The Kingston Corporate area has been in a drought; water restrictions were increased this week for areas served by the Mona Reservoir (which is now at 40 percent of capacity), meaning lock off during the nights. For most, that doesn’t mean much. I get up early most mornings, so am accustomed to the hiss of air and not water coming from the taps. (Our area is served by Constant Spring, which is at the dramatically low 21 percent of capacity.) I suggested to the assembled household that they catch some pans of water in the evenings, just in case the lock off is extended any morning, so that they could at least have a bath in a saucepan :-). So far, it’s not been a rough deal. The heat has started to rise and now we have had the first phase of regular afternoon rains, sometimes quite heavy, but not lasting for more than an hour or so.
My sporting activities are usually early in the mornings, but on Friday afternoons, I’ve been having a ‘date’ with a lady who wants to play a round a little.
Today, we were due to start a little later than usual because she needed to check on an elbow injury from playing too much tennis. As the afternoon approached, so did the rains, and by 1pm we were in a full inundation. “Are we rained out?” came the first message. I replied no. We could not agree on a time because she was stuck in traffic. When heavy rain comes, Kingstonians tend to head home early and roads start to flood creating a nasty admixture of heavy early afternoon traffic congestion.
Anyway, I grabbed some lunch and went to the club to wait for her. The rain had stopped. Small groups of players were headed out for their regular Friday afternoon sessions. I waited and stretched. The rain started again. “Just got home. Really rained out now,” came the message. She had decided that home was the place to be, but was kind enough to offer that I come for a drink. I drove the short distance to her house. Her security guard opened the gates and I parked. Her housekeeper was getting through her afternoon chores. I got a mixture of grapefruit and orange juice, and we sat to watch some tennis on TV. She never watches TV, so had to figure out how to get the system working. We decided to give up on that and went to sit in the garden.
The sky was beginning to clear up. She kept looking in the direction of the hills and the clouds rolling by. She decided to give it a go. We finished our drinks and changed into golfing gear. Her house is adjacent to the course, so we could walk from her garden. What a convenience. Well, not really. Her gate is at the top of a steep hill that is full of bush. We manhandled our golf bags down the hill like a pair of Sherpas on Mount Everest. Eventually, we slid the last few feet onto one of the fairways. No sooner had we put our feet on level ground than the rain started again. I strode manfully to the tee box; she followed. We both hit our first shots, and started off to find the balls. The rain was coming down more heavily. As we were about to continue, another group appeared on the tee. Well, they were not deterred, so we should not be. I had put on a rain jacket and it was already soaked. She did not have rain gear and her hair was sopping wet, and her clothes drenched. “This isn’t working,” she said calmly.
I laughed and told her that I expected a tougher attitude; we should at least try to get to the green and putt. She rolled her eyes at me. I hit my next shot onto the green.She made her shots. We both walked up to the green and looked to putt out the hole. Done, with no flurry, we headed back to our bags, so that we could somehow clamber back up the hill.
The next group came along. “Why are you climbing up that hill?” one lady asked. I joked that I had to find my ball and see if I had a shot. “Brave!” she said. My partner was already halfway up the hill. I was tugging my bag and the earth was sliding beneath my feet as the muddy surface offered little grip. My bag and pusher were pulling me back down the hill. I had to haul the bag over my shoulder and put the pusher ahead of me. “What a farce!” I thought. We made the last few feet, muddied and sweating now. We pulled ourselves and our equipment back into the garden.
We decided to sit and have some tea to warm us up–Russian chai was on offer. We talked about working in foreign countries, retirement, what would be good charitable ventures, helping homeless people, and more. We were getting cold as damp clothes were still on our backs. A second cup of tea came and went, and it was time to head home to get myself cleaned up. I would have to explain to my wife how and why I had slid down a hill with one of her friends and we were both covered in mud with leaves in our hair. Why were the golf scorecards blank? A-hem.