It was absolutely chucking it down when the alarm dragged me from sleep this morning. Unlike 6am a couple of weeks ago though, the sky had already begun to lighten and was not pitch black. I got up, made tea and brought it back to bed – one of my favourite winter rituals. Even though my husband had the day off, he had a mug as well because given the horrendous time he normally gets up, 6am is already a bit of a lie-in for him.
Somehow the time skipped by. I am not sure quite what I was reading but suddenly it was nearly quarter to seven and the rain had stoppped. The dogs looked hopefully at me as I shifted position and leapt up when I got out of bed. After dressing, though, I peered out of the large windows at the back of my house and what I saw concerned me.
The happy hour I had spent on Sunday flicking through the Reverse Dictionary had included a brief study of clouds and what they signified. I did not like the look of the clouds to the west of my back garden, which were hovering over the park where I was going to walk my dogs. They looked grey and full of rain.
‘It is going to rain again,’ my husband warned. ‘Big time.’
My husband is one of those people who can spend an endless amount of time watching the weather. I thank god every day that we do not have a weather channel on free TV or I am pretty sure it would be the default station. Being Irish, he has a natural appreciation of the wet stuff – and by that I mean rain, because just as the Eskimos have 50 words for snow, so the Irish can talk endlessly about why they have such a green land and great dairy produce.
‘Are you sure?’ I asked. ‘Listen, the birds are singing.’
I am not sure why I put such faith in the birds, but they were all having a right old sing along, alright. At the moment we have a family of galahs that live near our house – I quite often see them perched on the TV aerial next door and came home the other day to see one mucking about on my roof like a tiny, feathered drunk. Galahs are a type of parrot with a beautiful pink plumage on their chest and grey feathers elsewhere. Their name is pronounced gu-laaaaaah, with the emphasis on the second syllable, and they have a reputation for being stupid. I think it is quite unfair though, and possibly because they are natural clowns and also ground feeders who are quite often slow to get out of the way of cars. However unfair this reputation, it does mean that ‘Galah’ is also a friendly slang term in Australia for an idiot.
As it happened, I was the idiot. I think I got those stories you hear after earthquakes and Tsunamis where the birds all stop singing before the event, and mixed it up and backwards in my head to create a new theory about rain. Maybe it was all that time I spent reading the Reverse Dictionary? We got to the park and it absolutely bucketed down.
I was OK with my Mac and umbrella but the dogs got drenched.
‘Blame the birds, Archie,’ I explained – although I may have been pushing the fault a little too far in my parrot scapegoating as by now I had put my sodden dog in the bath and was adding insult to injury by washing him with hot soapy water. I had been meaning to give him a bath for a few days and as he had come back soaking it seemed as good as time as any.
I dried him off and wrapped his head in a towel but he refused to move, and lay looking like E.T on the couch with the towel around his head. He loves being groomed but he is not a huge fan of baths and I think he was just taking his time getting over this double dunking.
I was about ready to leave for work and he still had not budged. I turned to my other dog, who was almost completely dry and ready for more adventure.
‘Have a word with your brother, Lucy,’ I said to her, ‘he looks like a right galah lying there like that.