Thunderbolts and Lightning

The thunderbolts, lightning, cats, dogs, and whatever else that were forecast to fall on the United Kingdom today are conspicuous by their absence. The various weather websites have been confidently predicting all manner of graphical icons I have never seen before, accomanied by wording along the lines of “the end of all things” – none of it has come to pass yet.

So where is it? Where is this mythical lightning storm to end all lightning storms? Of course writing this will no doubt doom us to a post-apocalyptic storm the likes of which the world has never seen – hitting our house repeatedly with lightning bolt after lightning bolt until there is nothing left but a pile of smouldering bricks.

In-between checking the weather forecast, we have been working on the garden again today – cutting a path into the dense jungle, and periodically filling the car with branches and bracken, destined for the local rubbish tip. I say “rubbish tip”, but it’s actually a recycling centre. Rubbish tips don’t really exist any more in this part of the country – all refuse is sorted into metals, plastics, wood, garden waste, and so on, thrown into hoppers, crushed by diggers, and transported off to wherever it is that they re-process it and make it into something else.

We have a huge garden, but never spend any time in it – go figure. When the children were younger they would sleep out in tents during the summer, play in the Wendy house (inherited from a friend), or spend hour upon hour on the swings. The swing frame still stands under an old apple tree at the far end of the garden – the swings are a little broken and forlorn, having not been used for several years now. We had a climbing frame until last summer – it was put on the local freecycle website, and a lady came along in a very posh car to take it away. She brought no tools with her. I was not happy.

While writing this, my other half is feeding various cuttings through a wood-chipper. I can hear occasional explosions of rattling as branches and bows from the hedgerow get disintegrated. It’s quickly becoming apparent that over the last ten years we have lost perhaps 12ft of the garden from each side – it’s so long since we’ve seen much of it, we had forgotten just how big the garden is. When we first moved in – back in 2001 – there were no borders, no trees, and no hedgerow. I could walk the entire length – back and forth – almost 100ft – with the lawnmower. We could have put a lap pool in, a tennis court, you name it – but no. We planted things. Things that would eventually become overgrown, and that would cause the job of cutting the grass to become increasingly complicated. When I say “we”, it’s worth noting that I had no part in the decision making process at all. Stop laughing.

I don’t mind admitting that if I had my way, I would either live in an apartment, or astro-turf the entire damn garden. How gardening is supposed to be “fun” is beyond me. It’s no accident that when I was single, I owned a first floor apartment.

(three hours pass)

I ended up going back out to help in the garden – cutting branches into lengths that will fit in the car, and keeping Miss 13 (who had returned from football camp) occupied. While we did this, Miss 14 was supposed to be making dinner for everybody. Not for the first time, my other half had to go and rescue dinner. I’ll keep quiet about having to wash up three times during her dinner attempt, to avoid the entire kitchen devolving into a war-zone. I’ve never known one person cause so much mess while making such a simple meal – or to so reliably require rescue mid-disaster.

After dinner, muggins drew the short straw for washing up. I suggested that the children might help with washing up, but this started such spirited arguments starting with “but I did this”, or “but I did that”, that I just started picking plates up while they lined up their excuses and got on with it. Sometimes life is too short.

After clearing the decks, washing the kitchen down, and putting things away throughout the house, I delivered a cup of tea to my other half, who was working in the garden once more. Unfortunately this coincided with the heavens finally opening – and beginning to deliver all of the rainfall forecast for the day in the space of one minute. It was impressive. While gazing out at the sudden deluge, Miss 14 suddenly remembered that we borrowed the tarpaulin covering the new barbecue to take rubbish to the dump. Guess who once more drew the short straw, and braved the elements to run out into the garden, tarpaulin in hand.

As I left the house, I shouted over my shoulder “If I get struck by lightning, I’m going to haunt you lot”. Miss 13 thought this incredibly funny for some reason – although not quite as funny as my re-appearance in the doorway thirty seconds later, looking like I might have fallen in a river.

The first wave of rain seems to have abated. I’m going to go hole myself up in the junk room for the rest of the evening with hot tea, and an internet full of rabbit holes – if the internet connection stays up that is. Fingers crossed.

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