Water water everywhere

When working the dusty city streets and the sunbaked wastelands of the middle east I used to yearn for a break in the blue skies, in fact for clouds. Any colour clouds but preferably dark ones that would off-load their watery, life-giving burden on to all of us and the dingy desert lands of Arabia. That very, very seldom happened but when it did the effect was, to me,  truly astonishing. What had been yellow-brown one day blushed light green the next, bloomed dark green, pocked with startlingly bright desert flowers the next. Everything and everyone seemed happier.

Oh, and by the way, a litre of water cost you more than the same volume of petrol, more than the same volume of Pepsi-Cola. People talked darkly of the next world war being not over territory or foodstuffs but over that precious water resource. It was well known that the Saudis in particular, with their rocketting population and fast burgeoning industrial infrastructure, (a sheikh once informed me that the Saudis loved Margaret Thatcher. 'Oh yes, why's that', asked I. 'Because every time she shuts one of your factories we open one,' said he) were rapidly exhausting the aquafers deep underground from which that life giving liquid was mostly obtained. Desalination? Have you ever tasted desalinated water? I would not recommend it. Not even to shave with.

Here in the north west Highlands of Scotland it has rained virtually every day for more than a month, and when I say rained I mean really rained, deluged would be a better word for it. Usually in January we have temperatures around the zero mark, often lots of snow with light or no winds. This year, temperatures mostly up above seven, gale after gale after storm after hurricane and water, water everywhere.

Should Scotland become a nation once again - and whyever not? - one of its great hidden assets will be water. I've read that fresh water rises above saltwater so I can see the Highland rivers tumbling out, not into the sea but into great barrage balloons, ready to be sealed and towed down south for sale at a premium to hordes of thirsty Englanders and other of those parched Europeans.

Oh yes by the way we have two professional lansdscape photographers with us for the B&B this week. Hardy? I should say so. 'Can you photograph rain', I asked. 'Or even in rain?' 'Not really, not easily' came the response, 'We're awaiting the break ...'  Watch this space ... unless, of course we are all overcome by  floods 'of biblical proportions'. Build an ark? Too late now. 

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