It’s raining again

Jul 6th, 2012 | By | Category: Ireland

He was right; there was no mistaking what time of year it was. A ‘V’ shape of red, white and blue bunting ran from the post of his garden gate to each end of the upper corners of the front of his house.  A steel flag holder, affixed to the wall above his front door held a Union Jack, each house in the estate was identically attired. There was no mistaking that it was the first week of July in the Northern Ireland of the 1980s. The fact that it was cool and damp and grey was incidental to the fact that the Twelfth was imminent.

In Co Laois there are no flags to indicate the time of year; the year’s greyness permeates everything, a dampness that penetrates to the bones. A mist lies across the Slieve Blooms, mud spatters the car as a lorry passes on a narrow road. Being good mannered, a farmer from the parish smiles as he talks to a reporter for the national evening news, with courtesy he talks of the exceptional nature of the summer.

The rain is more than an inconvenience, more than a matter of missing a barbecue or cancelling a sporting event. One sector of the economy that endured the crash and offered bright prospects lies under a dark cloud. Livestock, taken in to preserve fields, are being fed as if it were winter; crops are threatened. A voice on the radio talks of the rains costing €160 million; each further wet day adds to the sum.

Antonio, Antonio‘, comes the voice from childhood days. BBC Radio for Schools knew what appealed to the listeners of Singing Together:

On Monday morning he got up.
‘It’s raining, it’s raining again!’
‘I can’t go to school today,’ he said
‘It’s raining, it’s raining again!’

Antonio! Antonio!
it’s raining, it’s raining again!’

Another six days of rain follow, each with its cry of complaint to Antonio. Nothing can be done when there is nothing but rainfall. There were things that would make one wish for rain, but other things one would miss, particularly playing football, lost on the Tuesday of the song.

Cries to Antonio were sung with good cheer; the rain was no more than a postponement of activities that would be completed next week, if not tomorrow. Laois rain, that comes with increased intensity as evening draws in, falls with no cheer.

Apart from the hours of daylight, the season is indiscernible from its predecessor. Perhaps we need some bunting.


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