Dear Readers, I had great plans for the blog today, but the deluge started. As I sat in Costa Coffee and looked out at grey skies and slick pavements, I felt a bit down and hopeless. But then, I started to notice the effect that the rain had on everything, and so, with apologies to Wallace Stevens and his poem ‘Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird’, I’ve found 26 ways of looking at a rainy day.
1.Grey skies and rain make all the colours look brighter. The reds of the buses and the yellow of the AA van are almost startling. The traffic cones that Affinity Water have put along our road (lead water pipes have been discovered, oh joy) positively pop with brightness.
4. The rain also highlights the places where vehicles have parked on the pavement, breaking the paving stones and creating the ideal home for miniature ponds and lakes.
5.People walk faster, but give one another little smiles and eye-rolls. ‘British summer, eh’. You can never go wrong with the weather. A month and a bit ago, we were all moaning about the heat. Today, I have the heating on. In August.
6.You can hear the shape of things by listening to the rain. I remember a radio programme where a chap who was blind said that he loved the rain, because he could ‘see’ the shape of the bushes and trees in the garden. I shall have to try that out, but I love the sounds of tyres in the rain, and the rain on the roof and the windowlights. In Cherry Tree Wood, you could hear the raindrops hitting the leaves.
7.Rain brings up all the smells – there is a word, ‘petrichor’ for earth after rain. And I wish I could share the smell of these roses with you.
11. I love that some people ignore the rain, and go running anyway. In fact, when I used to run I loved the wet days most of all, the splashing through puddles and the splat of my footsteps, and the fact that I got soaking wet but was going to have a shower anyway.
12. In Taxi Driver, Robert De Niro talks about the way that the rain ‘washes all the scum off the streets’. He was talking metaphorically, but it does clean our streets up for sure. Look at how clean and new the nettles look after their bath.
13. I love that you can sometimes get a perfect reflection in a raindrop.
14. Reflections on a wet pavement are a whole other area of interest. Each car has its own upside-down double attached to its wheels. The awning at Tony’s Continental (the best greengrocer on the High Street in my opinion) looks even more splendid when reflected on wet paving stones.
17.The rain doesn’t put the birds off, that’s for sure – the starlings bathe, and the crows are still looking for chips in the gutter outside the Kentucky Fried Chicken. I should tell them that their dietary habits are cannibalistic, but I doubt that they’d listen.
18.Some people have wonderful rainwear, like the lady completely encased in a yellow poncho who just popped into Costa Coffee. Practical and bright.
19.You see more grown-ups in Wellington Boots, and that’s not a bad thing. It always makes me think of the seaside.
20.Generally, people drive more slowly and carefully, as if suddenly aware that they are piloting a ton of metal through a world filled with creatures made of flesh and bone.
21 .My water butts will be full, ready for this ‘drought’ that we’re supposed to be having.
22. Leaves are both waterproof, and designed for rain to run off and fall where it’s needed, the soil beneath the plant.
23. The rain brings out the snails. And I have a great fondness for snails, in spite of their bad behaviour.
24. Walking in the rain when you don’t have to feels a bit anarchistic, but (whisper it) it can be fun. Children know this, we seem to have forgotten it. Best save any puddle-jumping for a quiet spot, though. I get enough funny looks as it is.
25. People walk closer together, sharing umbrellas, holding one another’s arms. We could all do with walking a bit closer together.
26. Tomorrow is meant to be dry and sunny. Let’s make the most of the rain while it’s here.