Icy Scottish weather has positive spin to it

Prior to departing for Scotland, we took our ageing Doberman off to the veterinary clinic to obtain a professional opinion on her condition. His verdict confirmed what we had suspected and that was that it would be a kindness to have her put down.

We arranged for this to be done two days later. It was after 5.30 on a Monday afternoon as we left the clinic and, on the spur of the moment, we decided to give her a last walk along the Park Rynie camping grounds.

Since it was so late in the day, or early evening, we thought that the area would be relatively quiet and ideal for her to have a good sniff around. At the boom gates several people were standing at the office and we were informed that to enter the grounds would cost us the princely sum of R90! We were astounded as the cost of passing through the booms at Scottburgh main beach is a mere R30.

We disappointed them by turning down their ludicrous offer, suspecting that the hangers-on were hoping for a share of the entry fee. I had hoped that I could pass some information onto readers about our visit to Northern Ireland, where we spent Christmas with family and friends, and Scotland.

For two South Africans leaving a sun-baked KZN South Coast with temperature in the upper 20’s, it was a shock to land at Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam and discover the mercury hovering just above freezing – and that was at 9h30 in the morning! Belfast was even colder with the temperature plunging to -3 degrees.

We departed after three days of feasting on the culinary delights of my daughter’s father-in-law, who is a master chef, and headed to the airport to catch a flight to Scotland.

Our flight was scheduled for 2pm and as we drove to the airport at midday, we encountered heavy frost along the way – the sun had made no impression on the icy conditions.

Our flight was delayed by an hour, as the snowy conditions at other airports in the UK and Europe had had a domino effect. The pilot on our Scotland flight informed us that we could expect a temperature of -2 degrees at Edinburgh airport.

My son-in-law had left their vehicles in long-term parking and it took us about 10 minutes to defrost the windscreen before we could attempt the journey to their home.

The temperature was indeed -3 degrees but with the icy wind blowing off the North Sea, the wind chill factor must have dropped the temperature considerably lower.

Cycling has not entered my mind as the roads are iced up and patches of smooth “black ice” on cycle tracks and sidewalks were enough for me to abandon any thought of cycling. According to the United Kingdom weather forecast, the maximum temperature for the duration of our stay in Scotland is going to be no higher than 5 degrees. I now know from where the expression about monkeys and brass balls originated!

The icy weather had a positive spin to it.

Since we were house-bound, we had the opportunity to enjoy a spell of close togetherness as a family, something that had eluded us for so long as we live so far apart.

Henry Parsons

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