Grey Overload

Sunday was flipping beautiful. It was the lushest, most wonderful, carefree, beautiful day ever on earth for one reason only … It Didn’t Rain. You could practically feel the collective souls of British people open like flowers in the sunshine. I lay on my bed for a whole hour, the window wide open, listening to the rooster crowing …

The House of Bethan the tweeters tweeting …

The House of Bethan

and then wood pigeons cooing …

The House of Bethan

Each call transported me to a different bird song world.

Then it was Monday and it rained.

Then it was today and it didn’t rain, but the sky was like mulch

and I lost it.


The build up of three months of grot and rain and flooding and cracked roads and wind and dripping guttering, Roo being off school all last week with a sick bug, my catching it and then being bed bound and finally recovering culminated into one wall climbing case of cabin fevered Pentitus.

Sat all morning in the lounge with Pix and Roo. They stared at the Box. I stared out of the window. The glass was all smeary like the weather had wiped its nose on the Sanctuary windows; smeary, snail traily mess. Outside the sky was grey. Even the chlorophyll in the trees had taken on the hue of overcooked cabbage.

I felt twitchy.

And overly pregnant.

An alarming dangerous combination.

After about an hour of sitting, Roo briefly emerged from his telly trance. “What are we doing today?”

“Don’t know,” I replied.

Roo nodded sagely then relapsed into the telly trance.

Somehow made it through another ten minutes then Grey Overload took me. I went to find Ads and squeeze him for activity suggestions. Poor Ads did his best (go to Sandown and walk on beach, go to woods, go to B&Q and buy oversized Tupperware containers, wash car … watch football?) but unfortunately every suggestion made me want to eat my hand and chew half way up to my elbow.

It was as though Evil Grey Conjurer was seeping dreariness into every idea anyone suggested and nothing sounded  mildly engaging. Was just contemplating whether I should go and lock myself in the loft and lie on the floor and kick my feet in the air like a five year old, when Ads made a very grown-up executive decision. Noticing that I was about to implode, he steered us out of the house and into the car and said we were going to the petrol station to destroy the vehicle’s dirt layer with some massive, violent, industrial sized hose pipes.

This sounded mildly cathartic so I slunk into the seat and said nothing.

As we drove along, I peered squintily out of the windows. Everything looked greyer than grey. This crazy, liquid weather had literally WASHED the colour from everything and it was having a sandpaper effect on the eyes.

“I need to see some red,” I thought aloud.

Ads glanced across at me. “What?”

My voice was a bit raspy. “Its all the grey. My eyes need some, some … flavour. They need to see some COLOUR. Like rich chocolate brown and raspberry coloured brownie and not all this grey. I need to see some vibrancy. Or else I might die.”

Ads who had clearly resolved to be our protector of Grey Day Slumps, smiled the secret smile of a man who has cracked it. He pulled over, turned the car and then drove us to Amazon World, parked the car, steered us through the doors and we entered the warm(ish) world of an indoor garden centre pretending to be the jungle. There were no vibrant hibiscus blooms (not sure if they grow in the Amazon) or natives darting through the cheese plants. Even in here the plants looked like cabbage. Spent most of the day wandering through the various sections again and again, mainly to justify entrance fee and tried to absorb as much colour from the tropical birds as possible. By the time I got back to the car and drove to the industrial carwash hoses, I was feeling marginally less unhinged.

In the car I had a text from my mother.

(Hinge make or break).

“Hi Beth, we’re now in Trinidad. The hotel is a bit over inhabited with mosquitos, but expected as we are at the foot of the mountains. How are you doing? We are just off for breakfast and then into town to learn some Caribbean history. So strange that we have been to Gambia where slaves were caught last year and now here where they ended up on the plantations! Circles of humanity … Love Mum xxx”


Deep breath.

I think my mother must still be attached to me with an invisible Umbilical Cord.

That one little text flooded me with a pocket of Vibrancy Nutrients From Trinidad. It literally drew in the sodden greyness and absorbed the cabbage water like a piece of heavenly kitchen roll. By the time the car had been sprayed clean and we got back home, the sky was blue and the sun was shining.

The Pentitus had subsided. For now. Has anyone else been suffering with Grey Overload or is it just me?

The House of Bethan


15 thoughts on “Grey Overload

  1. i loved your opening sentences! sometimes we have to have dark days so that we can embrace the beautiful ones!

    sounds like i need to open the bodega doors, fire up the magic carpet and make a special delivery flower drop.

    seriously, our planet is not feeling very well, and i hope that we find a way to reverse the damage and restore her health.

    from the equator, where it’s also raining! z


    • Hello Zebra, lovely to hear from you. Your vibrancy is definitely good for the soul in my reader. You are right though – the planet isn’t feeling too good is she? I’m going to send her some loving vibes and check out your link. xxx

  2. wonderful read ..i felt your pain, living as we do in the same area and looking at the same sky everyday and the faces of the people who are getting through each day and wishing for spring!!! not long now xx

  3. Morning Beth, I awoke, as usual around 6am. I could hear the usual morning sounds of Lemar (the cockrel) and Mary and Joseph the wood pigeons cooing at each other. ‘It must be sunny,’ I thought excitedly. I jumped out of bed and pulled back the curtains, and there it was – grey skies again! My mood immediately dipped back into that grey place you have been talking about. Oh oh oh as I am typing this the sun is trying to shine through. – nah false alarm! The thing about February is it’s like a waiting game isn’t. My birthday is in late March and in those long far off days when I was a child we would always have a picnic at our farm and ride the horses and feed the lambs. We were always in little summer dresses (well the girls anyway) and the sun did shine. I have checked this memory with my Mum. So, I agree. The world is poorly and sad at the moment. We humans have not been kind to what is such a beautiful place. Time to changexx

    • What a beautiful memory and piece of writing Debbie. Its crazy because yesterday article upon article poured into my inbox (from blogs I subscribe too) and every one of them had the word “colour” in the title. I think there’s a mass surge in the collective spirit of creative people to bring in the colours again; a subconscious tribal rain/sun dance. And judging by the gorgeous sun today, it might be having a little effect … Love you xxx

  4. Loved your sunny Sunday art work. I am glad you saw Lisa’s flower drop. It brightens any cloudy day 🙂 When I was sad and lonely and all greyed out in my boarding school days I used to go to the tropical hot house in the Botanic Gardens, for some warmth and cheer. Sometimes it made me feel better and sometimes it made me feel more homesick than ever 😦

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