Rain

show more detailshow less detail

Episodes

First
Broadcast
Comments
20100829

Poet and archaeologist Peter Didsbury extols the joys of rain.

In trying to find the genesis of his pluviophilia, he concludes that it wasn't nostalgia for rain sheeted caravan holidays with John Buchan and Fred Astaire for company that sparked his passion.

It's no coincidence that his love of rain blossomed at the same time as his love of poetry.

"As it has a habit of doing, poetry drew out of me much that was latently there, helped to elucidate my loves.

Arnold and Hopkins, in particular, released me into fertile relationships with landscape and weather which have so far proved inexhaustible."

His pluviophile's bible includes Hopkins, Pepys and Edith Sitwell, and a line from a love poem by ee cummings addressing a mistress's effortless yet powerful fragility : "nobody, not even the rain, has such small hands."

He is fascinated by the idioms and dialectic variations of language used to talk about rain.

Not only does it rain cats and dogs, but also stair-rods, cobblers' knives, tractors and wheelbarrows, depending on where you are in the world.

In parts of Northern England it can still be 'siling down'.

Peter also pays homage to the creators of another favourite word from his lexicon of rain - petrichor: the distinctive scent released when rain falls upon dry ground.

Producer: Sarah Langan.