40+ l/sqm rain in ten minutes with the wind coming sideways from the north east after a day of 33 degrees C, all afternoon distant thunder and humidity in the 90s. I get ready to watch the spectacle with a cup of tea while the garden is flooding and the Douglas fir sways dramatically.
After a heavy thud R comes running downstairs shouting and the rowan tree is down bringing the cypress with it partially blocking the road and barely missing the car. But before we can sort that out we are down in the basement where the laundry is flooded with water pushing its way up through the drain and the boiler room filling up with rain washing in through the air vent. Just as we get the buckets ready my fathers calls from upstairs. But it's only the cable and no more French open finals on TV. Well tough, he can switch his hearing aid off and watch the empty screen for all I care.
The next couple of hours we are clearing water from the basement, cutting down a gorgeous rowan tree with the help of our neighbours and clear a container load of fir branches from the road. People come along to help, more tales of trees and street lights down blocking the roads, damaged cars and almost all of the basements are flooded it seems. A smart ass who has watched for a good while and comes over to give advice as he believes we are doing it all wrong gets the finger.
All night we can hear the chain saws and the fire brigades. More to come to day, it's hot and damp and the first dark clouds are moving in.
Too exhausted to sleep all night. My father had enough and drove off in his smooth silver car listening to Mahler. I want to think he was frustrated he could not help.
Needless to say that this has never before happened here in our calm and sheltered suburb.