Thursday, June 16, 2011

The drought - what drought?

Rotterdam in drier times

It already seems impossible we had those weeks and weeks of dry, sunny weather. Today it has rained unremittingly. Heavy, hard rain that soaks with every drop. It's the rain that floods are made of, that locks you inside physically and mentally and gives you a feeling of isolation. It doesn't take me long to hate it, even though I know we need it.

My poor little Coot, who has made a beautiful nest of recycled harbour rubbish, has sat firmly on her one and only egg throughout the deluge. She had two until yesterday, but either a heron has had one, or it got blown away in the wind. I wish I could protect her somehow, but she is strong and, I suppose, used to the rain. Her nest is on the cover of our friend's rowing boat. He's always telling us we can use it, but I haven't had the heart to tell him why we don't. The boat is serving a very important purpose as a nursery, but I fear he might not see it that way.

In a barge, the rain is much more 'present' in one's life. Not that it comes in. You just hear it so much more than you do in a house. It clatters on the tarpaulin that coves the hatch boards and pounds the water around you. The only other time I've been so aware of the rain outside was when I lived in a house with a corrugated iron roof, but that was in Africa where the rain was even more torrential. But much more condensed too. It only lasted half an hour a day mostly. Here, well, it just hasn't stopped. Today anyway.

So, what does one do on days like this? Most of the time, I have classes to go to and a Koos to come home to, but today, my classes were cancelled and there was no Koos. He is in Poland. My solution was to write another children's story in between the assignments I had to mark and taking Sindy for her constitutional 'dash and slash' sorties. This story is also based on a proverb (like Cleo the cloud) and it kept me busy when I might otherwise have become gloomy. I still have to edit it, but who knows, maybe it's the start of a series? How to familiarise children with our old English proverbs through stories. It feels like quite a good plan, and of course the writing is the fun part.

Jodie is coming tomorrow, so maybe she'll be inspired to do some more illustrating. All I can say for the moment this space....and I wish you all a sunny, dry weekend. I think that's probably real wishful thinking here, but it will be true for some people, somewhere. Enjoy it if you have it xx


  1. Raining here too Val! We had one day in the sun and now to a huge storm apparently hitting us tonight...I took the time to plant some flowers in the willow grove so the rain could soak them.

    Lovely description of how it is to be there in the rain...I would forever miss the import of the written word and the amazing images we conjur from it.

  2. Val, I think the idea of writing children's stories is fantastic. You always amaze me, you just sit down and write a story! Such a talent. Id sit there all day, with probably one word on the page, thinking ok, hmm?.... I am Not one with a flow of the words.

    I understand about the rain, we've been finished with that for about 2 weeks now, and you nailed the description, the feeling of isolation, bound to be indoors. Rain makes you a prisoner, and I hate it too. I lived in a trailer at one point, so I also can understand how LOUD the rain can be. How does Sin do with it? When it's loud like that?

    We're in our dry Sun season now. So I will try to share some your way.


  3. I love this new idea of yours, and that it just came to you so naturally must mean that it's meant to be!

    We have been enjoying 2 weeks of blissful late spring weather here, always between 20-24 C and very little rain, this after a long cold spring of misery. I would gladly share with you. There has been so little rain that I might have to consider watering the flower gardens, which is something we did not need to do during the last two months at all.


  4. Rain on a tin roof, no I don't miss it at all - well not too much.
    Since living here (Eire) for 25 years I have become accustomed the ever changing weather. As many as seven different types in any one day, so we wear layers to ring the changes with and always have rainproofs to hand.

    I believe that you will do very well writing children's books.

  5. String, I'd love to see your willow grove, and I so agree about the written word. It can do more than visual images in many ways.

    Grace, I think you underrate yourself! I've seen some lovely writing on your blog! By the way, I never know what I am going to write until I start, so that's the trick..just start :) And Sin hates storms and loud rain. Like all dogs, she doesn't understand what it is, but unlike most dogs, she finds it frightening :P I'd love some of your sunshine now!

    Anne Marie, thank you! I do so hope it's meant to be, as you say. Your weather sounds perfect now, but I think you deserve it! It's not that long since I remember your complaining about endless rain, so enjoy your lovely long spring days :)

    Mel, Ireland is as fickle as Holland weather wise. I've just been re-watching a lovely documentary on YouTube about Dutch light and how the weather affects it. It is as changeable here as it is in Eire, I think. I know the feeling well of dressing in layers! And thanks for the confidence in my new writing adventure!

  6. oh poor Sin, the unknown. some dogs take it well. Oddly June is just fine with that type of noise, she's so difficult to pinpoint ;).

    The trick is, with a writer as yourself, is you have that whim...of starting down to write. I thank your for the compliment, but I am so not in the same league.

    luv x

  7. I am convinced the monsoon over France (described over to rachel's blog) made it's way to NLD.

    Wonderful idea to recast the proverbs! I mean, after a storm comes a calm. I like a cat that looks at a king. (I'm looking at a list of 600 proverbs, so I am cheating).

    love your detail of the rain and the barge and the memory.

    I'm sure it'll be dryer again soon. likely, or I hope, farmers are happy.


  8. And a good meeting it was too. :)

  9. I love the sound of rain. It reminds me of my youth at the family cottage where you could hear it so clearly falling on the roof. (and when it wasn't raining,you could hear the squirrels and chipmunks running across it).

    I love the idea that you've decided to put together another children's book. The one you posted on FB is fab!

  10. Grace, you don't know until you try - I didn't! It's amazing what comes to mind when you just start writing.

    Gina, we are still waiting for it to dry up again. It's been nearly a week and it's still grey, chilly and wet. Oh..apart from yesterday. It was lovely for the second half of the day. I'm glad you like my proverbs idea :) I only need 10 altogether. Know any good ones?

    Jo, I'll see you again tomorrow :)

    Lesley, I know many people who like the sound of rain. I guess I'm just an exception. It's instant misery for me. Thanks so much for the compliment about the book. I've posted it here too - in the last post :)

  11. Thanks for the comment Val!
    I'm very occupied at work and I cannot even think of surfing the web in the evenings nor write blogs...
    You know, the summer holidays are waiting around the corner and I have a lot of input to do before that.

    Anyway, the weather has been rather crappy for ten days now, rain, cold and wind and more rain.
    When I was a teenager I used to live in the attic just beneath the tin roof and I enjoyed listening to the rain, reading books and listen to the radio. The sound of the rain would calm me down.
    Now we have tiles on our roof and the sound of the rain is kind of muffled.


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