Day 101 – Well there’s nothing like a thunderstorm with torrential rain to test whether your gutters need clearing! I’ve always been wary of thunder and lightning, particularly the latter. My dear Mum brought me up to fear it with “don’t put your umbrella up – not with that spike on it” and “don’t go near the window with knives and forks” (maybe she thought that’s how ‘fork’ lightning got its name.) I would have been about eight or nine years old when, coming home from School, there were rumbles of thunder. As I waited to cross Cardigan Road, looking up towards ‘Harry Hudson’s’ Butchers lightning suddenly flashed across the sky above the ‘Co-op’. I was terrified and raced to the safety of home.
In the early 1950s we were on a family day out to Saltburn in our little ‘Austin 7’ car. The Reg. No. was UG 8333 – like the Co-op Divi – I’ve never forgotten the number. Parked on a slipway to the beach, there was a terrific thunderstorm, with Mum convinced we were doomed. The only damage was the torrential rain leaking through the roof, so holding picnic cups aloft to catch the rain and throwing it out of the windows, we were relatively dry for the journey home. I’m surprised we had so many caravan holidays in the 50s with the fear that we could be struck by lightning after hot days (holiday weather was always sunny and hot, particularly at Reighton Gap) and Mum reminding us that our holiday home “is only a tin box after all”.
Fast forward half a dozen years and Mum and I were on our own at home – Dad visiting Grandma – when a terrific storm broke! Mum opened the back and front doors and we sat on the Hall floor. If there was to be a lightning bolt, it could escape via the open doors. I think the reason for us sitting in the Hall was in the event the lightning came down the chimney, we’d be away from it. We had no telephone of course then – in fact we didn’t have one until thirty years later – otherwise we’d have been ringing my sister to check she was safe. I do remember she was out anyway with her Jazz pianist husband who had a Gig at ‘The Windmill’ Club on North Street; the exterior being black and white with coloured bulbs along the windmill sails.
Thunder – and snow – could always be accurately forecast by Mum in the suffering of “one of her heads” so with the current storms she would have known in advance whether there was “thunder about”. No matter that Paul Hudson, Darren Bett or Tomasz (he, badly in need of a haircut) say – “some of us may miss them” – Mum would have predicted the locality and time with her headache!
Stormy indeed Maureen, until next time…