Thursday, 27 August 2015

Pennies from Heaven.


If you are living in a green place, filled with trees, verdant pastures and arable, productive farm land then you have been lucky enough to have enjoyed rain.  Lucky?  Oh yes people, you are the luckiest in the world.  Like the words of the song, “Every time it rains, it rains pennies from heaven.”  Without rain, we like many other people in arid locations, would have to mine water from underground. When I lived in Tenerife, the mined water was yellow, infused with sulphurous volcanic rock. We get ours straight from the sky, falling in great torrents into natural lakes, reservoirs, streams and mighty rivers.  

Our well watered land supports 65 million people. Imagine that.  65 million baths/showers a day and none of us had to walk five miles to get the water and bring it home. We just turn on the tap.  For many people in Africa, that would be a miracle but how we British love to moan! My Dad, (known to the family as Fearless Fred), spent five years in Burma and India during the war. We think we have rain, certainly we have a lot more in Summer time than we used to.  I always joke about English monsoon being the first two weeks in June but Dad spoke about monsoon as a gift to India. It brings the life that supports a vast population. Even though he lived mostly under canvas, sitting waist high in water, he still appreciated rain. He often said, “Britain has the best climate in the world…and the worst bloody weather!”
 
As a child, afraid, having been woken by a thumping great thunder storm, he sat me on his lap to watch the natural firework display until it dissipated. He told me a story about nature showing us that our own paltry attempts at putting on a show were nothing compared to the power of the earth. He explained the rules in the words of the song “…so if you hear it thunder don’t run under a tree" and "...make sure that your umbrella is upside down”.  The song is about optimism, not letting things get you down and above all appreciating the gift of life. He was a wonderful man. I miss him every day.  

I love vintage umbrellas and am the proud owner of two 1950’s beauties. They are a lot smaller than modern versions. One is a dainty monochrome, dog’s tooth design, the other tomato red and grey. They feel just right in the rain and I almost look forward to showery days so that I can use them.  I have a small face and fine curly hair.  If I wear a coat with a hood, I look like Hilda Ogden, so a lovely umbrella is essential to my happiness.  However ... 

I do love the heat. This year we have had a plethora of rain. I dug out a poem that reminds me of holidays.  I haven’t been able to get away for a couple of years.  This was written in Calpe, along the coast from Alicante in 2013. 
 
 
 

 

 
Beach Parade
 
Rows and rows of polka dot and pinstripe parasols,
parade along the sand, inside the bay.
Yellow, red and turquoise blue,
greens  of every tone and hue:
Vivid chess-board checks; diagonals in each and every way.
 
Bathers, shading from the heat, point naked feet,
on beach towels, strewn like postcards through the door.
Deep cerise with orange stripe,
lime and lemon,  citrus ripe.
Bodies dip and drip and dive from the rocks around the shore.
 
Children run and splash and scream, toddlers chuckle
as ice-cream, drips down elbows, pebbling on the sand.
Berry blush, banana cream,
choc-mint chip or strawberry dream,
wolfing down the Summer as it’s melting in their hand.
 
Roaring surf and silver spray, swirling currents ebb and sway,
Seagulls caw and soar across the blue,
Surfers ride with sun-kissed locks,
Time moves slowly round the clocks,
Music drifts and fades, siesta softly sleeps an hour… or two.
 
Our senses store the memories of holidays beside the sea,
We soak them up and poet them away,
Bronzing skin and sun-kissed hair,
baking sand in salt-filled air.
Sensations on a postcard: a place we can escape to on a cold, dark, rainy day.
 
 
 
Hope you get out there and enjoy the Bank Holiday - rain or shine!
Adele
 

 
 
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