Eventually the luck had to run out and some bad weather had to elbow its way back in. It’s been spilling rain all day, which kind of puts you off cycling to town or walking to the beach. It even makes me glad I didn’t mortgage one of my lungs to escape to Oxegen, I’ve been there in this kind of weather and it’s not an experience I’m impatient to repeat.
But since outdoor activities are not an option (without catching pneumonia) the house has to be my playground. Having fun inside is a lot easier when you are 8. You can play hide and seek or make believe or invent new soap opera storylines for your Barbies. When you’re twenty this sort of behaviour isn’t really the done thing. The obvious diversion is to watch a lot of TV…but then I find I get bored even as I’m watching it and drift off to do other things (read make sandwiches….lots of delicious sandwiches, and that’s only fun for so long…). Then at around eleven o’clock when I’m really too tired to start anything even mildly productive I inevitably remember that there are a million things I could have done with my rainy day that I didn’t get around to because I was watching repeats of Come Dine with Me. Looking at it like this it seems mad how much time I waste with it.
So since the weather has decided to act like a complete female these past few days (you know unpredictable, changing its mind every few minutes, getting into drawn out periods of gloom for no apparent reason) I reckoned it would be a good idea to think up a list of activities (as in things that require action, not watching action) that are best pursued on rainy days, I mean God knows we get a lot of them in this part of the world, so many that they can’t all be bad. In fact rainy days are perfect for doing a lot of rather brilliant things. An obvious one is reading a book. 100% of the people I’ve surveyed agreed that curling up in bed or on the couch in pyjamas (or similarly comfortable attire) , with a good book and a cup of tea is one of the most pleasant experiences that life has to offer. But when it’s missing its key element- the sound of rain falling hard against a nearby window, it is only half as wonderful because a large part of the satisfaction comes from the smug feeling that you are safe and protected from the manky auld day outside-both by your warm, dry surroundings and the different climate you’re escaping to with your book.
Also on my list would be writing. All kinds of writing. Maybe in your diary, or your blog, or a letter to a friend. The last one is my favourite actually because you get around to the other ones whether it’s sunny or not but writing letters well, it’s something I always mean to do, and something I enjoy doing, but it seems to take being stuck indoors to actually get me started. Today I wrote to my best friend who is currently living, working and generally having a mad laugh in San Francisco. Once I started writing I found I had pages and pages to say. Nobody could accuse this letter of not including the minute details of life in Sligo at the minute, as well as every thought that’s come into my head and managed to lodge itself there for the past two weeks. Whether it proves interesting reading for my friend is another matter but she needs to be kept up to date on these things if we are to keep our friendship at that ‘uncommonly close’ level.
When I had finished writing and decorating the letter I got a call from my Mum. We had visitors coming in the evening and she wanted me to throw a cake together. Baking is definitely high on my rainy day fun list. You get the pleasure of making something with the added bonus of knowing that other people will really enjoy it too. On this occasion I made the blueberry cake. It’s a fairly fool proof recipe and the end product looks pretty impressive. I found the original recipe here http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/1224/blueberry-soured-cream-cake-with-cheesecake-frosti but instead of the butter I use margarine (I’m a fan of butter in its place, but in this cake the flavour was a bit overpowering) and I like to add a punnet of raspberries to the mixture too if there are any going spare. Went down a treat with the relatives..although they kind of have to say that.
Right so I have to admit that despite the cake baking, letter writing, reading and blogging I did watch some TV on this rainy day. Well Frasier to be specific (in my defence channel 4 name it the best sitcom of all time). But I think today was at least a positive start. And though I didn’t get to do them today I came up with some other simple, cheap activities I don’t do often enough that could rescue future rainy days from becoming wasted days:
1) Cooking a meal for friends or family (it’s not the same as baking!), especially something you’ve never tried before.
2)Tidying out your room-this might seem like a dull idea but the last time I did it on a rainy day I ended up finding all sorts of items that brought me right back to hilarious moments in my teens: notes my friends passed me in class; old diary entries; homemade birthday presents that I actually fell down laughing at when they were first given to me and now almost make me cry because the memory makes me so happy. Beware the bedroom tidy- you can rediscover all sorts of things!
3)Putting things on your wall. And customising the auld room in general. Since I went to college my Mum has wiped my bedroom entirely clean of personality. Admittedly there were some rather silly things in there before. An entire wall devoted to Johhny Depp, bits of cutlery, shop displays and signs (my friends and I went through that sign stealing phase so common in youngsters). But since it’s still my room and will be for a little while longer I want there to be some indication of who lives here so I’ve been getting all my photos from college together, framing them, and putting them up around the place. And all right a sign or two might make it in there….but only really good ones, just to remind me of my colourful youth…Even if your room hasn’t recently been stripped of everything that used to make it unique there is surely a way that you could make it a more pleasant place to be, something you’ve wanted to do with it for a while, maybe run out to the garden in the rain and pick some flowers for the window sill?
4) Swimming. In the sea I mean, or maybe a lake or a river (or an outdoor pool if you live in another country, in Ireland they aren’t so common, stupid climate!). If you have the luxury of living in the vicinity of any of these then take a dip. Swimming in the rain is delicious and a perfect antidote to wet day blues since you’ve gone and made yourself wet by choice- lets the rain know it can’t bother you!
5) Go for a run. I know initially this seemed like it would be an indoorsy type of a list but I just went for a run in drizzle and it was exhilarating. You can’t stop me getting my heart rate up elements!
6) Listen to an album. Don’t just put it on in the background while you do something else. Really listen to it. If it’s an old one remember why you love it, if you haven’t heard it before it might become a favourite
It’s not a huge list so far, I’m tempted to put down more things but already I think it’s a list that may only appeal to a small group of people and if I continue I might narrow its appeal further! But more will follow. Necessity breeds invention and I reckon I’m going to need lots of rainy day entertainment over the next while.