Tuesday, August 16, 2011

A wild weather ride

On Sunday it rained. It started, loud and drumming on the skylights, somewhere after midnight. I thought of water washing horizontally some feet above us, heading for the gutters, pooling in one corner. I have become familiar with the tilt and lean of the silvertop and the ways of water on the roof. It rained and rained. It was raining when we woke up. I could hear the boots overhead of Raccoon House's owner. His roof is like black confetti and our shared gutter blocks easily, making his leaks worse.

It rained while I stood on the terrace in a sodden kikoi, emptying water from the braai, before flipping the giant copper bowl upside down, to collect no more. It rained while we had coffee and challah bread (kitka for South Africans reading this). It rained all day. I could not remember when last it had rained, properly.

An email arrived from Elizabeth Royte who volunteers for the Litter Mob, advising that seeing the Gowanus at low tide in a flood situation is quite something. All the runoff water gushes visibly from pipes into the stagnant canal, creating a wall of sewage and effluvia, made famous in this video. If I have become reluctantly familiar with discarded condoms then Elizabeth is not only an authority on garbage but a connoisseuse of water...and in the Gowanus the two are combined to dramatic effect.

It rained through dinner. The ceiling started to drip.

On Monday I spent an afternoon on the roof, searching for weak spots, spackling a suspect area with black cement, checking the gutter,  and then moving on to more interesting things, like dead heading the roses and removing at last the black tuteur that I could never love. In the process I damaged the Apios (groundnut) vine, but the clematis, which has returned from the dead, survived the tuteur's extaction.

I picked tomatoes, watched another storm move past and a giant cumulus power struggle in the sky to the east.

The sun came out.

And I laid the table outside for a cool-evening supper. This is not August, anymore. This is mid September.

I cut up our first rooftop watermelon.

And made a summer soup, with raw sweetcorn, hot chile and lime.

We sat under a ravishing terrace sky and drank a Hungarian Tokai. 

Perfect weather.

Sunday's rain topped out at 7.79 inches at Kennedy Airport, a record for a single day.


  1. Nearly 8 inches in one day - wow! Too bad it didn't come over a week, tho. Know your gardens are happier now; hope the roof is likewise.

  2. and raccoon house owner was worried about your farm causing leaks??

    beautifully dramatic photos.

  3. And then it rained some MORE where we live!

  4. Hier is die weer net so vreemd. 26 grade die een dag in Pretoria, die volgende sneeu dit in Johannesburg. My etes ossileer tussen slaai die een dag en heartening sop die volgende.


Comments on posts older than 48 hours are moderated for spam.