Posted by: christinelaennec | August 20, 2014

The end of summer

I remember, years ago, being surprised when a Gaelic speaker referred to the month of August as the autumn.  To my mind, having only left the USA a few summers previously, August still meant broiling hot weather, open swimming pools, the last few weeks of summer vacation until Labor Day at the beginning of September.  Her answer betrayed as much bemusement as my question:  “Because May, June and July are summer!”

The longer I’ve lived in this country (22 years a few days ago), the longer I’ve come to appreciate the truth of this.  May is often warm and summery (even if frosts threaten until late in the month), wildflowers are in bloom everywhere, and the nights are strongly lengthening.  It’s much more like summer than spring.

But it’s mid-August when, in Scotland, you start to notice the nights draw in.  Granted, this means being dismayed that the sunset skies happen at 9:30 pm rather than quarter to midnight.  Schools in Scotland start up again in August – on the 13th this year in Glasgow.  And, even if (unusually) the weather is still warm, there are signs in nature that things are on the turn.  The chestnut trees, one of the first, begin to put on their fall colours.  Other trees, still green, have that windblown look of inside-out leaves that marks the end of the summer.

This year, autumn has announced itself with a real drop in temperatures.  It’s been in the teens/50s day after day, and tonight the weatherman warned some glens may see a frost.  The leaves were already beginning to turn ten days ago:

Leaves already turning, 10 August 2014, Glasgow.

Rowan leaves already turning, 10 August 2014, Glasgow.

We are savouring the last of the long light evenings, and the bounty of the garden:

Sweet peas at 7:15 pm, August 18th 2014, Glasgow.

Sweet peas at 7:15 pm, August 18th 2014, Glasgow.

The weather has been very typically Scottish – cold and wet.  This pipe band from Toronto came well-prepared.  The snare drums were covered by plastic while they played:

The Toronto Police pipe band, 12 August 2014, Glasgow.

The Toronto Police pipe band, 12 August 2014, Glasgow.

The swan babies are getting very grown-up now, and the duck babies are as big as their parents:

The swan and duck families, August 2014, Glasgow.

The swan and duck families, August 2014, Glasgow.

Mama swan has been standing and extending her wings full-length, and all eight of her children have been imitating her.  I wonder when they begin to learn to fly?

I’m wearing fingerless gloves as I type this, because although we’ve had the heat on once in a while in the last week, we’re trying really hard to resist it in August, for heaven’s sake.  Who knows, we may yet have an Indian summer and some warm days to come.



  1. I am hoping for an Indian summer, the temperatures have really dropped here over the past 2 weeks.

  2. Living in the North, I can relate to the sudden changes, although I think you may have frost a bit earlier than we. We are already seeing fallen leaves littering the ground and the nights are getting cool. Summer seems to pass quickly, doesn’t it? We try to savor every moment and hang on for dear life, but all things must pass. I do love Autumn, though. Keep cozy! xo

  3. Oh so nice your pictures are! We are still having heat in South Dakota. It is storming tonight, hopefully it won’t hail. Let you know tomorrow how it turned out.

  4. The photos are beautiful ~ love the Rowan tree!
    It’s still hot, dry, and dusty here, and I’m ready for fall. Once summer gets like this, fall can’t come too soon for me.
    Enjoy your weekend! ♥

  5. We were just saying tonight how much the nights are drawing in. I’ve noticed quite a few trees with leaves turning ( I’m sure its a bit earlier than usual). I’m hoping for a couple of more weeks of sunshine at least, my tomatoes and corn need a bit more heat than we have just now. I love the colours of autumn but I hate that it signals the beginning of short days and long, dark nights 😦 Lovely photographs. x

  6. This year we have not had much of a cool down yet, but autumn is approaching…it is noticeably darker earlier and a bit of color in the leaves of some trees is starting to ready them for their dramatic fall! xx

  7. Definitely autumn here in the Emerald Isle x

  8. Definitely summer weather here in US Midwest: 90 degrees F, thunderstorms, very humid.

    Thanks for the photos. I wondered what a rowan tree looked like.

  9. How interesting to hear the different Augusts that people are experiencing. Thanks for all the comments!

    Lorraine, I am not giving up hope on an Indian summer yet.

    Anne, I remember that longing for fall!

    marksgran, other Glasgow folks have been commenting that the trees seem to be turning earlier than usual.

    Marie, poor Ireland seems to be suffering one Atlantic storm after another just now! I think you take the brunt of it all before it reaches us.

    Constance Ann, I believe rowan is another name for Mountain Ash. My husband and a friend made our table out of an ash tree when we lived in Illinois. The tree had come down in a storm a few years previously and I never saw it alive, but I wonder if it looked like the Scottish rowan?

  10. It sounds like last year was a good year for us to come as the weather was so unseasonably pleasant and warm last mid-August and September. The sweet peas are so beautiful! Some day I will try to grow them but perhaps it is too harsh here….

  11. It is September 3, and the A/C is still on here in Iowa! I’m ready for Autumn! I think I will change the wreath on my door to my Fall one today…

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