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After the Storm

August 13, 2020

CRACK BOOM! Wow, that was close. Actually, it was more than close. It came amid a constant barrage of thunder that must have been familiar to those who witnessed the opening barrage at the Battle of The Somme. Or possibly the cannonade at Austerlitz, so memorably recreated by Le Petomane at one of his famously flatulent music hall performances.

Though I fancy M. Pujol, who also had the ability to fart the Marseillaise, would have been hard put to emulate the lightning bolt that struck so perilously close to our home yesterday afternoon. Unfortunately one of our neighbours, no more than couple of hundred yards from us, suffered a direct hit. A plume of smoke rose from their house, which very soon turned into a full-blown fire.

The fire brigade came, saw and conquered, but given the column of flame, I imagine that the damage was considerable. The owner was out, so no one was hurt.

This little incident marred the pleasure of watching God exercising His attack dogs, which was far more entertaining than the regular sight of the two massive hounds from down the road taking their owners for a slow plod past our house.

There was a curious knock-on effect, though. Slowly, over the rest of the day, most people in our estate began losing their internet. I imagine that in the house that suffered the hit, everything electronic was instantly fried. But why everybody else’s routers should go down one after another like victims of a plague is beyond me.

We learned all this from our resident’s association WhatsApp group, to which I don’t subscribe but my wife does. These worthies usually keep us informed on matters of huge concern such as occasional outbreaks of teenage disorder, as evidenced by, horror of horrors, an empty vodka bottle jettisoned outside our house. They’re also lobbying for countermeasures against people who have the temerity to use our estate as a short-cut to the local park, and whose dogs regularly crap on a particular piece of grass, which the owners do not remove.

Anyway, excitement was high as during the day reports kept coming in about failed electrics, silent landlines and routers going down like ninepins. BT, whose incompetence clearly allowed God to take His anger out on us, have promised a resolution by 5 am tomorrow morning. Heard that before, I thought, though selecting such a strange resolution time was a bit odd.

Ordinarily, losing the internet for a while is annoying but not catastrophic. But up and down our road, people are busy zooming away as they avoid for as long as possible the resumption of the awful daily commute into London. Yes, like me, they’ll be able to access the internet via their phones, but it must be difficult to have conference calls with twenty people on a screen not much larger than a small bar of chocolate.

No doubt they’ll soon be trudging mournfully towards the station, reminded, if they care to think about it, that pandemics are not the only instrument God uses to turn our lives upside down.

As for me, I’m in heaven. I had my first decent sleep in days. After spending most of the last week dressed only in a loincloth (actually a pretty gross pair of baggy shorts), looking like a Buddha in search of a banyan tree, I feel reborn. After only a fleeting look at my usual news sources, bad tidings and gloom, I feel free to contemplate the universe, even if I rarely venture further than my navel.

Recession, dodgy statistics, viral spikes and social distancing can go hang for a while. I’m having an internet-free day, sitting in my conservatory as a gentle rain shower nourishes my roses.

Mind you, if the magic hour of 5am tomorrow passes with no return of the internet, I might start getting a bit twitchy. But then again I’d have the compensation of being able to curse BT as usual.

Meanwhile, my thoughts are turning to a few attention-gathering stunts that will signal to the waiting world that I’m still alive.

Perhaps chaining myself to a 5G tower and threatening to immolate myself. Or showing up at Waitrose dressed as Superman until I’m dragged out for refusing to wear the right kind of mask. Or dressing up as Nigel Farage and hurling Shakespearean imprecations from the White Cliffs of Dover.

On second thoughts, couldn’t be arsed. I’m quite content to remain a grain of sand known only to passing hermit crabs.

It’s enough to rejoice as the world around me breathes a deep sigh of relief at the return of the temperate English climate. Everything else can wait.

Then suddenly BOING! The internet returns, twenty hours ahead of schedule. And all the insufferable badness comes flooding back. Inundation and a fatal train crash here in the UK. Crippling heat in Iraq. Lebanon, Belarus. And ghastly, horrible politicians playing games with our future wherever you look.

I can only attribute this unpleasant return to reality as God’s way of punishing me for taking His name in vain. A reminder, perhaps, that not even a grain of sand escapes the attention of the Almighty.

From → Social, UK

  1. deborah moggio permalink

    Going from the occasional pleasant surprise of a blog notice first thing in the day, to daily blogs, to expectation of daily blogs, to addiction to daily blogs and a beginning feeling of association with those reading the blogs as well as the one writing the blogs, to feeling a member of the group, to sudden silence, followed the next day by silence, and a tinge of worry, to once more
    silence and panic.
    So glad it was only your god coming down on your electronic systems (a taste of things to come in the not too far distant future) and not your internal electrics.

    It’s been quite a ride.

    • Ha! Welcome back Debby. I got to the point where other commitments started crowding in, which made it impossible to keep up the daily post. Plus when it was really hot I was incapable of doing more than lying like a basking sea lion on a rock, or something similar. A post a day requires quite a lot of thinking. Now is probably the time to ease back to three or four a week. I’m also working on self-publishing a selection of writing on Saudi Arabia. I have about 100k words to choose from….

      Hope you’re well. I was concerned about you too.

  2. deborah moggio permalink

    well, thanks for the warning.
    I shall remind myself to read old postings when the itch hits.
    I’ve been quiet because I’ve been too busy to think.
    (at least, that’s my explanation and I’m sticking with it)

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