I won’t do a rain dance, I won’t, I won’t. I’ve waited TEN LONG MONTHS for the famed ‘dry breezy’ season to get here and what happens? WHAT HAPPENS? A huge great bonfire, that’s what, smoke from Indonesian land-clearing wafting over our picket fence and tampering with our laundry. We need clouds and rain to put it out and measures are being put in place, with talk of an elegantly named process known as “cloud seeding“. Sounds romantic but it’s actually very necessary because the haze (a mild term that really doesn’t do justice to the grey menace hanging over this town) is very bad this time round, but to pray for rain: really? Rain, my old enemy, my nemesis and one of the main reasons for my hesitation in moving here (because surely going from one rainy country to another was just bonkers?).
Yet here I am checking the skies and crossing my fingers. I can’t see much up there, mind you, it is all white with a hint of yellowy brown. The sunrise over the last two days has had an odd sunset flavour; twilight segues into night much more gradually than the usual light/dark plummet; at lunchtime when the PSI reached an all-time peak I honestly couldn’t see the buildings at the very end of our road. Now I know what ‘acrid’ means; now I know, having had mild asthma-type twinges for the last few years, what it is like to have a properly tight chest, to find proper relief from those little blue puffers I’ve had rattling in my handbag for years. The local pharmacies have run out of the coveted N95 masks (you can’t just stick a paper mask on, it could actually make things more uncomfortable), my eyes are itchy and I’ve had a sore throat for the last two days, but enough about me. If it’s like this for us I hate to think what it’s like over there, not to mention how the wildlife is coping: orangs and birds who have escaped the tree-felling will now be living in a toxic haze.
So a prayer for rain it is, then, for the remaining six days before we fly back to another kind of rain, the cold, UK kind. As SmallMonkey has been pulled from school this week, with threats of further closure hanging over next week, I will be stocking up on hip flasks as well as n95 masks (when I can find them).