There’s a big storm howling around outside at the moment. Torrential rain filling up the pond and flattening the flowers. Yes, it’s British summer again folks.
My mum has never liked storms. Always been terrified. Hiding in cupboards if necessary. I can’t remember if it’s the lightening or thunder that she’s particularly afraid of, I don’t think she’s sure, but at 91 she’s still a bit of a wuss over them. Don’t expect she’ll change now.
I’m privileged to live in house that is surrounded by open spaces and can see storms approaching from some distance. We are also fortunate to have a ‘double aspect’ bedroom, so can watch the dark clouds and flashes closing in, passing overhead, and then sailing off into the distance. I have many a happy memory of standing with my daughters, noses pressed against the windows, all of us mesmorized by the spectacle of a fierce storm lighting up the sky and clearing the air. We’ve even danced outside, feeling the fresh rain tingle on our skins, while the clouds smash together overhead a few times.
However, I’m not quite as brave as I used to be.
A couple of years ago, I was alone in the house when a really extreme storm hit. I have never seen rain like it. The road was a river and you could barely see outside for the rain on the windows. The thunder and lightning were incessant and the dog was a wreck – she’s as scared of ’em as my mum! I was doing my best to calm her down, whilst wondering if it really was the end of the world, when there was the biggest, loudest, reverberating crack of thunder I’ve ever heard. It was as overhead as it could possibly get and shook the house to it’s foundations. Instinctively I ducked, convinced the house would be a pile of rubble around me at any moment. It wasn’t.
Instead the alarm went off.
You may know that I am hideously neurotic when it comes to security. It comes from being burgled three times. Consequently our house is fitted with the finest alarm system money can buy. It wasn’t set because I was at home, instead, it was shrilling it’s displeasure at being hit by the lightning.
As if the dog wasn’t traumatised enough.
Now, I don’t know if you’ve been in a house while the alarm is going off, but I can tell you, it’s not pleasant. It’s painfully earsplitting. You just want it to stop. Trouble is, mine wouldn’t. It was stuck on. No amount of coaxing, putting in codes, hitting, or swearing would stop it. The thunder was still thundering, the dog was barking like a lunatic, and the alarm was shrieking it’s high pitched war-cry non-stop, while I had to dig out the phone number for the alarm company, ring them, and try to have a sensible conversation. The blokey at the other end of the phone, while being courteous, couldn’t quite grasp that the darn thing just wouldn’t turn off, and asked daft things like ‘have I entered the right code?’, I wouldn’t say I was rude, but….
Eventually, he said he’d send an engineer out. This was at about four o’clock in the afternoon. It wasn’t until nine in the evening that he turned up. The alarm was still going, the dog was still barking, I was at the end of my tether, but at least the storm had passed. It took him about three quarters of an hour before he managed to silence the darn thing. It had been fried. We needed a new unit. It would cost. Cost a lot.
Since then, I’ve not been so keen on storms. Neither has the dog.