CALMING RAIN is a vision I had as I woke one morning…
I awoke this morning to the calming sound of summer rain and its comforting smell wafting through my windows. I lay on my bed, still not fully conscious, not yet prepared to open my eyes. I drifted back in time; 40 years and hundreds of kilometres away to school holidays with my grandparents in the sleepy country village of Krambach.
Sometimes we would have days of continual rain. Not a bad thing at all because it just produced a deeply relaxed atmosphere and a peaceful harbour away from the storms of school and home.
I can feel myself sitting on the back veranda in one of the round chairs of woven yellow and white plastic with spindly black metal legs. To my left is the curtained off room that was created for grandpa with his single bed, cluttered dresser and small windows that were installed when they enclosed the entire area many years before. In the area to my right is the big freezer where some of the spoils of the once-a-month shopping trip to Taree were stored, next to the door that leads through to the kitchen, originally the back door of the house. Grandma’s antique, pedal powered Singer sewing machine is also over there and still in working order.
In front of me the new back door, home-made from sturdy planks of wood, sits wide open giving me a view of beautiful Krambach Mountain in the distance, slightly obscured by the rain. I hear the harsh sound of a crow in the massive gum tree at the northwest corner of the block and magpies warble in the younger trees next door to the south.
I’m sitting here reading a book, not much else to do on rainy days but read, eat and sleep. Only two stations on the old black and white TV in the lounge room and neither are on air 24 hours yet. Coronation Street, Days Of Our Lives, Peyton Place, The Young And The Restless, the daily local News are the highlights; topped off by The Black and White Minstrel Show on weekends.
Of course, these days of endless rain have their disadvantages too. Going to the toilet is a major challenge as it is a white wooden “out-house” way down the backyard. Inside it, on the concrete floor, is a big black metal can covered by a plastic seat and the “can man” comes weekly to swap it for an empty one. So, the epic adventure begins with dressing for the journey in rubber boots, a yellow vinyl raincoat and a matching rain hat or even an umbrella. Then I take the first step out through the back door onto the small balcony. On a clear day this balcony provides a commanding view of the backyard and the land beyond.
Below it are the vegetable gardens that provide every vegetable and herb that my Grandmother needs to keep the family fed: iceberg lettuce, apple cucumbers, radishes, carrots, corn, beetroot, potatoes, onions, cauliflower, cabbage, brussels sprouts, pumpkin, and squash. Along one fence grow beans and peas that we eat straight off the vines and the tomato bushes that have the most unforgettable smell when they are watered.
The garden is dotted with orange, lemon, apple, plum, apricot, pear and peach trees. Grandma’s peach jam and peach pies are unbeatable and unforgettable. Grape vines, passionfruit vines and strawberries also grow there providing the fresh ingredients for her grape jam, strawberry jam and magnificent tomato and passionfruit jam. Beside the grape vines grows the mulberry tree, a favourite target for passing birds when it’s in fruit and the source of another variety of exquisite homemade jam and pies.
At the back of the garden, just behind the out-house, is the chook pen constructed of corrugated iron, wood and wire. Some of the perches are old wrought iron bed heads and the straw lined laying boxes provide a seemingly endless supply of fresh golden-yolk eggs for breakfasts and the wide variety of addictive desserts and cakes grandma makes.
Beyond the chook pen is the magnificent 180 degree view of the fields and Krambach Mountain.
It’s a Doctor Who book I’m reading. One of the “Target” novelisations of the many lost episodes from the 1960”s… Doctor Who And The Crusaders or Doctor Who And The Zarbi. These simply written but engaging books were the key for me overcoming my fear of reading due to my dyslexia and making me the avid and addicted reader I am today, just as those soap shows made me the TV addict I am today.
I would spend hours on these rainy days escaping into the images and characters the words created, seeing it all as if I was actually there. Providing me the same feeling of “all is right with the world” that I’m feeling until the raucous sound of a distant car alarm and the ringing of my mobile phone drag me unceremoniously back to reality, back to a rainy morning in Werribee, 2017.
This afternoon I sat out the back on the deck, under our pergola listening to the constant soft fall of the calming rain and read a few pages of each of those books, both published back in 1973.
Doctor Who And The Crusaders had a beautiful beginning:
“As swiftly and as silently as a shadow, Doctor Who’s Space and Time ship, the Tardis, appeared on a succession of planets each as different as the pebbles on a beach, stayed a while and then vanished, as mysteriously as it had come. And whatever alien world it was that received him and his fellow travellers, and however well or badly they were treated, the Doctor always set things to rights, put down injustice, encouraged dignity, fair treatment and respect.”
How beautifully put by David Whitaker.
It was also interesting how, in Doctor Who And The Zarbi, writer Bill Strutton refers to him as Doctor Who instead of The Doctor. Then at the back of the book it lists places that have not existed for decades as the addresses to send away to purchase copies for:
“£1.50 plus Postage and Packing Rate: UK: 45p for the first book, 20p for the second and 14p for each additional book ordered to a maximum charge of £1.63. BFPO and EIRE: 45pfor the first book, 20p for the second book, 14p per copy for the next 7 books thereafter 8p per book. OVERSEAS: 75p for the first book and21p per copy for each additional book.”
Well that was overly complicated! Thankfully we have Amazon online these days!
Last thing I did tonight was watch the latest episode of The Young And The Restless direct from the US then fall back to sleep listening to the rain.
The endless circle of time keeps turning.
The more things change, the more they stay the same.
© MICHAEL YOUNG 2016.