Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Rain at last, House of Exile and lime to come.

1. My father comes in with a cup of tea and opens the curtains. 'It's a bit dull,' he says. The longed-for rain has come.

2. One of my favourites among the library of old Penguins at my parents' is called House of Exile. It describes the time Nora Waln spent with a Chinese family between World War I and World War II. She lived as a daughter of the family, joining in their work, their happinesses and their sadnesses. I loved this book because it was about a woman traveller -- most of the titles were men's stories -- and because it was about home life, rather than man conquering the wilderness.

3. I arrive home to see that the lime trees on our road are now in full leaf. My father mentions that it will be lovely when it flowers. He recalls a walk we did once on the Isle of Skye -- A terrifying rainstorm had swelled the stream blocking our path so we were forced camp on a circle of flat ground barely big enough for our wet tent. The next morning, crawling out of sodden sleepingbags we found the stream had gone down and could now be crossed safely. We walked out of the hills and then home along a mile of lime trees in flower. The scent of lime blossom is mixed up with a feeling of relief for me, so I am looking forward to the high summer day when 'our' lime trees bloom.