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I wrote a few weeks back, that the builder had managed to fix the problem with the extension roof and it no longer leaked. Unfortunately I spoke too soon.

We have just had a week of the most incredible rain storms, with high winds and thunder and lightning like you wouldn’t believe.

I have always loved thunder storms, and never found them frightening, but here the storms are on an altogether different scale. When our youngest son was about two years old, we had a series of the most powerful thunder storms I have ever experienced.

One hot sticky night, the thunder began to menace. our two-year old climbed in to our bed, huddled up to Neu and held on to him with all his might. I got up to unplug the fridge and was walking back to the bedroom when there was an explosion so forceful, it felt like something had smacked me hard on the top of my head, I hit the floor and watched a shower of sparks leap out of the plug sockets.

Feeling somewhat stupid and a bit nervous I made my way back to bed. The electricity had gone off, it was now pitch black, only the lightning making everything momentarily visible. Another deafening, bone shaking burst of thunder and I too was clinging onto Neu, who did his best to sooth me while trying to retrieve our son who was intent on burrowing under the bed covers. We were now under rapid fire, the force of each blast sent waves through my chest, and the lightening strobe through the black.

My elder son appeared momentarily, a figure of fear in the doorway. On seeing him our youngest shouted out ” Esconde, Esconde!” (Hide, Hide!) before diving under the covers again. Elder son shot into the bed and joined the younger under the covers. My daughter slept on unbothered by the whole raging show.

Last week in the early hours of the morning, I was in bed thinking it was about time I got up. I became aware of a shooshing sound in the distance, it was rapidly getting louder. I realised it was the sound of approaching rain. Strangely the sound kept getting louder but no rain was falling on the roof. When the sound had become a deafening roar, the rain hit.

As we only have a layer of curved terracotta tiles between us and the sky, during a heavy down pour, the rain finds its way in and we often get a light shower. During this downpour I could have got washed in the bedroom. I went into the kitchen to see what was happening in there, and was met at the doorway by a curtain of water, it was cascading down from several places in the roof and the floor was rapidly turning into a lagoon.

Neu taking a shower in the rain

Neu taking a shower in the rain

My son and daughter singing in the rain

My son and daughter singing in the rain

The rain came down in sheets for the best part of the day. The winds were so strong as to take the tiles off several houses, trees were uprooted and a couple of donkeys were literally blown into a friends garden. The electricity was out and on a day like that everything pretty much stops in the village, most people just go to bed and sleep. It’s considered very bad for your health to be out in the rain, of the 25 children in my elder son’s class, only 13 arrived in school.

A couple of nights back around midnight, a thunder-storm began. As the thunder rumbled closer, I thought it would be prudent to unplug the appliances in the kitchen (we lost a music system a few years back after a direct lightning strike on the house, and still haven’t got round to installing a lightening rod). As I opened the bedroom door, the two dogs who live in the house were standing staring at me with all their hairs on end, they looked mighty relieved to see me.

I went in the kitchen and unplugged the fridge etc, the dogs following my every footstep, ducking and cowering with every roll of thunder. I went back to the bedroom, and shutting the dogs out of my room,  told them to go and lie down, everything was fine, they didn’t look convinced.

The thunder was getting more and more dramatic, great long rocking rumbles of it that sounded like they were going around the house, surround sound thunder. The lightening was ripping through the sky and then the heavens opened, with force. All the neighbourhood dogs who live outside, including our own Benjy, began yelping and howling until their pitiful cries were drowned out by the sound of the storm.

I realised that Benjy, on his chain, might not be able to get out of the rain, it was coming down so heavily and virtually sideways. Out side I was soaked in seconds flat as I tried to get Benjy off his chain. He was so desperate to get out of the rain that he was pulling hard and I couldn’t unhook the catch. The other two dogs were skittering about and barking nervously (as neither is yet a year old, this is their first experience of thunder and quite clearly they were terrified). Finally I got Benjy into some shelter and returned to the kitchen, I might as well have stayed outside.

The water was once again pouring in. I made a futile attempt to mop the floor and place buckets around, until Neu said he thought it best to leave it, deal with it when the rain stopped, otherwise we could be up all night.

The following morning I mopped two buckets of water off the kitchen floor. Neu has spoken to the builder but the general agreement is that until we can afford a wider piece of guttering, we are just going to have to put up with a swimming pool kitchen, thank god we don’t have carpets!

©Claire Pattison Valente 2009

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