19 July 2012

ten reasons to like the rain

Liverwort, Bethnal Green

I know.  It has been relentless.  It's not all bad though.

:: Liverworts are thriving. These are on one of my favourite walls underneath the railway arch in Three Colt Lane.  I made a detour to see them the other day. What's more, I like Three Colt Lane. It's wonky,lined with railways arches populated by taxis and odd engineering works. A railway station is tucked in there that takes you northwards, past the backs of the houses in Paradise Row, through the marshes of Hackney and Walthamstow. Liverworts it seems can lead to all sorts of adventures.

:: I have not had to water the allotment for months.  This is particularly good news when you are trying to grow vegetables on nutrient free rubble, even if some of those vegetables are looking rather sad from lack of sunshine.  My first carrots, despite carrot fly damage - you can't have everything - look as orange as can be.

Carrots from West Ham

:: You get to stay indoors and listen to the radio without feeling you're missing out on the great outdoors.  I've been enjoying Jim Naughtie's cogent fifteen minute commentaries on Modern Elizabethans.  I was particularly taken with scientist Dorothy Hodgkin who won the Nobel Prize, had socialist ideals and still made her own clothes!  I also heard some wonderful programmes about Siberia, and wanted to become a reindeer herder after seeing the photos on the Radio 4 website. There's only one day left to listen to this programme so you need to listen this instant, or at least look at the pictures.

:: Ample rhubarb means lots of making Glencar Jam which I am addicted to eating daily with plain yoghurt.  I remain eternally grateful to Jonathan Dean who left me his mother's  recipe when I wrote about this jam years ago.

Glencar Jam with rhubarb and figs
:: Instead of falling asleep in a deck chair at the allotment, you get to catch up on all those little jobs that have been lurking in the mending/alterations pile.  I blame the size of this pile being down to having a fabric fetish and being eternally optimistic about the potential of old clothes.  Frocks have great possibility: try them on inside out and take in the excess fabric, shorten to taste; or cut off the too small bodice, turn over the top and thread elastic through to make a swishy skirt.  Old crew neck jumpers in pastel shades can be cut down the middle and worn ballet style or like Rachael Matthews' cardi that I covet, cover them in a maze of contrasting i cord. Old lady length cotton skirts can have lining shortened and attached to the still long skirt to shorten it into a bubble skirt, and if you enter the mutton/lamb zone, recycle into the quilting pile.

:: While you do all this you can have the window open wide and listen to the sound of the rain or the small rivers working their way from the roof into the gutter outside.  Very soothing, although a peaceful state is only possible after the leak in the roof has been repaired.

:: Between showers you can dash out on the bike to the market, stop at one of the "shop" barges lined up on the canal nearby for an al fresco a cup of coffee, then take photos of the prolific wild flowers and lofty beds that have flourished for so much longer this year.

Chicory, Mile End Park
:: The pollen count is lower.  Breathe in deeply and make the most of it while it lasts.

:: Be thankful that the grey skies in the morning mean that you are not woken up too early by the sun blazing through your east facing uncurtained windows.  Or if you are as lucky as Kate was, enjoy visits from swallowtailed moths in the middle of a black stormy day.  Infinitely preferable to the clothes moths which we are normally plagued with here, but which seem not to have flourished quite so much in these cool damp days.

:: Put your feet up, read a book, and plan for all the adventures you will have when the sun does come out again.  This weekend.  I have every faith in the Met Office.

And just in case you were starting to worry about climate change, think on...

Plastic bag polar bear, Regent's Canal, Mile End Lock


Felix said...

What a lovely post - like a big drink of very clear, very clean, very fresh water.

I feel imaginatively quenched after reading this post, and it's funny because I was just editing the Sonic Wallpaper piece featuring the beans, in which you mention rain on the allotment.

Thank you for always helping me to appreciate the things I don't like such as grey days and rain, you help me to find the beauty in them.

Annie Cholewa said...

Funnily enough I was saying to someone today that I really don't mind the rain. And I rather prefer it to be cool. Not that I haven't complained about the weather, I have, but it's the lack of sunlight that's getting to me. I just need to see some light!

Great post :D

Fine Lightness said...

So beautifully put. I love rainy days and love this summer. Thanks for this collection of moments.

knit nurse said...

Lovely reasons to be cheerful even in the rain. Not forgetting the smell of wet soil, which has been far from elusive these past months - although of course it's always better when the ground is warm and there has just been a big storm!

The entwined carrots look so lovely they made my heart sing with romantic notions.

Joanna said...

So refreshing! And I agree about the entwined carrots - they more or less made my day!

Liz said...

Love your list. Was it Wainwright who said something like there's no such thing as bad weather, just the wrong clothing? Well, unusually, I don't feel so inappropriately dressed for summer (being,for one thing,congenitally attached to thick black tights). Haven't tried Glencar jam but I recently came across a recipe for a rhubarb and fig cake which sounds equally delicious.

Anonymous said...

those carrots are clearly engaged in "inappropriate behavior likely to cause offense to muslims" contrary to the rules of the allotment.

the council

SmitoniusAndSonata said...

There's something wonderfully Phillip Pullman about liverworts and Three Colt Lane . And wet stone walls catch the light so beautifully .

( Unfortunately there was a speech , given by someone who looked as uncomfortable about the attention as me !)

shandy said...

I don't mind the rain so much, but I do mind the slugs which are glutting themselves on my produce.

Lovely post, Colleen!

Rattling On said...

I mind the rain, speaking from a place that has endured unremitting torrential rain for months on end. It is awful. However the sun has shone for three whole days and I feel much better (not forecast to last of course...)

Unknown said...

Happy birthday, birthday twin! Sounds like you had a very civilsed grown-up day! ;]

Stacey @ bakercourt said...

I love popping in to your blog and reading (and re-reading your posts). They have the perfect momentum that makes me stop and appreciate the perfect coffee-sipping, blog-reading moment that always accompanies a bit of rus in urbis. Also, I am very fond of your Love Carrots. x