Fifty Shades of Grey

The relentless rain paused and the sun made a brief appearance round about lunchtime today – for just enough time to permit me to dash down to the makolet  (מכולת – accent on the second syllable) – the grocery store –  and stock up on essentials such as bread and milk, in anticipation of the  promised snow tomorrow. There was, however, no let-up in the bone-chilling cold or the vicious, biting wind which is, even now, howling through the tree tops, carrying with it dried leaves, old newspapers, roof tiles, fallen branches – and which, the night before last, plucked the mesh screen from one of my windows and hurled it, aluminium frame and all, into the garden, four floors below. It’s fortunate that it didn’t hit anyone!

Yes, winter has returned and the past three days have been a more or less endless succession of myriad shades of grey.  The dark grey, almost black, lowering bank of cloud over the village of Tsur Bacher (seen below)

P1010629 Thunderclouds over Tsur Bachergives way to the ghostly grey of the mist that blankets the village and hides the hilltop of Herodion (usually visible beyond):

P1010734 Stormy weather over Tsur Bacher

Occasionally, the sun struggles to make a brief appearance among the clouds:

P1010736 Stormy weatheronly to surrender to the tear-stained grey of a steady drizzle, as seen from my living-room window.

S/W Ver: 85.98.70R

In town, the overflowing storm drains have turned streets into rivers:

Floods in Jerusalem

The Ayalon Highway (Netivei Ayalon), the main freeway between Tel Aviv and the Capital, Jerusalem, was closed for several hours this morning in both directions, due to flooding and the Traffic Police called on citizens to refrain from motoring into Tel Aviv except in case of emergency! Other roads, as well as several sections of the railway, were also closed.

There is no immediate respite in sight. The stormy weather is expected to reach its zenith tomorrow night, and to continue into Thursday, petering off towards the weekend. Meanwhile, it’s hard to sleep at night.  The  storm-shutters shake and rattle in the high winds and the double-glazing does not suffice to shut out the sounds of the tempest, the mournful cry of the roaring winds, banging objects together and whistling around the house,  and the steady drumming of the rain (sometimes hail) on the windows.

Yet there is a positive side to all this – the Kinneret is now only two metres short of its maximum level and whereas, in past years, all the talk has been of the fact that the lake has fallen several metres below the Red Line, the authorities are now predicting that they will have to open the dams and release water into the River Jordan.

We never do anything by halves here in Israel :-).

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About Shimona from the Palace

Born in London, the UK, I came on Aliyah in my teens and now live in Jerusalem, where I practice law. I am a firm believer in the words of Albert Schweitzer: "There are two means of refuge from the sorrows of this world - Music and Cats." To that, you can add Literature. To curl up on the sofa with a good book, a cat at one's feet and another one on one's lap, with a classical symphony or concerto in the background - what more can a person ask for?
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17 Responses to Fifty Shades of Grey

  1. Thank G-d for the rain. May it fill the Kinneret and then stop!

  2. Pati says:

    i come back on sunday, and for a week !!! lol !!!!
    i don’t know where i’ll be, because i come with SAREL……
    lol lol lol !!!
    i like singing in the rain !!!! and dancing in the rain !!!
    oh la la !!!
    The water which falls from Israel’s heavens is blessed : i hope that it will flood the world.
    i’ll call you as soon as i arrive at the airport
    Pati.

  3. Silke says:

    may the rain soon turn into a soft steady one and keep on coming until all your reservoirs will be full again so that for once you may spend a summer without having to watch your water reserves with anxiety.

    Good luck with riding out the storm in the meantime.

  4. Isn’t this the great side of retirement? You don’t have to leave the house during the rain. You can have the heating on, watch TV, listen to the radio, drink hot soup or tea, go onto Skype and talk to your friends, send eMail, curl up under a halogen lamp with a good book (bought online and downloaded to your Kindle), listen to the rain lashing into the windows, listen to the thunder and watch the lightening and know that you have food in the fridge, a kettle, an oven, a gas stove and most important: you don’t have to GO anywhere or BE anywhere!

    • EXACTLY! And I would add, putting on some suitable classical music – like the “storm” section from Beethoven’s Pastoral Symphony. I particularly like the idea of curling up with a good book on my Kindle. In fact, I’m in the middle of a very exciting one right now – Adam Palmer’s “The Boudicca Parchments”. Perhaps you’ve heard of it? 😉

      • Silke says:

        what a pity – now I did all that searching for that book and had to find that it sounded like the kind of wonderful romp through history that turns me on and then had to discover that it is available only on Kindle. I hope these Kindle crazy people soon find out a system to have their stuff printed-on-demand (gutenberg included). (I don’t want to pick up electronic reading – yes I’ve tried, it is nice, but the minusses still outnumber the plusses for me – yes I’ve had a try, nice but …)

  5. @Silke – the big plus about e-books downloaded to one’s Kindle (especially in this kind of weather) is that you don’t have to go out to the bookstore, or, indeed, to the Post Office, to collect your new book. I, too, love the feel of a real book in my hands – but it’s reached the stage where my bookshelves are, literally, collapsing. Soon I shall need a bigger flat, just to have room for my books 😉

    • Silke says:

      thanks shimona – I’ve figured out the advantages in my case reading in bed would be nicer but reading on the beach, book would be nicer because nobody would steal it – thus since I am not the travelling type, if I go for an electronic reader it will be a tablet which allows video watching in bed also – and other than you do I live in an area where the last weather making a stroll to the post office disagreeable for longer than one day in a row was in 1978.

      Even though I have my stuff usually delivered to a 24/7 accessible Packstation I could have it supplied for the same money straight to the apartment 6 days a week. Even the local library would bring me books, CDs and videos to my home besides those of their books and magazines for an absolutely negligible charge if at all and then there is the stuff from them I can access online free of charge.

      Book-wise (and post-office wise) Germany has been even in pre-internet-times readers’ paradise on earth (except for foreign language books, there it was close to dismal) and with Amazon and the by now privatized postal service most of it only got better. DHL is our old state post office and they have managed going private from a customer’s point of view extremely well and as best I can see they outperform all the other private ones including the US-based ones.
      http://www.dhl.de/de/paket/privatkunden/packstation/so-funktionierts.html

      Therefore I “insist” on authors like your brother (if I remember correctly David Kessler is not only your brother but also the man you wrote about with that misjudgement case book) to figure out a paradisical print-on-demand service which could be used also with what’s on offer at another one of a reader’s heaven i.e. gutenberg.org.

      Seriously up to 10 € per book I’d be all for it and books I don’t intend to re-read go to the local library who flea-market it for 0,50 € and buy their Xmas decorations etc. from the proceeds. Even though my cellar is totally devoted to books and overflows and I always feel guilty for procrastinating on discarding.

      • Where do you live, Silke? I thought in Germany it snows quite heavily more or less every year. I remember being in Bavaria a few years ago and waking up on November 1st to a really heavy blanket of snow. And then we drove, in a blizzard, up north.

        As for the Post Office – the situation here is pretty dismal compared to the situation you describe 😦

      • Silke says:

        With retirement I moved close to the coast of the Baltic in Schleswig-Holstein (highest mountain Bungsberg with 168 m) where climate-wise everything is in moderation but nonetheless a part of Germany where ownership changed so often through the centuries that apparently nobody feels capable of or inclined to writing a popular history of it 😉

        It is also where what Brits call the Kiel canal is, a project of the Kaiser that gave them quite a bit of pause to think in the run-up to WW1. (History is so thick everywhere in Germany that I just can’t understand how so many of us consider it as being behind us and the current benign state not being owed to great and undeserved good luck but something that we are entitled to take responsibility for and based on it lecture others (especially you) on how to achieve it also.)

        – usually very very moderate climate, hardly ever below zero or above 30°C, 25 is what counts as a hot summer day. But still places around here advertise that they have most sun hours in Germany. Snow is an almost panic creating nuisance, sometimes for a day or two and if it happens people go at it with such huge quantities of coarse sand and melting salts that make everyone familiar with Bavaria or even what we call the middle mountains (mostly east of Frankfurt) scratch their heads and declare people for having gone bananas.

        Biggest city close to it is Hamburg (which is a country by itself) and there (elite) people pride themselves on being almost British which alas didn’t prevent them from falling over themselves in their haste to turn Nazi.

        BTW Bavarians aren’t real Germans though they got all enthusiastic over Hitler at the time now they keep remembering/wishing that they are more Celts than Teutons, anyway very different – whether they’d prefer to be Austrians/Habsburgian if possible with a Bavarian king apparently is still under debate. 😉

        As a rule up North where I am it is much softer and with a lot less extreme temperatures, winds the whole lot than our North Sea Coast.

        Nonetheless in 1978 the weather around here was capable of producing this. This just as a bit of consolation for you.

        http://www.google.com/search?client=safari&rls=en&q=schneekatastrophe+1978&oe=UTF-8&um=1&ie=UTF-8&hl=en&tbm=isch&source=og&sa=N&tab=wi&ei=cdvtUJnaIMHJtQamzIGgDw&biw=1275&bih=638&sei=ddvtUM0qzsazBuf7gMgN

        November really isn’t the month to travel in Germany, north or south, it is the month when I succumb to my yearly depression

        May the storm do no further harm to you and your place and may the rain keep coming (I know I said it before but I believe in the power of sending good vibes.

      • Thanks for the vibes 😉
        I agree that November isn’t really the month to travel to Germany, but it wasn’t really up to me. I was on tour there with my choir. 🙂

  6. Silke says:

    OT but still fitting, since I think it illustrates nicely the mixture of plight and blessing you’re currently experiencing

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