Wednesday, July 21, 2010

In Praise of a Rainy Day

I can't be the only person out there who really loves a rainy day. These run the range of those grey, mizzly days, the torrential downpour ones, and even (or maybe especially) the stormy, windy, rain lashing against the window ones. Perhaps this stems from my deep rooted laziness; I mean, what could possibly be better than sitting in a squishy chair reading or watching a movie with the rain pouring down outside? It's practically an excuse to loll around and do nothing, and that is a-ok with me. My favourite things to watch on rainy days are usually old tv boxsets, which are practically the only dvds I own; favourites include Sherlock Holmes with Jeremy Brett (my personal favourite Holmes), and, major guilty pleasure territory, Sharpe, with Sean Bean. I lately managed to watch the entire Pride and Prejudice series (you know, the one with Colin Firth and the wet tunic Jennifer Ehle) in one sitting, and it runs into 6 hours. So clearly, I've got the laziness aspect down.

But there are so many other things I love about a rain soaked day; pottering about the kitchen, maybe braising something, maybe baking something, enjoying the aromas of home and comfort. Reading some classic literature or a mystery novel, or currently a mixture of the two, in the shape of Bleak House. Turning my attention to a task which a sunny day is likely to distract me from, like finally sorting through years of photos, or reading all of the newspaper supplements I didn't get around to on Sunday. And, should you find yourself absolutely in need of venturing out into the elements, try to see the (proverbial) sunny side. Donning a raincoat and walking in the rain can be a pleasure in itself; the pelting sensation on your umbrella, a sprinkling of rain on your face, and then the coming into a warm, dry indoors, shaking off and having a restorative cup of tea, making it all worthwhile. One of my most memorable holiday moments was walking along the Seine from Notre Dame Cathedral to the Musee d'Orsay in Paris in the middle of an electrical storm with a torrential downpour; watching the rain make angry, muscular splashes in the wide, elegant river, taking shelter under the red awning of a streetside cafe, admiring the great works of Lautrec and Degas accompanied by a sense of taking shelter from the elements - so romantic! So Paris!

Closer to the everyday, my favourite time to be on a beach is with rain coming down, the sea restless and turbulent, wind whipping around. It's the perfect cure for the cotton wool feeling of an overtaxed brain, for blowing away mental cobwebs, and it is wonderfully uplifting the morning after a few too many glasses of wine. And there is something so wonderful about the landscape after a rainstorm; the grass seems lusher and greener, the sun seems to shine brighter, there is a feeling that the world has been washed and is clean and fresh again.

I don't know if my precipitation love is a self-protective measure arising from the almost perpetually wet and damp Irish climate, or just a strange perversion which I can’t explain, but I do encourage you to treat yourself to a proper lazy rainy afternoon at the next opportunity. Being a particularly lashy, windy, day here today I made a batch of chocolate chip cookies and watched several episodes of The Good Life, appreciating both that, without really realising it, my life is starting to look an awful lot like that of the Good’s, and also that I am utterly defenceless against Felicity Kendal’s charms. And if you happen to be somewhere dry and sunny but still want to indulge, why then, you can always fake it.


Gina A said...

Chocolate chip cookies sound delicious right now! I think they will be the first thing I bake in my new place! :)

Alison said...

Well, the cookie recipe which followed was just for you! I hope you're settling in well, and can enjoy a couple or rainy indoorsy days