“THERE are two seasons in Scotland – June and winter,” says Billy Connolly. Tourists laugh at the apparent joke, but natives are more likely to nod solemnly.

A typical Scottish summer goes: sunny June, soggy July, saturated August. Each year during the Fringe, local traders fill the streets of Edinburgh with outdoor seating, only for the weather gods to scorn their hubris by depositing half the North Sea on all those wee canvas parasols. It may be dry so far this year, but just give it time. Nothing says Scottish summer like cold water dripping off a sunshade down the back of your summer dress.

We’re so damn lucky.

I mean it, we are: wildly, ridiculously lucky. Unlike the vast majority of people in this overheating world, we enjoy comfortable, liveable, nourishing weather almost all the time. The small frostbite risk associated with sandal-wearing is a small price to pay for having the world’s best weather.

Have I had too much sherry trifle? No: it’s true. Our weather is changing as global temperatures rise, but it remains much more pleasant and moderate than the conditions in many other parts of the world.

Our temperate oceanic climate with all that mist, wind and rain, is in stark, delicious contrast to the harsh hairdryer heat that blasts much of continental Europe for months at a time.

The standard advice in hot countries used to be to stay in between 11am and 3pm; now it’s 10am to 4pm. People go on holiday to sit shuttered inside all day watching DVDs. Many of us idealise continental weather, but enduring close, sweaty nights under the warm recirculated air of a fan really is not the stuff of dreams.

A single photo snapped during the recent heatwave encapsulates just how jammy we are. While France burned and England was recording sudden highs of 40 degrees, my sister posted a picture from north-west Sutherland. It showed acres of pure white sand, crystal clear blue water and a single solitary human figure; this while the beaches of southern England were standing-room only. Fire engines fought blazes in east London, but the thermometer where she was said 18 degrees. To European neighbours beset by annual heatwaves, the Scottish weather must seem truly enviable.

We lean into the endless jokes, and it’s part of the national psyche to whinge about the cold and the damp and the wind. And the cold damp wind.

But this quaint notion that Britain and more specifically Scotland has “bad weather”, is a collective delusion. Our weather is ideal: fresh; mild; delightful – and we will miss it desperately if it starts to mimic the continental conditions so many of us covet.

Our weather does not stress the human body. It gives us the freedom to be active all day, every day, with very few exceptions. We have a superabundance of moisture and light so that crops grow well, and we are – or have been until now – protected by our island position from weather extremes.

One concerned meteorologist tells me the British Isles are unique in the world, our weather being in the Goldilocks zone, neither too hot nor too cold. He marvels at the way that a combination of ocean currents and wind circulation at our latitude regulates the conditions we know on these islands, keeping them highly amenable and much milder than the weather of other nations at a similar latitude. Not only does this make Scotland a lush, green, fertile place to live, not only does all the wind provide the means to make lots and lots of renewable energy, but we luxuriate in lashings of that most precious and increasingly contested natural resource, water.

For him, the population’s slowness to appreciate these charmed conditions at a time of accelerating climate change, is a source of quiet frustration. “But our weather is like the NHS,” he adds wryly: “We won’t appreciate it until we’ve lost it.”

Perhaps we need to start listening to those from hotter climes who have made Scotland their home. A French friend who’s been in Scotland for 15 years, passionately set me straight when one drizzly day I suggested she must miss the Gallic heat. “Not at all!” she frowned. “I much prefer it here.” Another friend, who was due to visit family this summer in the intense, dry heat of a north African summer, said she was already looking forward to coming back home to the “cool rain” of Scotland.

These are advantages that we have been slow to wake up to, but times are changing. Our weather could soon be a selling point. A Visitscotland international marketing campaign under the banner of “Cool Scotland” might, in future, allude to more than just our music scene.

Of course, Scotland itself is also under the heat lamp. A historic shift is taking place in the weather we’ve not-really-enjoyed for centuries. Global heating is already changing the Scottish climate, the dry conditions this summer demonstrating the forces that are at work. While that might seem superficially attractive – fewer summer downpours, for instance – the omens are not good.

Government-funded advice body Adaptation Scotland’s latest predictions, using Met Office data, are of hotter, drier summers with more extremes; warmer, wetter winters with more intense rainfall and flooding; and rising sea levels. Another worry is that the Gulf Stream, which keeps our climate so mild at the moment, could slow considerably or collapse this century. Climate scientists have already found an alarming loss in its stability. Collapse would, perversely, make Scotland colder, while also reducing rainfall in Africa and creating stronger hurricanes in the southern US, among many adverse consequences. It isn’t happening imminently, but these critically important currents are already slowing.

The point is, we’re really quite lucky with our weather, but the current deal looks set to expire. Climate scientists hope that if we recognise the benefits of what we have, it will also spur us to greater action to preserve it. Whatever we can do to limit carbon emissions would certainly help stave off the end of the Gulf Stream, which our gentle weather conditions rely upon.

So if it’s raining out there, embrace it. Fifteen degrees and blowing a gale? Ah, Scotland in August: what bliss.