The Hottest Summer

The man wanted to go to the Alps. He had been dreaming of snow-covered pointy mountains, and his alpine friends had given him FOMO again. He hadn’t been to Chamonix for over six months, and was eager to return to the land of mountain guides, expensive lifts and white sunglasses. He knew there was much fun to be had in Chamonix - indeed, he was known as ‘Le Blonde Frisé’ after an unfortunate incident in Elevation bar.


He wanted to climb to the top of the mountains, and by the hardest routes possible. He agreed with a cheery (and very strong) Scotsman to travel to the alpine, for an extortionately priced holiday. They would surely reach the top of many high things.


But the hottest summer had other ideas. People were saying it was too hot, the snow was melting and the mountains were fermé - it was the worst summer since 2003! The snow-covered spiky mountains were now almost devoid of snow, their true selves revealed. They were not pleasant - all choss and rubble and loose rock, which was determined to fall on him, and his Scottish friend. He couldn’t even get a cheap ice cream in town, since ice was in such demand. This did not make him happy.


Nevertheless, several times they went high into the mountains. On one occasion they had to spend several hours rapelling down a gentle slope, using Jenga blocks and spikes of rock stuck into mud. It was no fun, since the snow had melted and was now on its way to the Mediterranean.


On another attempt, they were high on a route on the Grandes Jorasses. The rocks - or rather, Minis and Ford Mondeos - kept falling, but the pair kept dodging. After some time, they feared for their lives and decided to bail, which required a helicopter. It was a terrifying experience, but they both eagerly agreed: they now wanted to be helicopter pilots.


Now the man has moved to Canada with a different Scotsman, to search for colder temperatures and ice. He has seen pictures of Canadian pointy mountains, made entirely of rubble. He is slightly concerned about the regular use of the words ‘choss,’ ‘bears’ and ‘eh.’


His name has changed, and in Canada they call him ‘Taaam, eh’. He does not understand the word ‘eh,’ but likes it, and regularly uses this local dialect. ‘Don’t get eaten by the bears, eh!’ the Canadians tell him. ‘Remember, it’s all choss, eh!’


But the hottest summer has followed him (or perhaps he has unwittingly followed it?). Canada has had the hottest, driest summer on record, and he has began to curse and scream and shout... again. He just wants to climb on the snowy spiky mountains. What must he do? He decides to go sport climbing and eat maple-flavoured bacon instead.


The man wonders what has caused his mis-fortune. Perhaps it’s the Scotsmen he is sharing his adventures with. Perhaps the hot weather is like this all the time in Scotland, but the Scottish pretend it’s miserable to keep it to themselves?


The man hopes winter arrives soon in Canada. He’s not picky, but if the temperatures could stay at -5 degrees and sunny, he’d be happy. The thermometer currently reads +10 degrees, so there’s room for improvement, eh!

Tom LivingstoneComment