September roared out like a fiend and October swept in on black wings of water.
Heeding wind gust warnings, I had already heaved the fig onto the stone table, to prevent dangerous toppling. It is surprisingly heavy. Late in the afternoon on Thursday the wind threw the New Dawn rose down back onto the terrace, from the side, breaking its wire supports, and bringing the wire baskets that its thorny canes rest on crashing down, too, and I left it all there till this afternoon, thinking it pointless get scratched tying it up before the worst was over.
It did get worse. At 4am we were both still awake, listening to the wind rip and buffet the climbing roses (squealing horribly against the plastic gutters), and then shriek over the roof. It pulled and tore and subsided and then rose to a shuddering pitch again, whistling, heaving, threatening. I kept my ears pricked for pot-moving noises, worrying about all the other plants on the terrace and roof. Far away, objects landed hard on streets. We got up. Checked the terrace yet again. I made tea and ate some toast and Marmite. That's what you do when all else fails. I read some more. Vince wrote computer code. I tucked myself back up under the mosquito netting * and tried again. Soon it rained, really, really hard, water rushed through the gutters and down to the street, and at last my body relaxed, and I felt myself sinking into the sheets. My Sesotho (suh soo-too) name, Pulani, means It is raining (apparently it was when I was born), and the sound puts me to sleep.
It rained some more today, and then tonight we had a spectacular sunset.
I was on the roof in a cold breeze, checking the farm, picking greens, catching a caterpillar and tying the roses back up again.
The whole western sky was moving in parallel bands of cloud, quite fast, and suddenly lit from below. It lasted only a few minutes, and then it was gone, switched off.
* Is this not the worst New York mosquito year, ever?