Rain was forecast for midnight. I went to bed, but was still awake at 11.30, not because it was hot (it was still 29C) but because I was fizzing with excitement at the idea of rain. Once I realised this, I calmed myself down and went to sleep. I woke up at 2am. No rain. I looked out of the window at clear skies and a beautiful full moon and realised the rain probably wasn’t coming.
Rain was forecast for the morning. The skies were blue, with little white flutters of cloud high up. It didn’t rain. After work, in the afternoon, under skies that were still blue, I watered the garden.
A bit later I went out again with the recycling and some peelings to go in the compost. My downstairs neighbour M was hanging out her washing. She’s an animal lover, and we have been talking about her possibly looking after MasterB from time to time if I have a long day, or if I’m away for a couple of nights. It seemed a good opportunity. I needed to do a couple of bits and pieces indoors, then some shopping, so we decided to liaise when I got back.
The lentils for tonight’s salad which I’m having with Octavia and her mum Rachel were cooked and drained. The sky was suddenly grey. But were have been here before. It’s two months since it rained in London, and a couple of times the sky has clouded over in a hopeful manner, only for a breeze to change the narrative within an hour or less. I trotted off to the shops and market stall for more ingredients. The air was like a towel that has just been removed from a hot tumble drier. The sky got darker. Buying my tomatoes I discussed the possibility of rain with another customer. She was confident it would rain, but thought it would be just a few drops.
Back home and I buzzed M to say I was back. She too was looking at the sky and wondering if she should bring her washing in. She decided to meet MasterB on his own territory and then deal with the laundry. We climbed the two flights of stairs to my flat. As we walked in, an unfamiliar sound suddenly greeted us – rain against the windows.
It was glorious. It rained on and off for a couple of hours, with some bits of thunder and lightning, so that MasterB, who bonded v well with M, has now retreated to a hiding place in a drawer under my bed. All around I could see people looking out of their windows; people walking happily through rain.
The temperature has dropped to 23C. It’s still quite humid, but there is a fabulous breeze, and the sky is mainly white with blue bits peeking between. More rain is forecast for the weekend.
By the time the drought ended in 1976 I was living in Marseille, where rain in biblical quantities was falling from the skies every day, and I bought my very first umbrella as well as a pair of red Wellington boots that I have to this day. So I don’t know how joyfully people here greeted the arrival of the rain, or if it was joyful.
We may even have green grass by Monday.