I once lived in Edinburgh for two years, finally driven back south by sub-zero temperatures and bitter winds off the North Sea. A common tale, I suspect.
Despite an insatiable taste for John Buchan novels and the books of Sir Walter Scott, it became clear to me that one doesn’t actually have to live there to enjoy them.
That’s a lesson every wanderer north should appreciate. Nothing makes Andalucia more enticing than a winter spent in the vicinity of Princes Street.
Finally, usually as the second winter hoves into view — and there’s nothing more ominous than that — all one’s compasses start to point south with an intensifying urgency that can’t be denied.
Me? I spent the next two years on the Swan River in Western Australia and soon after, seven on the Costa Del Sol. Not Torremolinos, though, but the delightful Benalmadena Pueblo halfway up the mountain behind.
“Oh, the heat!” exclaimed a Scottish relative who arrived for a short break in a our new villa with spectacular views over Gibraltar and Morocco. “Gimmee Glasgie any day,” he groaned, wiping away another cupful of salty sweat
And that perfectly sums up the northern temperament. Self-torture as a pledge of loyalty to the dark land of football and haggis.
Now, the auld country is to vote on becoming even more isolated from warmth and civilisation. Oh, well, they’ve always got the Buchan books to cheer them up on those endless inky nights with the icy winds reverberating through the frozen rafters.
What makes me a little annoyed though is that we English, Welsh, Cornish and Northern Irish have no vote in this fight. A proposal to smash our country up is to be decided by a handful of bolshie Scots — most of the sensible ones already live south of the border.
You don’t have to go on proving your name is Cameron, Dave! But if you do break up our, until now, rock solid country, and send it tumbling down world league tables, you will go down as an unmitigated disaster for this country and not many people will forgive you for that.