After the Rain

It’s truly a Friday for a frolic: the mountains are shining, washed green by the rain, puddles abound to the delight of the birds, the sun is playing hid and go seek with the remnant of clouds. There’s nothing like a good storm to clear the air, and when it’s followed by a couple of inches of soft drenching rain for a full day after an agonising hot drought, it’s sheer bliss!

The mountains of Swaziland, soft and fresh after long awaited rain
The mountains of Swaziland, soft and fresh after long awaited rain

Why is it that rain makes such a difference? I suppose in a way it slows things down. Cars that normally drive down our road fast enough to ensure a pall of red dust covers as much distance as possible, have to slow down as their wheels slide alarmingly on the same dust, now turned to mud. Visibility is another factor, especially in our country where mist frequently blankets high lying areas, making driving dangerous.

I love to snuggle up on my bed, or a comfy couch with a good book on a rainy day. There’s a lovely feeling of security being indoors, listening to the rain rattling on the roof, being carried away into the land of make believe. If I don’t have a new book, I enjoy going back to a favourite novel to revisit characters that have entertained over the years, or even a movie.

There’s a remake of Far from the Madding Crowd I saw advertised on DSTV the other day – missed it, of course, although that might have been on purpose. Not sure that I can cope with anyone other than Alan Bates playing Oak, Terence Stamp was a hero, and of course Julie Christie as Bathsheba was utterly sublime. Carey Mulligan, Mathias Schoenaerts and Tom Sturridge, while I know are all good actors, for me don’t have the weight of the original cast. I suppose that could also be an age thing.

The movie that always gets me in a weak moment is Out of Africa. For many years, it always seemed to pop up and demand another viewing when I was in a vulnerable state, and I would snuffle happily as Robert Redford, aka Denys Finch Hatton flew to his demise, and howl in delighted anguish at Meryl Streep’s (or is Karen Blixen’s?) throw-away line about the lions guarding his grave on the hillside! I love sad, but at times I also hate what it does to me!

Or what about crying of another sort, that provided by the likes of the Goons, Peter Sellers, and those wonderful Carry On movies that boasted one of the first South African actors to break into the overseas market, Sid James. The world moves at such a pace nowadays, and expectations of what all needs to be achieved are so high, that many of us seldom take time off to simply celebrate life, or talent, and give free rein to the emotions they evoke. Maybe that is why there is so much angst-driven behaviour, and anger, and offence and all those negatives that seem to characterise so much of what goes on around us at the moment. But I don’t want to go there today.

Talking of comedy, son Mark Elderkin is currently in a two-hander with Michele Maxwell at the Rosebank Theatre in Cape Town. Reviews are great, and how I wish I had the wherewithal to pop down and watch it! One day, when my books are flying off the shelves …. !

But the best part of the rain, is the day after it stops, when everything not only looks shiny and clean, but smells fresh too. The mud is a pain, but after the dry spell we have had, I will even look kindly on the mud. As I write this, big dollops of clouds are gathering over the mountains, lower than they have been all summer, so let’s hope their promise is truer than those that came before them.

Have a fab Friday, everyone – I’m off to frolic at the nursery, it’s time to get planting!



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