I had thought that sometime this week I might write something to make you envious; an account of how warm and sunny it is where I am on this island off the west coast of Africa. How I am lying in the sun during the day and letting the heat leach into my bones. As it happens, it hasn’t really worked out that way (yet). It’s windy and cool and we woke up yesterday morning to torrential rain, the sky was rumbling like an ogre’s belly. It was the soundtrack to a thunder-plump* the like of which I had not seen or heard in years. We eventually pulled back the curtains to find that the deluge looked even more dramatic than it sounded. Pools formed quickly as the water danced. We, in contrast, moved slowly and were amongst the last to arrive for breakfast. En route, we weaved around buckets that had been strategically placed to catch the rain that had begun to stream through the ceiling at numerous points of weakness: buckets in corridors, buckets in the lobby, buckets on the stairs. To say the hotel was like Niagara Falls would be an exaggeration, but think of the lesser falls at the Glens of Antrim, and you’re getting there!
Now, if that sounds like I am staying in ‘Fawlty Towers’, I’m really not. It’s a lovely place, apparently it’s just not built for torrential rain! Whilst I might have appeared to take the rain-catching-bucket-obstacle-course in my stride, a part of me didn’t quite know whether to laugh or cry. “Now,” T. said to me, “we have two choices here. We could be Nora Negative Knickers and moan all day about ‘Dear Liza’s’ buckets or we could put on our Pollyanna Positive Pants, rise above it, and have a great old time!” I weighed up the options on offer. “Dear Liza only had a hole in her bucket,” I told her, “this place has countless whopping great holes in the roof. I think the whole place might be about to cave in.” It wasn’t, of course, and in a matter of just six hours it was as if it had never rained. The buckets were gathered in from their muster points, and the only reminder of the many breaches to the building were the few towels that were left by doorways to sop up the water that had poured in from outside making the polished stone floors slippery.
By late afternoon we were sitting on our balcony wearing our sunglasses. “What are you humming?” T. asked me, looking up from her book. I hadn’t realised I was humming anything, yet my ear-worm of choice was The Beatles’, “I’m fixing a hole where the rain gets in / And stops my mind from wandering / Where it will go.” I’d never really thought about those lyrics before. It’s a big ask: fixing the holes in one’s mind so we don’t wander so much in our thoughts. I think I’m happy enough to let the holes in my mind drip-feed thoughts but I’d be much happier if this hotel didn’t have so many impromptu internal fountains!
There’s more rain forecast for today. My expectation of lazy days falling asleep on a lounger in the shade with warm air enveloping me is not to be fulfilled. But at least it is warm rain with a high and bright sun occasionally breaking through. When I find a sheltered spot I’m warmer than I have been since July, and it feels good. They say you can get too much of a good thing, and besides, the rain reminds me of home!
* thunder-plump = Ulster-Scots, a heavy and sudden shower of rain accompanied by thunder and lightning