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    Soft rain. What children really want.

    It’s raining softly today. My favourite kind of rain.

    I grew up on St Matthew’s mission in the Eastern Cape South Africa. My parent’s doctors at St Matthew’s Mission hospital. The only doctors for miles and miles around. So they worked long, long hours and were y always on duty. Hardly a night went by that my father and mother did not get woken to go out to tend to a patient in the hospital.  We never got through Christmas dinner without a callout.

    It was a lovely place to grow up. We were very free. We could walk and cycle where we wanted from very young. There was a river and streams to play in, mud to roll in, clay to harvest and make things with,  a forest behind our house to find ‘bears’ (or cows) in. Nature to investigate or just watch (in the case of snakes and scorpions), large vegetable and strawberry patches to sit and munch in and ‘over-countable’ trees to climb, Aloe flowers to suck sweet nectar out of ...

    But my best days were those of soft, insistent rain. Those were the days my parents came home early. Patients would not be able to get over swollen rivers or were daunted by a long trek on foot to the hospital in the rain.

    I was well cared for by my nannies and I had two sisters to play with. But nothing could compare with having parents in the house. Even if they were just sitting reading a book. Somehow everything became more fun to do. Even just playing at their feet. But it was also the time that the snakes and ladders would come out, rock cakes baked, and my dad would read books like ‘The Wind in the Willows’ or Charles Bosman...

    I suppose if I had been a kinder child I might have thought of the desperate parents with desperately sick children unable to get help. But I was a child, under ten and the presence of my parents was the most important thing in my life.

    So I like it when it rains softly and insistently. It’s still my favourite weather...

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