Wednesday, 11 February 2009

Rain Like Nails

The view from my desk.

Bullets on Tin
Rain for three weeks now. I’m sitting in a corrugated iron roofed house in Africa with the rain smashing down on the roof like clattering handfuls of nails. These rainstorms are not the “pardon me” ones you get in England. Here the big drops plough the soil, the thunder makes your heart jump, and the blinding lightning bursts tall thick trees easy as a child snapping a toothpick.

Boat Races
The street gutters are rushing and roiling like a miniature Zambezi in flood. Mad with cabin fever, I folded some paper boats to race down my street, but the downpour scuppered all three. One did make it almost 20 yards, before being side-washed into the maw of a greedy storm drain. 

At five or six years old, I was very self-conscious about the smattering of freckles across my nose and cheeks. During a particularly nasty Transkei storm, my older sister took me aside and confided that if I went to the top of the hill behind the farm house, and held my face up to the rain long enough, my freckles would wash off. Mom found me on the hill hours later, soaked as a wet cur, face still scrunched up to the rain. The freckles didn’t budge, I got a cold, and my sister was grounded for a month of Sundays.


Anonymous said...

Love that image of trying to wash them off! Hope you've come to terms with your freckles now.

Proper rain here too (in KL) that turns streams to rivers in ceconds and makes seeing more than a metre impossible.

At least it is warm though!

Reya Mellicker said...

Sisters can be so mean.

Hard rain reminds me of the winter way back when in Portland, Oregon when I had a "nervous breakdown" (I guess) and ended up living in my VW bus through the rainy season. The sound of the rain - if nothing else - made me more crazy.

I like rain in reasonable doses. Over time though, it isn't good.

fush and chips said...

After all that, I grew out of my freckles. They just went away.

I was in KL twice last year it only rained ONCE, at night. My brother says its pretty biblical when it does though.

A VW bus in the rainy season? I have not the words. Rain is great, but in hard, short doses. You'll never catch me living in England.

Miranda said...

So maybe she was right then, about the freckles?

Great description of the rain. Same thing happening here. No chance of conversation when that's all going on huh?

fush and chips said...

Half of me still believes my sister was right about the freckles.

You have to shout to be beard in these storms.

Janelle said...

miranda!? you little pregnant liar? ! rain? what rain? oh about two days ago we had a very little storm...lovely writing as always fush. sweet freckle story. evil sister. . . like my sisters. who told me if i wore my swimming cap on the bus i wouldn;t get lice...toodely. speak soon when back from hoss safari. thanks for your comment. xxx j

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Anonymous said...

Oh boy, there's nothing like a good highveld thunderstorm! A deluge punctuated by crashes and flashes - very very frightening!

I miss them, but we get an almost good enough facsimile here in Tronno.

Brett said...

Looking out of my hotel room on the dust-shrouded city here in Kuwait, it is hard to relate to such a Joburg deluge. I always enjoyed them, though they typically lasted an hour or two when I lived there