W(h)etting of Appetites


There has been some rain.


Not so much that you would throw caution and propriety to the wind and rush out in exuberance to dance beneath the downpour getting thoroughly soaked to ecstatic, goose-bumped skin. Not so much that the verandah is dripping with still-damp laundry. Not so much that you long to see the sun again. No, not that much.


But enough to lay the dust. It skipped through the garden, the rain, waving cheerfully as it went. As if to say, ‘I’m just passing through, sorry, can’t stop’. I could see where it was going. Away. To the east where it dug itself in darkly and glowered at me, staring disconsolate, from a distance.


And enough to suggest it’s Around. The Rain’s are Around we tell one another optimistically (so optimistic as to refer to them in the plural) as we peer up at the sky squinting, as if hoping that our focused stares will bully far-away marshmallow clouds to bruising rugby scrum proximity. Around enough to give the grass by the dam a brittle green bottle sheen. Not a shade Africa offers in her colour swatch often; this is a limited edition. Enjoy it while you can.




Enough to prompt tiny wild flowers forth; they lie scattered on the ground like pink paper tissue littered. I had to stop, to examine them close up, to make sure they were what I hoped they were and not something carelessly discarded from a passing bus window.  


Africa is so forgiving of punishing cruel Drought. The minute the Rains arrive she yields, forgets that they abandoned her for weeks, months, and begins to bloom enthusiastically so that overnight she morphs from tired grey barrenness to blushingly youthful fecundity.




Nights are suddenly rendered gloriously, sleep enhancingly cool and my dawn swims chilly. So that I dive into water that feels like cold blue silk; water that quite takes my breath away.


I must swim hard then. To keep warm.


Fifty lengths last week weren’t nearly as quickly swum as they are this.


17 Responses to “W(h)etting of Appetites”

  1. R. Sherman Says:

    This post reminds me of seeing the deserts of Arizona and New Mexico bloom after spring rains. I’d never thought such blankets of color could be present, hidden beneath the brown scrub which dots the sand and gravel for most of the year.


  2. guineapigmum Says:

    What a fabulous shade of green. It must be so refreshing after months of brown. It brings to my mind the feeling that I always have if I’ve been out to the furthermost Hebrides for a while. You sail back into the Sound of Mull, suddenly see trees and realise what you’ve been missing.

  3. rosiero Says:

    It made me smile. It has been tipping it down non-stop here in London today. Quite torrential at lunchtime too, so that the rain bounced off the concrete pavements as it fell and there was a mist as you looked across the garden. The trees are bending with the gales, it is quite chilly and it is not the sort of weather to go out in unless you absolutely have to. But I can understand how you would wish for your rain to linger a while. Your fast swimming will certainly burn off some calories.

  4. Mud Says:

    That green really does invoke the newness of life – before reality dulls the hue and the dust settles.

    As Rosiero has mentioned we have no shortage of rain in London today. Slightly less life affirming, but equally conducive to burning off some calories trying to stay warm when one ventures outside!

  5. nuttycow Says:

    Hoorah to rain. As I look outside to the grey dullness of London rain (as mentioned by Mud and Rosiero) I wonder why rains in different parts of the world result in different things. Here, rain means wet leaves and mud and getting splashed as you walk on the pavement. In Africa it means a beautiful smell, greeness, new plants, freshness.


  6. lulu Says:

    I wish I could post you some of our rain Lx

  7. shafinaaz Says:

    This was beautiful to read. I love the energy of your writings, as well as the way your words string together like precious pearls… How easily they adorn the imagination!

    Africa is painted like an eager, sensitive being, forever willing to bloom and blossom to the glow of life and love… how easily we forget, while scraping away the rust of disillusionment.

    I am charmed by the read. Thanks:)

    All the best,
    S in South Africa

  8. BabaMzungu Says:

    I wish I were under African rains. In my “second home” in Kenya, it rains all year round, being only a stone’s throw from the Equator and very high up.
    But it is warm rain, lovely rain, life-giving rain.
    Here in the UK, I am cold, miserable, and at the moment, very wet! And it certainly does not smell fresh outside.

  9. Janelle Says:

    gorgeous anthea! well. at least it skipped through.
    um. we’ve had beautiful rains. inches and soaking. ah. bliss. they’re coming. they’re coming! xxx j

  10. Millennium Housewife Says:

    Your prose is simply stunning, an absolute joy to read, thankyou. MH

  11. Roberta Says:

    It looks to me like you are headed for spring. Here everything is dying. It’s going to be 29 degrees celcious tonight. I have a fire in the hearth. Rain. We need it. We’re in a drought. I fear snow early this year.

    Your dip in the pool made me smile. We have veterans coming back from Iraq who insist on turning down the air conditioning to 95 because they can’t adjust.

  12. reluctantmemsahib Says:

    I know Mr Sherman, nature’s propensity for recovery is startling, isn’t it?

    Hi Guineapig – it is isn’t it. And it is: refreshing and so striking after months of crackle brown.

    rosiero, you described that so well: I could see it. Rain bouncing off pavements. None of that here yet. any that falls onto the sand is sucked greedily up so that the ground releases not a drop back into the air.

    Quite Mud. Staying warm places high calorific demand on the body. Please have a capuccino with extra cream and a big fat Danish for me today x

  13. reluctantmemsahib Says:

    you’re right nutty. but sometimes rain in africa means power cuts, getting stuck and putzi fly in your drawers too!

    please do lulu, how about fedex? They seem to be modern day wizards at getting what you need halfway around the world?

    thank you S in South Africa; that’s very kind.

  14. reluctantmemsahib Says:

    Hi BabaM. My sis says its pouring in Nairobi. She said she went out for dinner and had to stay for an extra Irish coffee as the rain was falling so hard they couldn’t get out to the car. It’s a good one that, isn’t it. Though not one my own best beloved can use just yet to excuse a too late evening out …

    Janelle – you lucky thing. hurry them on, will you x

    Thank you MH. That’s very kind.

    Roberta – i forget to associate drought with anything other than broiling heat. Yup those vets will take time to re-acclimatize. To lots of things, i expect.

  15. Mom de Plume Says:

    We have had enough of the rain here RM, will do my best to send it your way. It’s meant to be summer now and all we have are cold rainy days. Wish we could swap, just for a while!

  16. GirlReturningHome Says:

    I’ve just returned after many years away from Africa’s rains – and the main thing I had forgotten about the rains was the steam rising off the tar roads at night after a short shower. Your writing is lovely – so glad I discovered your blog!

  17. Paradiselostintranslation Says:

    I didn’t know Africa did that shade of green, I’ve never been lucky enough to see it there. Remarkable, but then Africa does always surprise. You capture the essence SO well; Africa is so cruel in many ways, and also so forgiving. It is such a fierce, complex, mad, infuriating, beautiful continent. Must be a woman., of course.

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