By in Personal

When drowned rat met soggy dog, 2004

alexdg1 ’s post about getting caught in the rain reminded me of my own experience a decade ago.

Mr C and I had just bought this house a couple of months previously, and I’d only been living in the area for less than a year, so was still getting used to the way the weather can suddenly change here. With no hills to hold the weather back, the storms sweep in almost out of nowhere, and one minute it can be dry, but the next, dropping it down floodwise. We were still in the early days of our relationship, had been dating long distance for a year, and finally decided to put down roots together.

So one summer’s day, there I was waiting at the stop to go home from work. I was wearing a fleece, T-shirt, trousers and sandals. No coat, and I don’t use an umbrella as I’m dangerous with those. As I was waiting for the delayed bus, I started to hear rumbles of thunder in the background. It started to drizzle and there was still no bus. The bus stop had no shelter so I was stuck out in the rain as the intensified. I can’t see much without my glasses but as the rain turned from drizzle to cloudburst and finally to hail, I couldn’t see anything with them either. Because of the hail, I took them off and stuck them in my bag, flooding it as I opened it. In those conditions I couldn’t use my phone to find out whether Mr C had arrived home from his week working away either.

Eventually I saw what looked like a bus emerging through the curtain of rain. I stuck my hand out and it stopped. It was one of the rival company’s buses that I didn’t have a ticket for. The didn’t seem to care and let me on anyway, telling me he would drop me at the entrance to the village, which he would pass on his route. I was soaked, rain running off my trouser hems, dripping off my hair and pooling on the floor of the bus. As he drove off, the driver received a round of applause from the passengers for picking me up and several people either offered to pay my fare or attempted to give me their seat, despite the fact that I was sopping wet.

The cloudburst had caused flooding on the main road to the village and so progress was slow. By the time we arrived at the turnoff, I was shivering. The driver, good as his word, stopped and let me off, thanking me for allowing him to make up time on his service by travelling in the inside (least congested) lane. With the good wishes of the passengers ringing in my ears, I set off on a and uncomfortable mile long walk up the road to home. The water was pouring down the road, washing through my sandals and making my feet even colder. Walking on the grass in flat Roman sandals was impossible as all I did was slide over, so I progressed slowly and soggily up the road, hopping onto the verge whenever a car came past.

Eventually slithering to a halt outside our back door, and realising that Mr C was in fact at home, I yelled for him to bring me a towel and dry clothes. He didn’t even know where I kept my underwear at that point, so I ended up with a pair of socks, one of his pairs of underpants, a bra from the laundry basket and my dressing gown. I shooed him away again and stripped off, throwing everything into the washing machine as I took it off. After wrapping myself in my dressing gown and turning on the washing machine, I headed upstairs for a long hot shower before crawling into bed to warm up.

The oddest thing was that when I took my trousers out of the washer once it had finished, they were actually drier than when I had put them in. Like Alex, I didn’t show symptoms of a cold immediately, but I definitely did later on, and Freshers’ Flu season that year was particularly bad for me. Lesson learned, I now check the forecast before leaving in the morning, and choose my trench coat over a lightweight jacket if there’s even a hint of rain. I also carry a hat with me at all times in case I get caught in the rain.

Image Credit » by jrperes

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wolfgirl569 wrote on September 6, 2015, 10:03 AM

I am very glad that the bus driver did not care about the ticket. Maybe you could try a small fold up umbrella too. It would offer a little protection if badly needed

WordChazer wrote on September 6, 2015, 10:14 AM

I'm too short to carry an umbrella safely. If there's more than me in a place I'll have someone's eye out with the brolly in no time.

DWDavisRSL wrote on September 6, 2015, 10:39 AM

I can sense from your story the frustration you felt trudging up that hill the last mile home.

WordChazer wrote on September 6, 2015, 11:08 AM

Oh yes. Up the hill almost a mile and then about 1/4 mile down the other side to our house which is at the bottom of the other, steeper, side. Not even really a hill, a bobble on the landscape. It might as well have been Mount Everest that day, though. I was cold, wet, tired, sore from being hit by the hail and from rubbing my feet raw in my sandals, gritty from the dirt thrown up as the raindrops fell. I've walked 4 Half Marathons with fewer injuries than I sustained that day - and during one of those it snowed. Rarely worn sandals again since then either as they're not exactly walking shoes. Work dress code forbids them anyway these days, and I have to say I'm grateful.