Archive for November 12th, 2008

At Last

November 12, 2008



It rained last night.


Cue round of applause and exhalation of long held breath.


It rained – soft, kind, gentle rain which belied the thunderous ovation that accompanied it – and I curled deliciously beneath covers too thin for the cool.


Less delicious come dawn, though. The trip switch clicked loudly, an ominous snap signalling an end to power as we know it.


No tea for me then.


I staggered from my bed intent on sourcing the problem. Me, with no significant qualifications and certainly none in electrics, me so frantic for a brew I might have killed for it. Or killed myself in desperate and ignorant pursuit of same. I tried flicking the switch back on. To no avail.


The dawn drip-dripped in melancholy acknowledgment of my nomorningtea misery.


I stepped onto the verandah, awash with water that had soaked through the roof which had helpfully sieved all trace of dust from it before it landed a pristine puddle on the coffee table. Yesterday’s virginal bridewhite ceiling boards bellysag pregnant and stained sepia. As if with tea, come to think of it.


Is that where the source of my powerlessness lies, I wondered, up there?


I wasn’t going to swim. But I did. It seemed imperative given breakofday challenges.


I dived in and surfaced to steam rising from waters warmer than the air. A mist-laced lake beneath a cloud bound sky that brought to mind Arthurian legends. Except that I was no water-sprite accompanied by Lancelot or Excalibur. Rather a disgruntled mum keeping company with the four fat toads that swam lengths beside her.


An electrician came to survey the watery scene. He clambered up a ladder and rescued naked drowned cable in the roof.


Have you fixed it, I enquired when he climbed back down.


With duct tape, he nodded.


Later I am assured by the contractor who built the extension that he can waterproof my home. With sheets of United Nations blue plastic I notice: from the air we shall appear as a refugee camp.


Power restored, I drank my belated tea and took to the garden, damp sand moulding itself beneath bare feet so that I left prints as testimony to where I had walked.


We are planting trees, Sylvester and I. (Sylvester wears his wellies; he wears wellies every single day of the year irrespective of the weather). And a lawn. And a rockery. And ranks of bougainvillea against the fence.


Something is eating these, I observe to Sylvester as I bend low to examine nibbled leaves.


It’s the Gra Shoppers he says importantly.


And I giggle.


Because that’s what the Rain does to you in Africa.


Despite the unfamiliar grey, it’s suddenly easier to see the Bright Side.