock of sparrows on the Scottish mainland commuting from my neighbour’s holly tree to the daily replenished fat ball dispensers cannot be lured from its protection to this banquet through your actual authentic Scottish rain.
In fact, I think we should register the patent if we could. The cat, rescued one year ago, has, of course, long since realised on which side his bread is buttered or how to stay dry, and must have bladder control the envy of us all because he seems to last an entire day without a quick dash through the cat-flap to relieve himself. I know this because his fur is bone dry and cosy to the touch, evidence of a dreich day dallying by a radiator.
But let’s be fair. Rain provides us with electricity, fluid for flora and fauna, and the national drink – Irn-Bru. Alright, malt. Confined indoors, I have at last no hiding place from the freezer needing defrosted, the oven de-grimed, the windows needing cleaned, polishing the unpolished and the pile of papers on the table which has grown to mountainous heights. I also find myself under compulsion to cook my comfort food: cauliflower cheese topped with streaky bacon, homemade lentil soup, apple crumble. Yummm.
As the skies outside remain grim, I pop into the DVD player a cheery film – and here I betray my age – Easter Parade, with sparkling performances from Fred Astaire and Judy Garland when movie stars had to act, sing and dance their hearts out, or perhaps a Hitchcock thriller.
I might pick up that novel which has been buried amid that pile of papers, and with cup of tea, or glass of malt, settle down for the skies to clear as of course they will . . . in time.
Mr Smokey (rescue cat) will perhaps by then have ventured out briefly by necessity and the sparrows nipped in between showers for a bit of a peck. With night taking over from the dreich day-time shift, I can smell the soup on the simmer in the kitchen.
As for that oven, the freezer and those papers – ach they can wait for another dank day because it will come, sure as eggs.
Christine Grahame is the SNP MSP for Midlothian South, Tweeddale and Lauderdale