Hot air predicted from the south . . .

Yet again, the weather folks are telling us that we’re to have a heat wave up here, but so far all we’ve got is endless gusts of piffle-paffle, some heavy rain, and promises of temperatures ‘soaring’ over 25ºC. Still, cool is how we like it, and they can keep the hot air down south to themselves, as long as we have sunshine and a few dry spells to get the upland hay meadows cut, whiffled, and harvested successfully.

Meanwhile, folks around the world of our acquaintance are experiencing both positives and negatives of real heat waves. While the air conditioning units are failing in Philadelphia, the summer sunshine in northern Ontario is warming the lovely little lakes and making holidays there super special. But forest fires are raging in tinder-dry regions like Spain, Portugal, and British Columbia. Down south they’re chatting about ice buckets to put your feet in, or cold hot-water bottles chilled in the fridge!

Recognising that international affairs can sometimes impinge, especially in the context of Iran and the Strait of Hormuz, as the tit-for-tat tanker sequestering there may imminently translate locally into dramatically increased heating oil prices, we’ve put our order in to the Allen Valleys Oil Collective for August (traditionally one of the cheaper months to buy heating resources). But we expect that we’ll be caught out, just the same, since we’re probably too late. It can only get worse though, so better sooner than later.

But not much else of the outside world really affects us here in the Allen Valleys; it’s always transport issues and fuel prices that make us perk up our ears and take notice.

No, we’re far more interested in local news, local characters, like the beloved folks who pop up regularly on the Antiques Roadshow, as in the one from Floors Castle in Kelso, aired this Sunday evening:

Stephanie Atkinson, Margaret Stonehouse and Nigel Baynes contemplate the mysteries of the ‘Stand East’ coat of arms emblazoned on an ancient Chinese plate

Without our intriguing local colour, we’d be singularly bereft — what else would we have left to talk about?

As for us, we’ll be happy if a few balmy breezes, or a momentary break or two from the sea fret at Budle Bay, permit a gentle stroll along the seaside, come early August. Or if, for one reason or another that seaside break doesn’t quite materialise, we’d be quite content to enjoy whatever summer brings us, here in Sparty, after all. And they can keep the hot air down south, for all we care.

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