As children it was the first thing my brother and I went for every time we came to visit her. It was the Nanna version of a Magic 8-Ball, so long as the only question we wanted answered was "Is it raining or is it dry, right now?" When the air was humid, the little man would come out of the house. I always wondered why he wanted to go out into the rain wearing such short shorts... On a dry day, the little lady would come out.
Despite having just come from outside ourselves, we'd race into the lounge room as soon as we'd kissed Nanna hello, to find out what the weather was doing.
My relationship with Nanna was... complicated. There was never hostility, but we were not close in the way that a lot of other people are to their grandparents. There was so much that frustrated me about my Nanna, and I don't think I was always kind to her, in my head.
But it wasn't fair. Because while I rolled my eyes at Nanna behind her back, her love for my brother and me was unwavering. In her eyes, we were golden sunlight. We could do no wrong.
Before Nanna died, she asked us if there was anything in her home that we wanted. I asked for this German weather house.
It sits in my office and, every time I look at it, I remember Nanna's kitchen table and those childhood days before I got all judgmental and superior, when Nanna was just Nanna: a funny-smelling old lady who still wore her hair in rollers to bed, told us Froot Loops were healthy (because they were made out of fruit), sang silly songs in a wavering voice, and had a room full of oil paintings in various stages of completion (oil paints and turps caused the "funny smell," I learned a lot later).
Nanna's house was a Federation bungalow with tiny windows. It was quite gloomy but, in my memory, that little barometer is always bathed in light.
Even when the man in his utterly impractical costume comes out to play in the rain.
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“Little Things” is an occasional series about the stories behind some of the little things you’ll find around my home. Are there stories behind the little things in your home? I’d love you to tell me about them! Or if you’d like to join in and write a post like this of your own, don’t forget to share a link to it so I can read it.