Monday, June 01, 2009

from Inverness: weather matters

Over dinner at the Kitchen Restaurant (a fairly new place in town), I lean over and tell Ed: the hostess is Polish; the waitress is Polish; the table runner – she’s Polish too.

So I ask our smiling server – how is it that there are so many Poles in Inverness?
Ten percent of the population here is Polish. She shrugs. We come here for a little while, we find work, we stay longer than we intended.
So you plan to go home?
Oh yes! In fact, I’m taking a vacation back home in two weeks and I am counting the hours! My family back home can’t wait to see me, I can’t wait to be there again!
Don’t you like it here?
Sure, it’s alright, but it’s not Poland. People here are different. For instance, so strange about the weather. It gets one degree below freezing and they freak out. Or, this week – you should hear them – heat wave! Such a heat wave!

Yes, they think it’s hot. And on the trail, on a long stretch of shadeless path, it did seem, under the weight of the pack, very warm indeed. But a heat wave? Only in the eyes of the Scots.

I look outside the restaurant window. Two young guys are spinning around on an inflatable on the River Ness.


On our walk into town, I could just hear the young boy begging for an ice cream to cool off. The dad acquiesces and then throws in – go ahead, take your shirts off, it’s hot enough.


On a patch of green, two people are practicing the pipes. I imagine they’re faces are pink with the effort. And pink from the sun.


The weather here is something of a sore subject. The bar tender in Invermoriston commented – people say – aye, it’s raining, after all, it’s Scotland! Sure, it rains, and we have sun too and all we hear about is the rain!

But the fact is, the weather changes here constantly. This spell of warm sunshine is, after all unusual.

And so we debate as to the neck leg of our journey here. The plan is to take a kayak some ways along the River Spey. How far will we get with this idea? Much depends on the weather. The ever unpredictable Scotland weather.

IMPORTANT NOTE: for the next seven days (until June 9th), my Internet access is going to be very uncertain. Over my years of blogging, I can think of only a handful of times where I could not post because of a connection problem. This may well be another such time. I will try – I’ll be hiking and kayaking with my computer in my pack (scary thought that it is). But we’re not sure if we’ll find places to stay (we have our sleeping bags) let alone places to hook up. So, stay patient please!