WELL, wasn’t that a thunderstorm to talk about? Probably the most dramatic I have seen in this country for a long time. The rain was much needed. My lawn at home has now turned green again from what looked like brown dead desert grass. The thunder and lightning reminded me of a storm when I was a kid. Late one night my brothers and I were all fast asleep in our bedroom when it lit up as if someone had turned on a search light.
We used to count the seconds before we heard the thunder. For every second we counted the thunder storm was one mile away although whether that was true or not I don’t know.
We used to put our heads under the pillows scared stiff waiting for the claps of thunder.
When they came they were often so loud we would all run into our dad’s bedroom.
We were so scared the house was going to get hit by lightning and fall down.
We still laugh about it even to this day.
Last week’s thunder and lightning was very different to the normal bolts of lightning we used to get.
In fact the storm was more like what you expect to see in tropical countries with a series of flashes that went on for ages.
My dogs were up barking because they were so scared, house alarms were going off, my kids were scarred stiff too. But it was the volume of rain that came with it that was unreal. There was flash flooding the next day but what I noticed more was the amount of reddish coloured dirt and dust that was left everywhere. This is because the winds coming up from the Mediterranean regions would have sucked up the dust and soil from the desserts.
It was then carried to Britain at high altitude, condensed into rain storms and dumped on us. It was strange to think that the dust that was covering my car may have come from possibly Africa or Spain.
Another thought is that our tap water may have evaporated from a leaf in the tropical rainforests drifted here in clouds on the trade winds and entered our water system as rain.
That is why my kids look at me odd when I tell them they are probably cleaning their teeth with tree sap.
Steve England is an (RHS) horticulturist, amateur naturalist and chairman of the Stoke Park steering group. He lives in Lockleaze and has spent his whole life at Stoke Park from playing there as a boy to studying its history, wildlife, and pre historic past. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org