Britain has grown feet since the start of this weather; this weather: rain rain rain pouring rain … sigh … rain rain rain pouring rain … etc. Three feet, four feet maybe, growing up, growing down, growing here, growing there, gulping, burping along. The whole country is taller, wider, bushier, slightly blubbery.
Trees are noticeably fatter. I’m not just saying that – you should see the size of their waists. The girth. You can tell when someone has put on a little weight. You might not say so. But you notice. That’s how it is with the trees. I would never tell them to their faces. But I can tell you … they’re fatter. For sure. It’s their waists.
This rain – they’ve obviously been over-imbibing. Stacking on pounds like children stack lego blocks, like eskimos facing six months in stacked ice igloos with only their plumpness to survive.
Who knows when then next rains will be, ask the trees? Drink while yee can!
(As it turns out, it was less than five minutes.)
Plus a lot of it is water retention I hear them mumble …
Elsewhere fields of British vegetables are sinking in the mud. If the tractors try to go in to save them, they will also sink. It is a muddy dilemma. All anyone can do, including the tractors, is stand by, looking on helplessly. The tractors beam their lights every now and then to keep spirits up. Because even spirits are sinking. That’s how bad it is.
No-one knows what to do.
So we’re calling China … That’s what everyone does, in every crisis. Call China! …
“Hello, China? …”
“Our vegetable crops are floating in a sea of mud. Our tractors are helpless. We don’t know what to do …”
“No need to explain …” says China. ”Our vegetables are on their way …”
“Please say hello to your sixty jubilee queens. And Elizabeth. She is our favourite. Goodbye.”
(No-one but the Brits understand our Jubilee.)
China is a star these days. She is good at many things and has plenty to share with everyone. When we fall short of anything we turn to her and in one voice, we shout
“Give us a loan?”
And she will. She does. China has spares of everything.
Meanwhile Britain is watching a year’s worth of rain fall in a day in some parts of the country. Parts that were dumb with drought only three months ago are flooding, sinking, like fields of vegetables.
Across the pond, America is melting in the heat. What a world.
“If only we could ship the weather to one another, even just for a little while …” says Karen, my friend from the internet. Karen has the most wonderful blog, Draw and Shoot. A tonne of adoring fans.
Her blog is so full of beauty it is almost hard to look at. You have to have the stomach for it, the mettle, because it is unremitting. Set yourself some time, freshen your face and then look. I suspect her photographer’s eye is a metaphor for her; there they are, images to make our hearts stop, melt, fill. And then she says things like “ship the weather” which I immediately wished I had.
Shipping the Weather … How beautiful. I would love to write a story about that …
To Karen, all I said was:
“Give us a loan?”
like I was talking to China.
Yes! she said. Run with it!
So I said:
“Okay but do you mind if I don’t?” which is like me; generate a lot of hoo-ha, get everyone’s hopes up, then abandon ship. Like that.
Yeah? Thanks! But I’m not going to. I’m going somewhere else now! Bye-bye…
I think I do it to make sure people know I am alive.
Hey! You there!!!
… just checking …
Except now I have changed my mind back. Which is like me.
The seagulls are still alive. So far no-one has kidnapped or killed them and they remain resident.
They never entirely won me over. I think it was just that one night, when I managed to sleep through their howls. It was more compassionate, not minding them. Not selling them.
Which was admirable but it has now been eclipsed by my wanting the very worst for them.
On the weekend it came to our attention that they have claimed the large, shared garden at the top of the stairs as their own. Now no-one else is allowed in it. If you try to, they will dive bomb you.
We were taken worse than by surprise. It was a shock. “I’ve just retracted my ad!” I thought. I was furious. Disgusted.
In order to access the garden, we had to trespass. We had to brandish big sticks and wave them in the air. We were just trying “put” chunks of the sycamore tree we felled somewhere else. We were “putting” the chunks of wood in the barbecue area. Because someone, one night, might want a bonfire.
It was our only plan
(and Pete’s idea.)
But those beasts gave us away! You couldn’t have wanted for more howling if it had been a full moon and you were a wolf. Or a group of schoolchildren held in at lunchtime by bad weather.
Weather – it always comes back to You. It is why the seagulls are now the owners of the garden, empty for a year, no-one apart from the gardeners setting foot in it because no-one apart from the gardeners going outside.
To the seagulls, it was vacant. And is now theirs.
We are living someone else’s weather …
shipped to Britain by mistake …
and now we can’t get rid of it.
Like the seagulls. Who were possibly lost. But are now very at home.
And it is we who feel lost.
Without the sun.