Yesterday Edgar, a foursquare friend who combines Dickensian dignified portliness with a droll storytelling humour, waterproofed our roof. He climbed a ladder on to the single layer of thatch and clambered around shoving ite leaves into suspicious gaps, while I winced beneath, feeling the roof shake and shudder. It all looked even more precarious from outside, as the whole thatch twitched like a bad toupe. But last night, when the rains came a’knocking, for the first time the roof stayed shut.
Today is a proper rainy season day. I wake to pattering rather than hammering. Morning prayer at 6am up the hill is dark, sparsely attended and everyone is cold (it’s about 23 degrees). On my way back down, the rain-pace picks up, and my coat is drenched through before I head for the well. There is a tautological frustration in struggling to pull up water when it’s descending with such purposeful aplomb, but I need a shower now, not in half an hour. Nevertheless I put out all our empty buckets under the roof eaves, and by the time I leave for school we have twelve gallons of heaven’s water, unlaboured for.
I cannot consider cycling today, so I set off early in B’s coat (mine is beyond “soaking” and in to “pouring”), waterproof boots, my hurricane umbrella and a backpack in its own cute silver mackintosh. A plague of flying worms rises in wafts, drifting like ash, giving me compelling reason to keep my mouth firmly shut. When I reach the road, it is a red river with a clearly discernible current. I have to leap the torrent six or seven times on the walk. At the largest dips in the road, lakes have formed with greenish edges. Here the dragonflies hover scarlet and gold, greeting my bleary incredulity with a darting, nonchalant indifference. Contrasting children pass by; the dragonfly children in normal uniform, carrying their ‘slippers’ (flipflops) and wading, and the anxious-parented children in ankle-length non-breathable macks, creating the moisture inside to complement the outside. A tall girl in tiny shorts hurtles by, sheltered under the umbrella of her passenger balanced on the crossbar.
When I arrive at school, the children are mainly sheltering under the eaves, but nothing else is different. Life continues as normal. I remember London’s six inches of snow in January and chuckle.