Friday 9 September 2011

Raindrops on roses

It's a soggy drizzly grey afternoon here. It's the kind of drizzle that blows horizontally through the town and doesn't feel as if it's going to get you wet until you are soaked. I've finished a jewellery order and Ray has gone to visit a friend.

*Drums fingers on laptop*

*Stares at rain through window*

When we bought our first car, not quite two months after George's death and birth, we went driving in the rain because it was raining and it suited our mood. Oh the freedom to run away from grief. We never got quite far enough away from it. We drove over the moors, parked and listened to the clatter of rain on the roof. We drove through puddles singing along loudly to songs from the 70's. It was exciting and a little scary. We found our happy out there. An odd place for it to hide.

Ray likes to drive through piles of animal poo up on the country lanes of Dartmoor, swerving across the single car lane to get a wheel in a huge cow pat. He paid for it this year when he had to change the brake discs on the smelly front wheels. We have been stuck in traffic jams of cows and sheep on the moors. In the spring there are signs reminding us to watch out for lambs on the road. Suicide sheep. They dart in front of cars to get to the safety of their mothers side. When it's raining the sheep turn brick red; the colour of Devon soil.

I used to search the sky for rainbows when the sun came out after the rain. I thought perhaps they were messages from George: a quick "hello" from his universe. Or a sign of good things to come. I never imagined they could be goodbyes.

One rainy evening we drove to the edge of the headland, made tea from our flask, put the cups outside to cool with rainwater and took pictures of the lights on the boats in the harbour blurred by the rain on the windscreen.

When it's warm enough and it rains at night, we open the bedroom window to listen. Pitter patter drip plip tink. When it rains during the day we sit at the bottom of our garden underneath the overhanging cliff and watch the plants being watered.

I worked in India for six months and left just as the monsoon season was beginning. It was lovely to sit under cover listening to the delicious warm rain. I never got used to the heat; air conditioning is the enemy of acclimatisation. I would leave the house and feel a wet towel of hot wrap around my head.

I lived in Geneva for five years. It rains for 181 days a year on average but the rain was cold. In the summer it was 40 degrees in the city and we took the cable car up through and above the haze of cloudy heat to the snowy mountains to breathe the cooler air for a while. It the winter it was -10 and rained when it wasn't snowing. Spectacular thunder storms crashed and bounced around the mountains above us.

I feel more comfortable with the rain than with the sun. Sunny days leave me sweaty and irritable and by the time Ray has warmed his bones in the sun I am boiling over: I think we run at different temperatures. We try to sit at cafe tables half in the sun and half in the shade. He wears two t shirts and a jumper and I am barefoot in a t shirt. Before we got together, when I had my own flat with sloping floors and a door to the roof terrace three feet up the wall, I would get home from work, close the curtains, take all my clothes off and be a nudist colony of one. At least until after my shower. We should probably live in a hotter country, where the expense of heating our house isn't frightening, so that Ray could feel warm more often than cold. I could get a very large fan.

We're planning an open air wedding party next year, most likely on a beach but possibly in our garden. It's a huge leap of optimism in temperate climes. But I don't think I'd mind too much if it rained.


  1. My hubs and I run at different temperatures too but I am the chilly one. We are always pointedly opening and closing windows.

    It is a leap of faith with the British climate. We got married in July which you would think would be a safe bet but our venue got flooded and we nearly had to cancel the whole thing. But nobody has ever forgotten our wedding as you had to wade to attend! Hope you and Ray have beautiful, beautiful sunshine xo

  2. I'm more comfortable with the rain too - just as well, given the weather here. I love to lie in bed and listen. Whatever the weather at your wedding, I know it will be the most amazing day.

  3. I love the sound of torrential rain- it's the most peacefuk sound I know. We got married in a downpour on a beach under a tent. When there's a will, there's a wedding.

  4. My husband talked me out of a backyard wedding. Twice. It poured, poured, poured on our wedding day. People were late because highways had reduced speeds because there was so much water on the road. It was crazy. I have been to amazing outdoor weddings though. If it rains, you'll have great stories.

  5. Must admit I'm the opposite, but I do love a good rainy day and the sound of the rain on our tin roof. We are having one of those days today, and I don't mind at all.
    Lovely post, Barb. I've missed your longer posts. You are a beautiful writer.



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