(written Friday night) I had a review scheduled for this slot, and to unpick my scheduled tweets is a bit annoying, but I just had a half hour of pure joy, and had to write about it.
Between 8 and 8.30pm, a thick, angry, powerful rainstorm passed over east London (where I live). I had got drenched earlier in the day going for lunch with my colleagues, so the return of the rain was no great surprise. What did surprise me was its ferocity. It became loud enough to hear over the radio. I opened some more windows and listened to the glorious drumming. I turned the radio off and stood in the balcony doorway (the rain was blowing away from my building – our balcony was dry).
I must have stood for ten minutes and watched nature remind us that while we can build Olympic stadia and upgrade ancient underground train systems, while we can clog our arteries and sinuses and lives with pollution and activity and stress, the rain will still fall. And fall it did. After a few minutes, the rain was joined by hailstones, at first so small that I wasn’t sure if the change in sound was from heavier rain or from hail, then into bigger and bigger frozen raindrops, up to 5 or 6 mm. I smiled as they pinged off the balcony rail – sometimes onto my bare legs, sometimes down onto the corrugated roof over the bins downstairs. I stood and watch the lightning brighten the sky, and listened to that fantastic white noise.
The sky was cleaning London, and my spirits, as unnecessarily thoroughly but commendably enthusiastically as I clean my flat every Friday night (yes, I am a boring person). Slowly, as I contemplated finally cleaning the bird poo off the balcony just so that I could revel in the storm, the sky decided it had had enough of the East End and moved its fury and resentment off towards Essex. It left behind a carpet of tiny pearls, strewn across the road and carpark downstairs, pushed aside by greedy streams of rainwater thirsting for the comfort of the Thames.
Now I sit at my computer, which The Physicist will no doubt claim from me as soon as he gets home in a few hours, and contemplate my weekend, fuelled by a mug of… soup (not tea). I have been completely exhausted all week, and the anniversary of my beloved Nanna’s death yesterday hit me pretty hard. I’ve put away a good 500 pages this week, but nothing has really inspired me – to work, think or smile. The storm just did.
We get some gorgeous storms here – nothing like the heart-rending weather phenomena wreaking havoc in the US. We get some snow every winter and London never copes with it – but not very much. We get some rain – but nothing like Bangladesh. We get a tiny bit of sun and go crazy about it – and get sunburned. In London, we may live with Tube strikes and an average traffic speed of 12.5mph (which I can beat quite easily on Cecily given a lack of traffic lights) and that vague threat of terrorism, and the most seemingly incompetent, back-stabbing, useless politicians around, but we are actually very lucky citizens of a gentle country.
I’m not English yet, but I’ll admit I’m very happy to live here.