Grey and wet and cabin feverish – in my memory all the rainy afternoons of my childhood holidays merge into one.
Waking on a wet Saturday morning, usually at a grandmother’s house, we would wait and hope, through breakfast and the drizzly morning, over lunch and on into the afternoon, that the rain would stop. By 3pm, after hours of books and board games, and more than a bit dispirited, we would be dragged from the fireplace and out for a spin in my dad’s car.
If we were lucky, the deluge or drizzle would stop. But often it did not, and so another July weekend would be lost to the vagaries of the Irish weather.
The advent of the internet, and a longer concentration span, and my sheer bloody mindedness nowadays when it comes to getting outside and getting soaked, means that a rainy Saturday isn’t the complete write-off it once was.
After moving from one rainy city (Dublin – 29 inches per annum) to another (Portland, Oregon – 36 inches), I’ve finally got used to rain. It’s only taken 40 years.
Just as well, as my wife and I woke to hail, rain, thunder, lightning, and 55mph gusting winds last Saturday. We were visiting our friends’ beach house in Manzanita, Oregon, a very fine property located all of 200 meters from the (very loud and very windswept) Pacific Ocean.
We were away from home. There were no chores to be done, no emails to be checked, or calls placed. My phone was turned off. For the first time in years, I experienced a rainy Saturday on vacation.
What did we do? Well, the same thing I did with my family 30 years ago. We had breakfast, chatted, ate some more, read a bit, watched the fireplace, and read a little more. And ate a bit more. And then we bundled into the car and headed out to the village for a damp stroll.
Plus ça change, as the French say. And pass the sauvignon blanc. The only difference between a rain-soaked Saturday in 2018 and one in 1988 as the occasional adult refreshment, which eased us into the afternoon and, truth be told, into the early evening as well.
How wonderful it was, to sit and sip and chat and attempt another two pages of the ‘Nighttown’ chapter, and then nibble and sip and chat some more. On occasion, I’d even forget the raging tumult flinging torrents of water on the windows. Until the next thunderclap.
Could I do it every weekend? The 10-year-old me from 1988 would probably give you a short, sharp answer to that – which I’d agree with today. But once in a soggy blue moon? Let it rain.