Stromness a a sunny day
Stromness on a lovely sunny day.

      ‘Oh no, I don’t like it at all. I think it is terrible and I wish it will be over soon!’

I look at her in astonishment and don’t know what to say.

      ‘I can’t sleep at night. Don’t know what to wear. I have to water my plants twice a day. All I can do is sit in the house with the doors and windows closed and the curtains too! I feel like a prisoner in my own house.’ she said quite upset, angry even.

     ‘I called my sister in Kirkwall, you see, I was going to visit her. I called it off! I don’t dare to leave the house. I went to the butcher’s early this morning and he said that this weather would last until the end of the week! I don’t know what to do with myself!. How am I going to endure?!’ And she slumped her shoulders in a sort of defeat.

     ‘And now poor Mr. Sinclair has died. No wonder with this terribly hot weather. It’s no good for anybody. The funeral is on Saturday. I just hope the weather changed by then otherwise I won’t be able to go! It is just way too hot!’ She said while raising her voice and her blue eyes flashing behind the gold-framed glasses.

‘We never had anything like this in the past. Well, maybe in 1976. But I was a lot younger then! And now the only thing I could rely on has changed. Where is the world going to? I don’t know. It is for God to decide. Well, I better be off, it is getting too hot for me. Goodbye.’

She stood up rather quickly for her age and walked away, back slightly bent, in a small quick pace, cane ticking on the pavement and with her string bag of groceries dangling from the crook of her arm.

She left me rather dazed on the bench overlooking Scapa Flow. I only made a remark to her how lovely I thought the weather was. Lovely and sunny and 23 degrees. So nice and relaxing. I guess, as an Orcadian, she did not agree with me.

Now, you might think this is a story about an old lady’s suffering (in her perception) of a sunny and hot Orcadian day in Stromness. But this is clearly a story about climate change! 

Is she right though? I wondered while overlooking the reflecting sun on the water….

I found the answer on the website of ‘Show me your stripes’ http://www.climate-lab-book.ac.uk/  A wonderful website full of climate information from around the world, well worth an exploration. On this site, I found this picture of Scotland over the period 1883 to 2018 in climate stripes.

The pictures read like this, White stripes represent the average temperature of 8,5 Degrees Celcius, Darkest blue is -1,6 Degrees Celcius of the average, Darkest red is +1,6 Degrees Celcius of the average.

It is clear to see that during the years more red stripes are entering the picture. The lady has got a point. Scotland is getting warmer. But I can’t tell if 1976 was a very red year.

Charlotte Gannet

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