Holidays In The Rain

Holiday season is upon us. Here in England the weather continues to be not quite what you would hope for when taking some time off work, and it has reminded me of childhood holidays spent in North Wales, and in the Isle of Man, when frequently we would find ourselves on holiday in the rain. The interesting thing is that I don’t remember this mattering very much to us at the time; I have wonderful memories of those holidays, the places we went to and the way everything looked and felt. I have just read a lovely post by Annika Ruohonen, Finding Shelter in the Dunes, that reminded me of how it feels to be in natural, wild places that are undevelopped and unspoilt, and how important these places are.

Yesterday we had rain of almost every different kind. It seems strange that we have relatively few words to describe all these kinds of what meteorologists call ‘precipitation’ – drizzle, shower, steady rain, downpour. What about the rain that is not even drizzle, but just barely something more than mist, or cloud? The kind that wetted us yesterday afternoon, when the valley was inhabited for a while with a cloud so low that it swam along the hillside beneath the horizon, at the same level as the grazing sheep. And what about the kind that comes down in stiff straight rods, bounces off tarmac and overflows gutters? Or the kind that sweeps sideways in wet curtains in a gusty wind?

Remembering our childhood holidays with days spent walking in hills and mountains no matter what the weather, I thought that as soon as the rain eased off a bit on this dark and gloomy day I might as well seek out the darkest and gloomiest place within easy reach and see what I might find.

There is a small patch of woodland in the corner of the park that I can get to in less than five minutes, and scrambling up a path that had almost turned into a mudslide I found a cool dark green world that made me feel almost as if I was under water. Turning round to look back down the path I nearly slipped and accidentally pressed the shutter release on my camera, which unintentionally produced a shot that looked a lot more like rain than the rain itself. I was delighted with this because up until then, none of my rainy pictures had looked anything like what I was experiencing – and there’s a lot to enjoy in a wet wood, or a wet street for that matter.

The weather keeps us indoors much more than it should. I’m glad that so much of my time as a child was spent outdoors, and I realise how lucky I was to grow up in a place where it was possible for us to play outside, and at a time when we could run free – not just in the garden of our house but also in fields and woods. I will always be grateful for that, and that the habit of getting out of the house has stayed with me, no matter where I am – even in the rain.

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4 thoughts on “Holidays In The Rain

  1. This was nice to read. I find the terminology interesting. When you say ‘holiday season,’ I’m supposing you mean the time of year when folks tend to take vacations (go on holiday). To Americans, holiday season is the time from Thanksgiving (late November) through Christmas and the New Year. What you are calling holiday season, I think we would just call summer. I’m jealous of your rain. We’re still living through prolonged drought here in the American Midwest.

  2. Hello, nice to hear from you. I’m usually alert to the ways in which we use language differently – by which I mean in Britain and America – but you’ve caught me out! I’d forgotten this. Apologies for any confusion. We don’t use the word ‘vacation’ the way you do in America, so we talk about school and college holidays, and about ‘taking a holiday’ or ‘going abroad for a holiday’ – and since all of this tends to happen mostly in the summer months, we do talk about this time as ‘holiday season’. In winter, as we don’t have Thanksgiving but just celebrate Christmas and New Year, we tend to lump these two into one and call it ‘the Christmas season’ – though nowadays I notice that some American usage has started to appear over here as well, partly because of advertisements. The Coca-Cola one comes to mind, the Christmas one that has the jingle ‘Holidays are coming, holidays are coming…..’ which to me still sounds very odd.

    Hope your drought breaks soon. Wish we could send over some of our rain. Do you have any other words for it – rain, I mean?

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