Yesterday the rain was biblical. Here, it was bad, it was epic: it came down with such astonishing force I wondered how the windscreen didn't shatter. Further down, in and around where I was brought up, it was something else (as you can see from the pictures). I went down today to see my mother, unblock the drains and sweep up the debris, then I went to my neighbour's. Her son is a mechanic, and such was the flooding where he works, he was stuck there until early evening. He'd made several videos on his phone of cars trying to get through the flood: I think he showed me four, two cars were sent back by the police, one car sank almost out of sight, and one somehow got through (I would have rather faced the flood than the policeman at the other side). People were swimming in the streets of Newcastle quite literally, there were canoes on Chillingham Road... Newcastle had one month's worth of rain in a single hour. We, my mother and I, I mean, were incredibly lucky that the worst of it was blocked drains and a yard full of stones and soil. And, of course, the Tyne Bridge was struck by lightening. It's the kind of weather that makes you think of the Book of Revelation with great unease.
|Tyne Bridge struck by lightening.|
Understandably, everyone is asking, "Where is our summer?". This weather is for winter: brutal and extreme. This rain didn't nourish, it destroyed. I mentioned Revelation, but The Flood in Genesis also is uncomfortably present in my thoughts. I read the Bible as a challenge for the sake of reading it, I do not see God of the Old Testament as something or someone to love. If I believed in God, I would fear him.
But yes, this is summer. Summer is between spring and autumn, summer in the Northern Hemisphere is when the axis tilts closer to the sun, and the weather really ought to be a lot warmer but more often than not it isn't.
Were it not for yesterday's blaze of rain, I'd go on with more confidence to say the change in season is still apparent and still welcome (you can see my now hesitation at the latter assertion!). There is so much colour: leaves on the trees are flourishing, plants are (or were) thriving, and it really is warmer. It isn't warm, it is cool enough for me to be wearing a cardigan and my monster feet slippers, wanting a hot bath, a cup of coffee and a croissant, and a early night, but it isn't cold, it is definitely warmer. My bones feel like ice in the winter months, I really do feel it that deeply. But not now, not in summer.
A few years ago, my friends and I attended most of the home games of our local cricket team. Summer Saturdays were spent on the pitch mostly not watching. We chatted, lay in the sun, planned the night, and clapped when appropriate. The evenings were sitting outside the local pub until it was completely dark. It was a good summer, on reflection. At the time, I had recently broken up with my boyfriend and that summer was more about escape. But I did escape, I escaped in ways that were sometimes frowned upon, but somehow I escaped the whole lot and went into autumn an almost entirely new person. I wouldn't want to relive it in anyway. None of us go and watch the cricket on a Saturday now (it would be very difficult for me as I don't live there anymore), and barely any of us go out drinking on a Saturday night. Everyone says it's because they're skint, but we were then. It's over, the moment has passed. Good times were had, many good times were had, but it's over and I'm glad.
But that was a proper summer, and the weather is yet to be seen again. There was a week in spring where I sat outside for hours with Trotwood reading. People say you know you're British when summer is your favourite day of the year, but there's more to it than the weather. It's no more gentle than any other month, but the smells are sweeter and the colour is more vibrant. I do long for walks through the forest and fields, but the marshes are too dangerous at the moment, and the midgies make it impossible. I'm still content with it, though. There's too much colour, too much foliage, and too much life to be anything but. Yesterday did a lot damage, as I said before it was as destructive as winter, but as I look out the window and see steam rise from the forest, I still see life and, at ten o' clock, I still see light. Whatever the weather, everything is as awake as it always is in summer. Nevertheless, thank God I read, because any exploring I wish to do will have to be intellectual as there is only so much a person can take of being soaking wet!