The Thunderstorm

Running HillIt was very clear this morning, as I walked the postbox loop, why Running Hill is named after the streams that run down it. Yesterday’s rain continued in abundance, although the wind has eased.

The raindrops that kept ‘falling on my head’, were not just those that came directly from the skies. Have you ever noticed that when you walk under trees those drips whose descent is interrupted hit you and your clothing with a much louder plop? This is because they slide down the branches gathering bulk on the way, and are veritable droplets by the time they reach you. My raincoat was again hung over the bath to dry.

In October 1981 Jessica, Sam, and I spent a fortnight in the holiday home of friends of Jessica’s friend Sue Sproston in Cabrieres in the south of France. Church buildings 10.81Buildings 10.81Buildings from above 10.81Rooftops from above 10.81Photographs taken on that holiday are in the next set of random black and white negatives I identified and worked on today.

Buildings on hillside 10.81Street 10.81Like all French houses, especially in the south, attractive shutters kept out the heat of the sun, but that didn’t stop a young woman basking on the stone steps to her house. I remember the steep climb back up from the baker’s in the morning after we had shopped for baguettes and croissants. This was my first French holiday.

Stone wall 10.81Abandoned truck 10.81

Treelined avenue 10.81The stone garden walls intrigued me, as did abandoned vehicles behind them. Dappled light lent  enchantment everywhere, especially when flashing through the treelined avenues along which we drove in the Renault 4. My train journey up to London, on a bright day, has the same strobe-like effect.

It is perhaps fitting that the tiled rooftops fascinated me so much, given that we were to discover that they occasionally leaked. One evening the clear blue sky suddenly darkened. Deep indigo replaced the brighter colour as clouds filled the firmament. Violent lightning rent the air and lit up the rooms in the wake of rumbling bouts of thunder. The raindrops that followed made this morning’s drips seem quite insignificant. They fairly hammered incessantly on the roof and skylights, finding their way through the many cracks and crevices. The house was soon filled with buckets, bowls, pans, and any other containers that could be found, all rapidly filled with first spattering, then splashing, rain.

We learned in the morning, when the day was as bright as that in the pictures above, that the storm was the worst in local memory. The owners of the house had thought it fairly safe to leave the roof to the last of the refurbishments necessary for their holiday home. I am, of course, now accustomed to such storms in Sigoules.

With our own lesser rain still descending this evening we dined on delicious prawn risotto (recipe) and green beans, followed by scrumptious apple crumble and custard. We both drank Cimarosa zinfandel rose 2012, which Jackie enjoyed and I found rather too scented.

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