It’s raining today as I write this. It was raining before I got up, it will be raining when I eat and still be when I go to bed and if all goes to plan, it might still be raining when I get up tomorrow morning. For some reason I really quite like epic periods of rain; particularly when I don’t have to go out in them. It doesn’t matter what else is happening in your day or in the world at large, you can rely on the rain. It’s even a bit of a companion.
The Coronavirus lockdown has been seen 5 or 6 weeks of absolutely perfect weather in London; apparently the nicest though not warmest in over 50 years. Absolutely perfect for walking tours, 20-25 degrees every day without the oppressive heat and humidity that summer can bring. It’s a bit of a sick joke really, the same way as how Easter or a bank holiday weekend can be relied upon for rain and yet each weekend before and after for weeks in end is lovely weather.
I must say I missed the rain and upon waking shortly after 5am I could hear it on the roof and rushed to open the windows in the murky pre-dawn light. The rain was pattering on the roof, gushing down the drains. It was all encompassing and the air smelt even fresher than usual.
I decided that today would be the perfect day to go for a walk. Nothing like a bit of rain to sort out the wheat from the chaff when it comes to those who really need to get out of the house. Though quiet, the streets have still had people walking around and I think it’s so funny that ‘everyone’ was so desperate to put their lives at risk and walk in the nice weather for week after week and yet because of the rain and the cold all of a sudden they didn’t need to go out!
It was one last chance for me to wear my winters clothes, the temperature dropping for a few days from the mid 20’s celsius (mid-high 70’s) down to just 6C or 42F. I even found my waterproof hiking boots I wear when I know it is going to rain all day in London and its typically the days when I have a 10 hour walk going on!
It was so nice to be outside. I can’t say that enough. In fact I spent the first mile and half just repeating to myself how nice it was to be outside. If I don’t want to go walking for miles then I have two blocks to walk around. The small block is exactly a mile and this being England, the block is a misshapen triangle. The larger block is 3 miles and is also a vague triangle shape with a few twists along the way.
I only met one other pedestrian the whole way on my 3 miles through the streets which is exactly what I hoped for. A lady coming towards me on the pavement. As soon as we saw each other as we emerged from the sight of a bush that was blocking the view, we danced a little foxtrot on the street at a distance of about 20 feet before I decided to gallantly walk in the middle of the road. I complimented her on her fancy footwork and she laughed. And that was that, social interaction for who knows how long. That little joke may be the last that either of us ever witness.
Living in a village surrounded by woodland, there are of course trees everywhere and the rain sounds so good on the canopy and for stretches they keep the pavement dry. it being cold and moody out, I kept my hood up anyway as I just know the moment I would take it down, a giant splash of rain would evade all the branches and hit me in the eye.
Am I the only person who aged 46 still walks around in the rain when no one is watching with their mouth open to catch the rain. Well it starts with just my tongue sticking out but cold fresh rain water amongst the oaks is just too refreshing. It was raining very heavy by now and the rain was forming bubbles on the deep puddles. It was very magical in a wet sort of way.
I didn’t have my wellies on but I still had to test my well-tested waterproof boots and stand in a deep puddle. It’s very satisfying standing in water and not getting wet. The exact opposite of that feeling when you don’t wear waterproof footwear and you accidentally stand in a puddle and wonder if it will all be ok before a second or two later the damp seeps through.
On the third leg of the triangular but not triangular type walk I stopped off in Reverly Lodge Gardens which I will post about one day. Always a nice little diversion and the plants were smelling good in the rain. I bought myself a little spider plant for £1, except of course I didn’t as not only do I have no money but I HAVE no money. Of course I could have just taken it from the help-yourself stall but I took the time to find the duty gardener and in a socially distancing sort of way asked her whether I could pay the £1 later.
‘Of course!’ was the reply. I already know where in the house I will place it, when, if, I can ever get to a DIY shop or garden centre. I thought to myself how terribly British it is to be walking in the rain and making yourself wetter just to walk round a garden and then go out of your way to ask to take something when you can’t pay for it any way. Where I shall find a £1 from I have no idea but I shall even if I have to pole-dance in the street.
I walked the last 10 minutes home as I had done for most of the previous 3 miles by walking right in the middle of the road. It’s so nice to own the streets with cars. One is so hemmed in as a pedestrian but in the middle of the road you can see it all.
I can clearly see that if I don’t die or go bankrupt, I’ll be one of those people who look back fondly in a perverted way about 2020. Like how when I grew up, old people would talk about how much life was better during the war despite the… EVERYTHING.
As I finish this post I can here a wren in the garden giving singing the most beautiful song from deep within the bushes. It’s almost as if she doesn’t know there is a war on or maybe she is just glad to be out in the rain too.