John Walker's Electronic House

by on May.01, 2005, under The Rest

Forks of lightning as wide as a city.

Living high up on a hill, high up in some flats, is a gift. To see a streak of purple electricity slice across the entire panorama view from our balcony is without peer.

However, as thunderstorms will, its centre was erupting behind an obscuring building. So Jonty and I climbed Bath’s ludicrous hills as high as my lungs were prepared, and then even higher by clambouring on top of someone’s high garden wall. Perched here, quiet conversation was quieted every few seconds by the display.

There wasn’t a moment without light. Each gap between brilliant white/purple flashes was littered with flickers, bursts and sparks from all parts of the sky. And then, for less than a second, daytime. Perfect white light, the clouds black and grey against an ethereal white sky, the ghost of the city revealed below.

People talk about how sheet lightning is much more common that forked lightning. It’s not the case. Most times, people are just looking the wrong way when the bolt appears. Tonight there was sheet lightning. It’s something that deserves a far more respectable name. It isn’t a flash in the sky. It’s a boiling mass of elecricity erupting outwards in a giant circle from within the clouds. Each had its central focus, a swirled purple ball that burst in all directions, the resulting wraith-light a vast, beautiful jellyfish in the sky.

And the rains didn’t come. The thunder was rare. Tonight it was all about the lightning.


13 Comments for this entry

  • NM

    Mmm.. When lightning strikes, it really does make sense to proceed to the highest exposed ground in the area. Are you really so certain that Jesu shall be your rod?

  • Lewis

    It also meant the entirity of Horsforth had a powercut, and I had to walk for 45 minutes in absolute pitch darkness. Heh.

  • Arf

    I slept through it all :/. I am sad, although I should have expected something, seeing as it was warmer out last night than it usually is on a typical British afternoon.

  • John

    We weren’t exposed Mr Mailer – we were surrounded by buildings higher than ourselves.

    Although in hindsight, carrying the giant metal pole felt foolish.

  • Richard

    u in bristol or bath?

    Up here in Cheltenham it was awesome too, lots of rain though.

  • BBB

    No rain in South Wales, but being kept up all night with the strobe-light effect wasn’t fun

  • John

    “u in bristol or bath?”

    I can’t help but think I give that away in the text.

    “but being kept up all night with the strobe-light effect wasnÂ’t fun”

    A tip: Close curtains AND eyes when sleeping.

  • Bobsy

    What if you can see the bodies all the bodies mutilated torn ripped bloody and oh my god they stare accusingly I didn’t mean to I’m sorry so sorry stop staring…

    …whenever you close your eyes?

  • David

    Thunderstorms in Bath sound a lot more exciting than anywhere else. It’s almost as if it attracts them. Although having said that there was some nice big lightning a few days ago around here. Now it’s very hot and sunny. Sun during the day, thunder and lightning at night – what a perfect combination.

  • John

    Absolutely right.

    I think Bath gets the best ones because it is magical. The bowl shape, combined with the magic that floats upwards from the buildings, and that of the famous Giant of Bath, attracts fabulous mystical storms.

    Bobsy, I suggest trying to kill them all it better.

  • Jay

    We had huge storms twice in a row. Once on Saturday night (got me covering me ears, it was so loud) and then on monday afternoon.

    Went outisde and found my shoes had holes in ’em :/