A few years ago I went to Scotland for a couple of days. They had wonderful postcards in the highlands: Winter in the Highlands, Summer in the Highlands etc. They were all the same; thick grey fog with dim outlines of a couple of sheep. We could make similar postcards for the South-West of Ireland, except it would have to be rain. Endless, interminable rain. Only the temperature might give you a hint what time of the year it is. I can’t remember the last time we had a decent summer, but this year is worse than ever. After a couple of nice days at the end of May, June has been a complete wash-out and July is off to a bad start. The land is a swamp, the rushes are growing better than ever and the mud is of a boot-sucking quality I was unprepared for, so when my wellie got stuck I got an unpleasant surprise when I shot forward to tumble headlong into a pool of muck. I was not amused, but it did provide some entertainment for my horses. Minnie and Cassie watched with utter astonishment as I trashed around. Ah well, at least I didn’t damage my camera!
In a country where everyone is always hoping we finally might get a bit of a summer, even though we all know better, the weather is a great topic of conversation. The language is full of meteorological euphemisms. “A soft day” for instance means a day with a very fine, misty drizzle and a balmy temperature (too warm for a jacket, but if you don’t wear one you get soaked, miserable!). “Not a bad morning” means it isn’t raining…yet. And dull, gloomy overcast days often elicit exclamations of “Isn’t is a lovely day?” Just because it isn’t raining.
Personally, when I think of a soft day, I think of blue sky with white puffy clouds sailing along in a gentle breeze. And a lovely day is definitely not one of those grey, overcast days, where the clouds are so low that they smother the hills. I yearn for days where I don’t have to wear thick fleeces and rain jackets, but it is the lack of blue sky that gets to me most. Still, even in this wet Irish summer, there is beauty to be found. You just have to see it.