Wednesday, 20 July 2011

All hail, English Summer!

Hailstorm in Yorkshire, England at noon 19th July 2011

I love a good storm. Yesterday lunchtime's was truly epic! The video clip on the link above taken on my cellphone doesn't do it justice!

First the clouds took on a a smoky shade, the colour of a drenched woodpigeon's neck. Then a few tickles of electric and chuckles of static and the party kicked off!

A huge thunderclap rattled the windows in the little conservatory where I was sitting. The rain began lashing down in diaphanous sheets of sting and fizz. What one minute was liquid bouncing up from the startled concrete patio, was the next transmuted into rattling white pearl-sized hailstones. Within a few minutes the lawn was white over with nuggets of diamond.

The drains couldn't cope with the sudden downpour and before I could poke my mobile phonecam out the back door, a flash flood three inches deep was pooled along the edge of the patio right round to the side gate. I did a mental inventory of boat-building materials I might have to hand!

Before I could do my Noah bit, though, I heard an ominous dripping from between the edge of the conseravtory roof and the spot where it joins onto the back wall of the house. Towels and buckets in place I watched the show going on all around!

Even the feeding birds and the squirrel enjoying the nut hopper had run for cover! The sound of the hail ringing on the roof shut out everything but the white luminous noise of the storm. I got a little footage of the hail and managed to wrestle the door shut again against the capriciously playful elements. I found myself mentally quoting lines from one of my very favourite poems, Tennyson's "Locksley Hall" inspired by his living not far from here, in Lincolnshire:

Comes a vapour from the margin, blackening over heath and holt,
Cramming all the blast before it, in its breast a thunderbolt.
A blast was certainly being crammed against my door! But it left as quickly as it had arrived. An hour later, after a further quick shower, the sun was glittering calmly in the puddles and the balmy air hugged me with a reassuring woolly kiss as I ventured out. The dripping stopped, the carpet dried and by teatime, the ground was dry and the grass was only dusted white with clover.
The sun has got his hat on...
I always feel blessed to enjoy days like this. Also blessed to open the mail this morning and find a rare letter from my landlords in London saying they're about to survey my rented house. This month or next they're sending somebody to take an inventory of maintenance tasks that they may need to tackle in the future, funds permitting.
Though I'm not holding my breath, I should probably mention the conservatory roof when they're in the area!
I often wonder if the amount of the national budget spent on the Met Office is wholly justified. I admit that yesterday, for once, we were warned!

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