The sky grinds low. Rain pummels the canal. A thousand instant craters spluttering in and out of existence. English rain. Cold and hard. A relentless imitation of a monsoon. A thousand new miniature streams pouring into the canal.
It is a summer afternoon, yet the sky is bruised black with premature darkness. Pipes along the canal steam. Release primordial phantoms that curl and dance away along the cut.
Being English requires you to understand and embrace the country’s bi-polar weather. You learn to wake to sunshine and see all your plans for the day torn apart as the afternoon brings the November three months early. Welcome its unpredictability or it will drive you crazy.
Strangely, the harshness of sudden English rain has its compensations. Your view never dulls to the eye, because when it pours like this, everything is transformed. There is always an excuse for keeping a battered trench coat in your wardrobe. You can prove your devotion by venturing out to buy milk.
This is what I do this afternoon. Turn my collar up. Venture out into a noir film director’s wet dream. Walk the canal out of the Three Bridge Kingdom towards the sharp light of the shops. Skin tightening to armour as water needles fall on it. Bless the English rain for giving me the chance to make even grocery shopping a little note of love to Surreal Girl.