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Monday, July 15, 2013

Racing Raindrops

My paternal grandmother was named Ellen Irene but everyone I knew called her Nell. She was small and birdlike,only about 5' tall and with a fine frame, it was hard to imagine her bearing four children. 
I have many memories, snippets of stories and shared learning but if I had to use one word to describe her it would be "Victorian". She was not at all like cuddly, comfortable Nanny (my maternal grandmother) but rather formal and of high expectations and moral fibre, but I loved her just the same.

When I was little and complaining of being bored on a wet miserable day she told me she and her brother would watch the raindrops on the window and "race" against each other. They would have competitions to see whose raindrop would reach the bottom first. I found it hard to believe because it requires a certain type of rainy day and window aspect to achieve a good race which eluded me for a long time. Once I came close on a car trip. 

A.A. Milne also wrote a poem about racing raindrops in his poem called "Waiting At The Window" from his book of poetry "Now We Are Six" first published in 1927 and wonderfully illustrated by E.H. Shepard. Presumably children were doing it well before then, I wonder do they do it now? 

I once contrived to race drops on the side of the bath by gently running water from my cupped palm, watching as rivulets ran into each other and trickled away adding to other drops making them full and heavy and in turn running down to join the bath water.

It is meditative and calming to become lost in the small world of water drops. Even now I gaze at droplet covered windows looking for my mark.
Wet wintry July days....
Rainy days remind me of Nell...


  1. Lovely post Tanya. I remember this poem from primary school, back then we had to learn poems as a class and recite them.

  2. Such a simple pleasure and fun. My girls have enjoyed that game in the car while waiting for the lights to change. I didn't even prompt them, I just heard " mine's winning, no it's not, mine is".

  3. What wonderful memories of your grandmother.

    That book is somewhere on my bookshelf, and I have enjoyed the illustrations and poems.


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