Not another ******* beautiful day …



I wish it would rain.


Every afternoon, when the faint breeze that blew intermittently all morning has dropped to scant whispers, when I can no longer feel any evidence of its cool exhalations on my skin nor see them in the tiniest movement of leaves, I wish it would rain.


Clouds begin to gather then. A halfhearted and timid convention in the sky. They shyly congregate on my horizons, thin wisps that don’t look sturdy enough to bear a storm. Not like the big barrel chested variety that glower black and chase the brightness away. No. These are so lily-livered they collapse to their knees and scuttle off the moment the sun glares at them.


So the heat builds. The sky is still. Fans paddle the air. They don’t generate anything approximating a chill. Their seductively monotonous mantra, ‘hmmmmmm’, full of empty promise.


I can find no refuge inside the house or out. I give up. Resign myself to the inertia borne of being too warm.


At twilight though, with the sun safely tucked up in the west, those scaredy-cat clouds race across dark skies before anybody sees them and bring with them the briefest of showers. Two minutes. No more. I stand at the window breathing in Africa’s Exclusive Scent – the smell of rain on dust.  The heady, heady perfume of promise. Of polished leaves and glossed foliage. Of brighter, more invigorating tomorrows. Of new life.


But it has gone almost before it began.


By morning, the sky white-hot-horizoned rising to the azurest of blues and I wonder whether my memory of last night’s rain was just wishful thinking. Did I imagine it?


No. For there in the sand, like the footprints of a thousand fairies who might have danced fleetingly across it, are the tiniest pinpricks of raindrops.


I tip my head back and gaze up at the big empty blue above me and I am struck by a line from Charles Dance and Greta Scacchi’s White Mischief: Sarah Miles’ Alice de Janzé leans out of an upstairs window of the Djinn Palace and takes in a hot clear dawn breaking over Lake Naivasha.


‘Not another fucking beautiful day’, she yawns.




31 Responses to “Not another ******* beautiful day …”

  1. Irene Says:

    I suppose we should feel ourselves blessed with the unpredictable weather we have here in the Netherlands. Sunshine and warmth, then rain and cold and even some frost at night. We don’t have to pine for anything, although we’ll miss the warmth when it is really wintertime and we would very gladly come and sit in your sunshine for a while. But it must be hard to miss the rain for such a long time and to only get tiny promises of it. I’ve experienced that in the desert and know about the oppressive heat.

    By the way, I think you are a brave woman out there in the godforsaken bush. Not many of us would last that well and keep our wits about us. You seem to be doing fine.

  2. Millennium Housewife Says:

    Firstly, that was beautifully written, so evocative and quite melancholy, well done you! Secondly, we may need to swap climates, I have just emerged from eight weeks of ‘Summer’ holidays trying to entertain two children while it poured with rain every day. Surely we can work out some deal mutually advantageous to us both? MH

  3. Wife in Hong Kong Says:

    I am so with you on this one. We do have air conditioning at least but I long for a chill in the morning air, a slight breeze or the chance to fling open the windows. You say it so well.

  4. Gill Says:

    the weather in Southern Ontario is stunning at the moment, I am more than willing to share it with you. temperatures in the high 60’s, the sun just shining for the right amount of time, and when the sun sets it cools down nicely making it a joy to sleep………….

    So feel free to pop on over!!!

    Gill in Canada

  5. Janelle Says:

    babes it simply MUST be planet alignment…feeling not too dissimilar this side…and THANKS for thinging me the other day…THANKS THANKS THANKS! i am so crap at working out how to do it and blah..will go back and read it again and act upon it…oh and reckon j & c totally friends who like road trips and adventurous things. thats why we love ’em!!! love love anthea..and call me when you’re next in town, you old outpost tart!! XXX j

  6. R. Sherman Says:

    I always thought the mountains got more precipitation. Shows what I know about East African geography.


  7. scribbles08 Says:

    Hey there! The grass is always greener isn’t it? We are having a wonderful Autumn here in England. Well where I live anyway. Talk of an Indian summer didn’t materialise but it is mild for the time of year, actually pretty hot today! Lovely.

    The sort of heat you talk of is so exhausting isn;t it? I bet you wish you were somewhere else. Beautifuly written post though!


  8. Bush Mummy Says:

    Oh you write so beautifully.. i could almost smell that from Shepherd’s Bush.

  9. Rob Says:

    What a beautifully written post. I am so there with that feel of the stifling ,life sapping heat and the tantalizing smell of rain lasting just long enough to hook. Wanting, needing more. Teasing and taunting becoming all consuming.
    Hang in there, relief will come.

    I found your blog recently and have been furiously devouring your back catalogue to catch up and I’m loving your writing. Keep it up, my evenings won’t be the same without a dose of Outpost life.


  10. reluctantmemsahib Says:

    Thanks Irene. Bit of variety IS nice isn’t it though? As to being brave. Not really. Not at all most days. Just bloody mindedly trying not to let Outpost get the better of me …

  11. reluctantmemsahib Says:

    MH: yes, let’s. What a good idea. x

  12. reluctantmemsahib Says:

    Thank you Wife in HK. It is stifling isn’t it. Ennervating. I envy you the a/c. If i want a bit of that i have to climb into husband’s car. Don’t have it in mine and my window winder keeps falling off so often can’t even open flamin’window …

  13. reluctantmemsahib Says:

    Gill, that’s what we need: nights cool enough to sleep. I climb into the pool at dawn, just so that I am cool enough to enjoy a cup of tea!

  14. reluctantmemsahib Says:

    janellabella: I am next there in a week’s time. fancy a coffee? i’ll be the wild wooley woman who can no longer enunciate her words properly for lack of conversation and who spills her capuccino in all the exciment of having one. x

  15. reluctantmemsahib Says:

    Oh no Mr Sherman – but where I am it is flat. Flat .Flat as a pancake. Miles and miles of flat sandy miombo scrubland. Not a mountain in sight.

  16. reluctantmemsahib Says:

    Hi Scribble: my grass is SO not greener. It is sparse, nicotine stained stubble. Like the balding pates of men who smoke too much. Your autumnal England sounds most inviting. And thank you x

  17. reluctantmemsahib Says:

    Thanks Bush Mummy – and well done on the potty training front. x

  18. reluctantmemsahib Says:

    Thank you Rob – for reading and for kind words. I love the pix on your blog btw. Beautiful.

  19. rosiero Says:

    There’s something to be said for rainy old England then. I shall appreciate the rain more next time! Love the way you described the clouds, particularly the barrel-chested one.

  20. nuttycow Says:

    Crossing fingers for the rain RM.

  21. nappy valley girl Says:

    Beautiful descriptions. I think seasons are required to make us appreciate weather – whether or not it’s hot, cold, wet or dry. Usually at this time of year I would relishing the thought of cold, crisp days and winter clothes – only problem is, this year I feel as if we never really had summer…..

  22. Expat Mum Says:

    I think you should all come over to Chicago about, oh, say November 30th. One winter over here will cure everyone of any disatisfaction – guaranteed!

  23. Marianne Says:

    What a stunning post. I was enchanted by your description of the nailing heat and felt I was there with you. You are so gifted and I am glad for you that you can use your creativity and share your unusual experience with the wider world.

    I read a great deal, a lot of it faintly disappointing. Your prose is up there with the best and I hope there will be a book or a memoir or a publisher for your blog.

  24. Mom de Plume Says:

    Wow, you really have a way of painting with words!!! Having experienced that debilitating and unending heat I feel for you. I do like to be warm but not stifled and there is nothing better than a 4pm thunderstorm and downpour to lower the evening temperature! Will try to send some collective conscience in your direction willing the rain to stick it out for a while!

  25. Retired Memsahib Says:

    What ever the Outpost may be putting you through, it’s providing us with the most amazing pieces of writing from you! Each time I read your blog I think that this is the best piece yet. Let’s face it, they’re all the best pieces yet!

    In my years in various far flung places I found that it’s always the women who suffer. The men have “important” things to busy their pretty little heads with while we search for a meaningful role. I’ve found that all expat wives fall into one of the following categories:

    1. Those who take to the bottle and are well and truly out of it by midday, every day,
    2. Those who have a hobby in which they are totally engrossed, such as gardening, making butter, cheese or jam. You were right about jam, by the way!
    3. Those who regularly escape and go on expensive shopping trips.
    4. Those who reject all of the above and try to live a semblance of a “normal” life. This is the hardest choice of all.

    When I first left yhe UK, heavily pregnant and bound for the West Indies on a banana boat, one of our fellow passengers was a woman from St.Vincent. She was returning to the island to bring her children up there. She said that the thing she would miss most about the UK was the changing of the seasons. I now understand exactly what she meant and you described the feeling so well.

    Thinking about jam again, you write so well that I really believe that writing a book about your life could become life saving jam for you. Let us know if you ever publish; I’ll be first in line at the bookshop!

  26. reluctantmemsahib Says:

    rosiero, oh there is, there is. Enjoy the next shower of autumnal rain for me.

    Me too, nutty, me too. It was so close again the other day, my horizons all black. But it just danced past the outpost and waved.

    nappy valley – we’ll do a swap: I’ll parcel up some sun for you to save and keep for next summer if you can send some rain?

  27. reluctantmemsahib Says:

    Hmmm. Perhaps I’ll pass Expat Mum. 30th November and I can still enjoy the dawn from the watery view point of the pool as i splash about pre first cup of tea. There are advantages. Thank you for reminding me of that!

  28. reluctantmemsahib Says:

    Marianne, how kind. I am very flattered. I loved ”nailing heat”. Perfect. That’s just what it is.

  29. reluctantmemsahib Says:

    Mom de P, please do, please do.

    Thank you Retired Mem, that’s very kind. I loved your story about the Jamaican lady. And I enjoyed your categorisation of women. We had a conversation with a man in a bar the other day (well after midday, i must add!): he said that i was the only ”normal” company wife who’d been thru here. ”Give her time” husband said, ”give her time”! As to jam making, i’ve got some on the boil x

  30. A Perfect Day « Reluctant Memsahib Says:

    […] my garden thirsted for rain for weeks, months, now – now that it is here in almost daily deluges – it smiles broadly at newly rinsed blues above […]

  31. Empty Promises. Emptier Ponds « Reluctant Memsahib Says:

    […] And every morning I wake to high, high blue skies unsullied by even the tiniest smudge of a cloud. Bugger it, I say. (For I am more polite than Alice de Janze). […]

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