We are having our 50-year storm this week. We could have had it on any day in the past or future 50 years but it arrived this week. It is cold and raining, not any old rain, this rain has apparently been saving itself for the past 50 years at least. Most rain comes down in a drizzle, in drops or when it is heavy in ‘cats and dogs’. Today’s rain is coming down in barrel sized globs and doing a great deal of damage in a region unused to heavy rains.
As usual on a Tuesday I went down to paint in the art studio which is on the lower floor, on a level with the pool and gardens. I painted, not very successfully, and after a couple of hours, left to go back to the apartment upstairs. As I passed the windows that look out onto the gardens I saw that the rain was blowing horizontally at full blast, driven by a howling wind. Then I reached the double glass doors that open out onto the garden. I heard a shrieking sound and looked out to see a crowd of swimmers who had come from the exercise class in the pool. They were in a tight crowd and were trying to open the doors.
I pushed with all my strength from the inside, and finally the swimmers, who turned out to be all women, began coming in. They were the cream of the female residents of the retirement home, all in toweling gowns, but the wind had blown the gowns open, some over their heads and others almost off their bodies. I was faced by gale-blown hairdo’s and acres of bare skin.
These images will remain with me for a long time.