Thursday 24 July 2014

Rain Lover

I came across a new word the other day, ‘pluviophile’. It’s a proposed new word to mean ‘rain-lover’ or ‘one who finds peace of mind in the rain’. There seems to be some debate whether it should be spelled as ‘pluviaphile’ instead; I like the word either way, though think I prefer the second spelling.

Strictly speaking, I’m not a pluviaphile. My love of the rain ends after a few days of heavy downpour and a few minutes of drizzle. I do, however, prefer the rain to the heat – particularly when the rain comes heavily, unexpectedly and in company with thunder and lightning. The heat leaves me frustrated and fractious; the rain – heavy, stormy rain – refreshes and recharges me and definitely gives me peace of mind.

If I were truly a rain-lover, I would be able to identify clouds at a glance and tell you interesting facts about their height and formation. Instead, I have a few vaguely-remembered names from geography lessons at school.

Nimbus is a cloud, right?

But I love the rain. I love those fast, little drops that send you from dry to soaked in a matter of minutes and leave me drenched for work. I love those large drops that fall like an approving pat; cool in hot and heavy air.

That steady, heavy rain, where the drops are large but fall apart so you don’t get drenched immediately, that’s probably my favourite. It normally presages a thunderstorm, and there’s nothing like a thunderstorm to make me want to throw my shoes off and run barefoot through grass. I dream of owning a large, private garden not just because that would be lovely but also because then I could run naked through the rain without fear of judgement. I’d just need Husbit to stand inside the door with a towel for when I’ve had enough.


When I was very little, our parents knew a storm was on its way because my big sister would have a nosebleed and my little sister and I would have terrible headaches. The pain is much less these days, but I can still feel the pressure build up before a storm and it raises an excitement within me that is thwarted if the storm fails to appear or if it happens overnight and I sleep through or if I’m too exhausted from work to go outside and just stand in that freedom.

I love the rain.

Amongst my colleagues at work, I have an almost negative reputation because I’m more comfortable in the cold than the heat. I joke that it’s because I lived in Wales for three years, but my Dad says I’ve always been that way. I can’t sleep in the heat and it makes my thinking sluggish, like a troll on Discworld.

I grew up in an old Victorian house and my father’s tolerance for the cold, like mine now, outweighed his tolerance for the heat so he would not turn on the central heating until the last possible moment. My bedroom was at the back corner of the house, furthest from the chimney breast that served the open fire. My radiator was at the end of the line and needed bleeding more often than not, so even when the heating was on my room often didn’t benefit. The small window was single-glazed – the room used to be a bathroom and I liked the floral pattern on the obscured glass so resisted having it changed even as I complained about the cold. In the winter, there would be ice on the water by my bed when I woke and, you know what? That’s the way I liked it.

Last winter, we had a lot of rain and high winds and it got old quickly. I think most people prefer to have some variation in weather – a cool day among the hot days they profess to love; a day of sunshine amongst the clouds. I prefer the cold to the heat but the occasional hot day is lovely, and I love a proper storm but they are more enjoyable in juxtaposition to calmer weather – or as a break from the oppressive heat of this summer.

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