Every year, about this time, I start looking contemplatively at the books in the big bookcase in our sitting room.
How many of them will I read again? Can I bear to part with those that I won't? Where could they all go, other than in here? Could any of my friends be trusted with them if they wanted to borrow any of them*?
Mostly on a day like today, though, I think "How quickly could I get most of those books upstairs and away from any floodwaters as they engulf the house?" Obviously, the books get saved after the guitars are all stashed away in comfort. Oh, and the amp.
It's been like the End of the World today. High winds and lashing rain, dark at 4pm (well, nearly), the whole house shaking as cold gusts force themselves down the chimney and up our trouser legs. Brrrr.
I went into the kitchen earlier on, and looked out into the blackness of the back garden. There was a brilliant white flash, and I thought perhaps Wiltshire's finest** had stuck a portable speed camera on the main road that I was seeing through the trees.
I kept watching, and sure enough, a few moments later there was another flash. And a cloud of smoke, or possibly steam, and a huge shower of white sparks. Not from the main road, either. At first I thought it was a firework.
"What on Earth are next door doing with fireworks in this weather?" I thought. It was, after all, pissing with rain and blowing a gale.
I was mistaken.
The flashes and sparks were coming from the power lines stretching across to the wooden pole in next door's back garden.
I assume that a tree branch was smacking into the lines as the wind blew, making it short out. That, or a line had broken and was snaking about wildly, shorting out on the ground. The sodden, saturated, ground.
It's too dark to see from the house, and I am buggered if I am going out to take a closer look. The weather out there is bad enough, but the possibility of being slammed full of a billion trillion volts of electricity is even less appealing.
I'll have a look tomorrow. From a safe distance.
*Answer: None. I don't lend books. Not after losing my entire collection of Leonard Cohen novels to a friend when I was at school. It still rankles.