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Oh, to be in the snow and sleet of Scotland now that it’s summer there

Scottish heritage is no barrier to feeling the cold, writes Phil Brown

We were freezing the other morning but I saw the guy across the road go out in shorts and a t-shirt. I guess that’s because he is Scottish.

Which made me wonder why we were so cold since we are very Scottish too.

We found out just how Scottish when we lodged our DNA recently with Ancestry.com.

My wife, who is a McLean turned out to be 67 per cent Scottish with origins around the Isle of Skye. She’s also Welsh, Irish and other things including slightly Portuguese. Who knew?

My mum’s maiden name was Janet McLaren Scott and her family origins are entirely Scottish while my father was born in London. Turns out though that I am slightly more Scottish than English which surprised me.

I’m 43 per cent Scottish and 39 per cent English with some Scandinavian and Irish thrown in for good measure.

So quite a lot of Scottishness in our house and our son’s name is Hamish just to seal the deal.

We have been to Scotland a few times and we always feel really at home there. Each time I have gone one of the first things I have done is to eat haggis and on our last visit in 2017 Hamish and I tucked into some on our first night at Inverness.

That trip was in late November and I had asked the lady at the hotel what it would be like at that time of year and she said … “Autumnal”

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Well, that was a bloody understatement. I guess it was autumnal sleet that greeted us the day we did our boat tour of Loch Ness. After that it was just autumnal snow. Luckily the snow stopped the day we drove from Inverness to Plockton, the little village where they filmed the television series Hamish Macbeth. We were big fans, such big fans that we named our son after the main character.

We were rugged up for that day trip to Plockton and remained rugged up for the week we spent around Inverness.

Because despite our Scottish DNA we feel the cold. In fact, I think the coldest I have ever been was during a double-decker bus tour of Glasgow many moons ago. It was again, autumnal, and we sat on the top deck in the open air and I had forgotten my beanie. By the end of it my ears were frozen and I reckon you could have snapped them like potato crisps.

We have a few Scots in our neighbourhood and a Scottish lady we know was passing the other morning walking her dog. She told us her husband was away in Edinburgh where it was freezing and raining and I thought, fair enough, until I realized that it was actually heading for midsummer there.

Despite my tartan trews, my tartan Tam o’ shanter cap, my tartan slippers and my tartan dressing gown, maybe I’m not quite as Scottish as I think I am. Because I am not sure I could cope with the climate.

Aye, but I do love my haggis.

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