Umbrella

I am challenging myself to write a post every single day in May, to kickstart my writing again. I will be following some prompt words that I ‘stole’ from somebody on instagram. Here is my ninth post.

When my brother and I were very small, our parents moved us away from rainy England to Dubai, where it barely ever rained and the sun shone down upon the barren desert with a beaming ferocity that unrivalled anything we had ever known.

You see, if I were to describe England to you using only the colour spectrum, I would say it was ramaadi (grey) and a thousand shades of green, with a few splotches of brick red thrown in for good measure. Clouds here are stunning, and seemingly perpetual. When it rains it does not rain as it does in Malaysia (there it POURS). It is a slow sort of rain, seemingly innocent and gentle, but viciously incessant, soaking you through in a matter of minutes all while apologising meekly and drizzling away.

The green is of all hues. Dark sultry evergreens, pale shoots, regular green of birches, the humdrum green of privet, cheery green of oak, green hills rolling away into the distance and grass that just grows and grows and grows. Green ivy creeping over beautiful homes and driveways fringed with neatly clipped grass. An abundance of green and all looking like it came out of a picture book – which I suppose it did, for Beatrix Potter did base her paintings on the Lake District!

When you fly above England it’s all neat little squares of varying shades of green. It’s similar in France I suppose but there is a foreign vibe to it there and lots of browns creep in.

When you fly above the United Arab Emirates the land is brown, a hundred shades of it, and you can see the winding marks on the earth where rivers and mountain ranges signify a land that barely changes. It’s always changing in England, for we have seasons. In Dubai there is summer and winter and a week or two of rain and that’s it.

So whenever we came back home to England for the summer holidays, my brother and I relished the rain and the greenery like a pair of mad children. We ate buttercups and yanked all the dandelion seeds off their stems, blowing until we were blue in the face. I naughtily picked the neighbour’s flowers because they were pretty and sobbed inconsolably when my mother gave me a good telling off about it.

My mum bought us two children’s umbrellas one summer, darling little things, coloured like a rainbow, and we would rush into the garden when it rained and stand out there like a pair of wallies under our umbrellas. The neighbours thought we were bonkers and their dog barked at us.

Those odd children standing out in the wet under umbrellas!

It was such a novelty, you see. The pattering of soft rain on the umbrellas, splish splash of water by our wellies, tap tap of heavy drops on wide tree leaves.

It’s funny what makes children happy.

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The Menacing Drizzle

It’s raining dismally here in the UK.

Or at least, where I am anyway.

When it rains in the UK, it does not rain for an hour or even two hours. It rains all day. It rains slowly but surely. A menacing drizzle.

Why is it menacing?

Because it comes down seemingly innocently. You step outside and hold your hands out, and say, ‘Oh, this isn’t too bad. I can nip down to the shops in this.’

But off you nip. And as you are walking along, enjoying the fresh air and the tiny soft droplets, you are slowly getting soaked without realising it. Once you buy your milk and bread and whatever else, and you go back home, you realise what a terrible mistake you have made.

Your socks are soaked to the skin under your shoes (how on earth did that happen?!), your face is dripping, your hair looks like rat’s tails, the bottom of your jeans are wet and the wet is rising all the way up to your knees.

And all day you can hear the soft pattering like a thousand little mice all over the tarmac outside, all on the car roofs, all on the bike covers, all on everything. And there is not a single dry space outside to put your bottom when you go to the park. And your hands are cold and slightly grimy and always very wet.

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A Summer’s Day

We wake up early, throw our covers back. The air is tantalisingly temperate. No cold toes.

A tentative tiptoe on the floorboards.

No rush of icy draft.

A sigh of relief.

Scarpering feet on the laminate outside, a rush for the bathroom.

“Wake up kids!”, shouts the father from downstairs.

They wake up, because it’s summer and there’s no school.

Visions of sunny beaches, bare legs, feet rustling through dry, cool grass. Daisies to pick, their white faces tinged with purple and sunny smiles upturned to the bright sky. Buttercups nodding in the breeze, shining yellow.

“Do you like butter?”

Do¬†you like butter?”

Images shared over the breakfast table. Licks of ice cream. Wild dreams under a canopy of trees. Adventures in faraway lands, at the bottom of the garden. Cake in the park. Sprinkles of duck food over a pond. Swimming in the sunshine. Sunsets that are stretched out over a long evening. Curtains billowing in the breeze. Dust mites swirling.

Breakfast is had. Dishes are washed. Children are dressed. Never mind Billie has some jam on her cheek. Race for the front door. A little scuffle about who is going to sit in the middle seat. Mother straightening herself before the mirror. Father rattling keys. Fall out the door. Get in the car.

Quick, hurry.

A cloud appears.

Oh. It’s raining.

Hard droplets hit the windscreen, as miserable clouds roll up.

Pack yourselves indoors. It’s not going to clear soon. Warm wind rushes through the house. Socks are pulled on. Books are scattered off bookshelves.

A British Summer’s day.

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