After weeks of hot dry weather we had the most spectacular storms last night, direct thunder cracks right over head and the night lit up by lightning; I was in bed and even through closed eyes I saw the flash. it had been very hot and sticky yesterday, and there was that strange sort of tension, no doubt because of the humidity, that seems to come before a mighty storm.
As I lay there, the thunder rolling around over us and over the sea, the rain drummed on the room and splattered on the road outside and I couldn’t help but think how full our near-empty water butts must be getting, and how our drooping plants would be loving the downpour!
I was thinking about weather in my novels; in The Stalking of Rosa Czekov, there is a terrifying storm at the climax of the novel:
She was driving too fast to worry as the rain gusted in. She struggled to see through the smeary windscreen, the wipers moving erratically and sometimes not at all. She bounced off hedges as she took corners too tight and they met the main road and the tyres screamed as she skidded out onto the highway. There were lights behind, following too close and too fast not to be him. He was going to ram them as he had rammed her car in the hotel car park. The old Ford was no match for him; he’d do it whenever he chose.
Without warning she spun the wheel and careered down the lane to Opal Harbour. John missed the turn and was no longer behind them. The twists and turns of the narrow winding road were taking all her skill and attention so they didn’t crash into the walls. Once they got down to the harbour they could abandon the car and disappear on the beach and he would never find them. She missed the bend and drove straight into the abandoned farmyard, skidding to a halt. She would have jumped out but Ira was yelling and she crashed the gears into reverse and accelerated back, hitting something, a gate post perhaps, and the car stalled as she tried to get into first.
Cursing she started it and they screeched into the lane; there were lights behind them, and she put her foot down. The wipers had given up and the windscreen was streaked with rivers of rain and she was all but blind.
A last turn, bouncing off a massive boulder and they were in the tiny carpark. She didn’t wait for the car to stop but tumbled out falling painfully onto gravel, winded and dazed, disoriented and dizzy. The tide was in, crashing deafeningly against the boulders which protected the little harbour. The sea howled and roared, raging in the foul night and the air was full of salt as if it was raining seawater.
There was a noise like thunder, but it was Ira leaning out of the car, firing across her at the big Volvo heading straight at them. Terrified she rolled onto her knees and from somewhere found a reserve of energy and sprinted away and leapt over the little wall as the big car hit the Ford. She crouched down and light tore across the sky, and a huge explosion of actual thunder cracked directly right above them.
She ran to the cottage and banged on the door, screaming to be let in, thumping her fists against the shuttered widows but it was silent, uninhabited now. There was another blinding flash and thunder rolled above as if cascading rocks down from heaven. Barefoot she raced across the gravel without looking back, expecting the thud of a bullet or the clutch of a hand in her hair or round her throat. She reached the lime kiln and cowered among the tumble of debris and broken bricks and stone.
The rain was falling in curtains and she could see nothing in the foul miasma, hear nothing above the howl of the wind and the rage of the sea. In another brilliant flash the world was illuminated in neon radiance under a sheet of lightning that seemed spread from horizon to horizon. In those dazzling seconds she saw two figures locked in a murderous embrace pushing each other up against the seawall as the waves rolled over them, crashing down and hiding them.
It is dry now and the birds are singing, and the world is celebrating the birth of a new English prince, and I’m hoping the dry weather will return for our projected visit to Plymouth on Thursday… why are we going?… Guess: