Rainy-day resilience with a little pap and wors.

Rainy-day resilience with a little pap and wors.

Expat Life: A Country Brew

It rained today. That’s not unusual. What is unusual is that I don’t find myself shielding my face and running & hiding as if the stuff that’s falling from the sky is some unknown acid liquid ready to burn out my eyes and bleach my hair. It’s just rain. And for the longest time, while adjusting to life in the UK, I marvelled at how people just continued on, despite the weather. The dog still gets walked. The kids still walk to school in the rain – hair drenched; blazers sodden. People still stroll into town to get their daily supplies. But the thing that amuses me most when it rains is the resilience of festival-goers. I’m not talking those Woodstock-esque festivals where Wellies are the popular outfit of choice, tents are pitched in mud baths, and revellers come away slightly weather-worn, but with a look of gratification on their faces, and I know that I’ve missed out on something special. I’m talking about the little country fairs and markets that take place in the Dorset countryside, over summer. Those little country fairs with merry-go-rounds and candy-floss machines, dog shows and pony rides, little exhibition stands of carved wooden planting boxes, hand-painted porcelain jugs and historic photographs of towns in and around Dorset.

I suppose resilience may not really be the right word, as much as “way-of-life” would be. Growing up, if it rained, we’d wait it out because it would probably be over in about half an hour. Either that, or if it did continue for a day or two, we simply wouldn’t venture out. Certainly not to a country fair or for a walk on the beach. It was as simple as that. But in the UK, what has struck me most is that life just continues onwards – rain or shine. It must, I suppose. Rain is not an anomaly, it’s a guarantee. And I’ve realised how a little thing such as weather-dependency has been such an overlooked privilege for those of us hailing from warmer parts of the world.

Arranging a Bring & Braai on a weekend was as easy as pouring the sauce over your pap, and people pitched up with beer, boerie and chops. It was a regular thing – a dependable thing. But not quite so much in the UK – where the sun may shine at 10, and wash out any good intention by 2. However, for those of us who are still adamant that summertime beans braai-time, and the abundance of BBQ gear (albeit instant barbecues), outdoor loungers, beach huts and pop-up swimming pools over the summer season, it is quite clear that this the UK is also a nation that enjoys a good meal outdoor, and I’ve often wondered why the concept of the Stoep, has never quite caught on. Especially with the vulnerability of weather-independence. Perhaps it’s just a seasonal thing – like turkey for Christmas, pancakes on Shrove Tuesday – perhaps if it rains, people simply just don’t braai. And perhaps that’s actually ok?

Regardless, our house will probably be the only one in town with a Stoep – perhaps even a replica of my brother’s karoo Soeperstoep that stretches for what seems like miles, and is littered with habitable places, eclectic cacti, candles and lanterns of all shapes and sizes. And ours will have a shelter for a braai, and it will allow for outdoor dining, even if it rains.

And perhaps that, in a sense, is my version of rainy-day resilience.

And I’ll be ok with that.

About the Author

Katy Roberts administrator

Katy Roberts has over 15 years's experience in helping businesses amplify their brands, build their customer bases and engage effectively with audience communities in order to build relationship for long-term business success. Having left the corporate world and now working independently since 2015, Katy continues to help local and national businesses tell their story.

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