A Summer storm in the Rhineland

We’ve been having a heatwave for the past few days… glorious sunshine, tropical heat, still heavy air… and ingrates that we are, we’ve been cowering in the cool shade of the house, only occasionally stirring ourselves to shuffle over to the fridge in search of a cold drink.

Last night the heatwave came to an abrupt end. Black clouds bubbled up over from behind the barn and the late afternoon sunshine gave way to near darkness. The sirens, which are flood warnings for those who live close to the Rhine, started sounding… it was eerie against the hot, damp, leaden evening sky.

And then the rain started. A few thudding drops at first – then it was like turning on a shower. Water streamed from the heavens. It was like standing under a waterfall. Great claps of thunder and flashes of lightening. Within minutes our courtyard had turned into a lake.

I spend the next half hour admiring our new garden “water feature” and wondering, should the weather continue like this for long, whether my next hours would be best spent building an ark or ordering some koi carp for the courtyard. But then I discovered that we also had a puddle forming in the entrance hall… so I stopped dreaming of ornamental lakes and started fetching buckets, mops and checking the cellar and upstairs rooms for unexpected dampness.

Meanwhile the ominous sound of many police and fire engine sirens started to echo all around us.

The scariest thing of all was that the toilet in our downstairs bathroom started bubbling and making weird noises… as though some krakan from the depths would appear from it. At the same time the electricity in that part of the house suffered a short circuit… which led to smoke appearing from a lightswitch in the bathroom. We turned off the mains power, just in case. My youngest daughter created a helpful sign which she stuck on the mirror to warn everyone of our certain impending death.

This morning the sun is out, the courtyard is dry and it’s as though nothing happened. The news, though, is full of reports of damage and flooding and even deaths from the storm. I guess we got off lightly after all!


Filed under Life in Germany

3 responses to “A Summer storm in the Rhineland

  1. Lovely weather to go camping in then!

    Which indeed I was, last week in the same sort of weather in the Niederrhein area. In fact, I was not far from Xanten where the lighting struck.

    • Oooh! Blimey Graham… glad to hear you survived that! The lightning strikes at Xanten were particularly bad… and I hear there were serious injuries and fatalities.

      Of course, if God had meant us to camp, He wouldn’t have created room service….

      • There were 13 actually injured in Xanten, 4 of them seriously. Many more were under shock, but I as far as I know there were not any fatalities.

        I think it was the first Scout camp that I had been to in years, that I had not had to organise myself. So in a way, it was sort of like room service 🙂

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