A few weeks back we were treated to a torrential weekend of rain. It began on the Friday afternoon and thundered down, non-stop, until Monday afternoon. Oh my goodness, there was so much water.
Now, as a Brisbane girl – who also lived in Malaysia as a child – I thought I knew rain. I love a good storm that stealthily appears on the horizon, turning the sky an eerie gold-green, before launching massive rolls of thunder and cracks of lightning, then torrential rain that turns your street into a creek within moments. Yeah, yeah, I know and love that rain well. But it’s over and done with within an hour usually. Sometimes, if it’s arrived early enough in the afternoon, you can even enjoy a freshly washed blue sky and dazzling sunset before the moon rises for the evening.
But this rain – almost 72 hours of constant, drenching rain. No. That, I have never experienced. It was delightful on Friday evening as we built the fire to roaring, tucked all the animals up safe and dry in their houses, and settled in for a cosy night of knitting and good television. It was even adventurous on Saturday morning when Noah and I layered up and ventured over to Quaama for petrol, veggies and milk.
Saturday evening was beginning to feel a bit like we should have prepared the ark and as Sunday morning dawned – with a solid grey and plummeting sky – the novelty was definitely wearing thin. It was especially thin when we realised the pantry roof was leaking … onto our kitchen appliances. The goats were pissed off. The chickens were glum. The guinea fowl had given up trying to make the best of it and were so hunched up they appeared to have lost their necks. But the ducks and geese? Rain is like crack to them. They go truly insane. They spend every outside moment running, splashing, darting their beaks into the sodden earth. They ADORE it.
We humans were OVER it. All the roads around us were flooding. The ground was like walking on a sodden dish sponge. Doing the animal chores was a drenching and depressing affair – by Monday morning I just did them in my underwear and gumboots. No point soaking another set of clothes – and yes, I had been wearing a raincoat and carrying an umbrella! Water was pouring out of the tanks’ overflows. And we were having to replace the buckets and towels in the pantry every couple of hours. And what did the weather forecast say – oh you haven’t had the worst of it – that’s still coming!
Yep, Sunday night that rain was so loud on our tin roof it was hard to stay asleep. And I hated thinking of all our animals – just as damp and soggy as their bedding. All night I dreamt of big dry cosy barns – like in Charlotte’s Web – with solid wooden walls, high impenetrable slate roofs, dry dusty floors, separate little cosy stalls for all the animals, each with a lovely pile of warm, dry, sweet smelling fresh straw. Argh!
But as I staggered out of bed on Monday morning, my spirits as low as the sky, I reminded myself that this too would pass. The skies were predicted to clear by mid afternoon. The animals were all still healthy and whole. Everything would dry out. So, instead of frittering away another day, I decided to embrace my inner Rhonda and give the house a huge deep clean – and even throw in a little re-arrange. Alas, the re-arrange potential here is as small as our house, but I still give it my best shot :-)
Julian went out to dig at his pond – with his ever faithful assistant and most unlikely farm dog ever – Fu! I scrubbed the bathroom from top to bottom. Washed and polished all the wooden surfaces. Polished the silver trays and art deco coffee pots on top of the kitchen dresser. Refreshed all the little Ostheimer corners and filled vases with feathers and gum. Each candleholder was filled with new candles. I scrubbed the stove. Vacuumed and mopped the floor. And then with my ever faithful rearranging assistant – the fabulous Noah – moved my sewing and computer desk into the far corner of the dining room and the crystal cabinet into the prime spot opposite the dining table. We even dusted all the crystal! And as we moved – and created ever more dust – Noah attacked with the vacuum.
It was brilliant. We totally reclaimed the day. We embraced our little home and made the most of it, rain or not. Julian gave the ducks and geese their best day on earth ever – and because the ground was so sodden, was able to really get into building up the walls of the pond which had become very hard over our long hot summer.
By the end of the day we were all tired and sore. But the rain had stopped. The animals were indeed drying out. The last applied towels and buckets in the pantry were still dry. And our house shone like a new pin, no longer feeling like a damp and untidy hovel. The homemade furniture polish I’d used – coconut oil, vinegar and a dash of rose geranium essential oil – added a lovely soft scent to every room. The firelight and candlelight made all the wooden surfaces and silver gently gleam. We all felt a sense of productive satisfaction.
All was good and peaceful.
And next time such rain is predicted, I know just what to stock up on, just how to prepare – and just how to enjoy it.