It was the cracking thunder not my breakfast tray that awoke me last Sunday, though you'll be relieved to know the tray did appear soon after.When you live high-ish up on one side of a valley the views are divine but you are a sitting target for any electrical storm wishing to download (and practising jet fighters, we imagine them saying "OK receiving you Biggles, have set targets for white house" ) so we are used to the phone line taking a direct hit and the modem frying on the carpet.The electricity supply will also become intermittent and with it the water supply as that relies on an electric pump 120 ft down in the bore hole, so a storm is a bit of a nuisance all round.No point in getting out of bed really, the shower won't work.
No worries because this week I had picked up, started and so had to finish The Ballad of the Sad Cafe by Carson McCullers recommended by Persuasive of Longbarn and with it came the dawning realisation that I had never read any Carson McCullers, not even The Heart is a Lonely Hunter or The Member of the Wedding.
Shame on me and why ever not? How on earth do some of these writers just pass you by?
The Ballad of the Sad Cafe turned out to be the perfect read.
It's a claustrophobic book in many ways and suddenly the weather in the Tamar Valley had closed down into an unusually vapid, airless and humid affair with not a breath of wind and must be the nearest we get to vaguely resembling the deep American South.
When I finally made it down in time for coffee (and the bookhound had been fishing and returned empty handed in the interim) and set foot outside the door I may as well have been stepping out into the Main Street of Carson McCuller's nameless town and strolling down to Miss Amelia's cafe or three miles up to the Fork Falls Road to listen to the chain gang.
With her cast of misfits in this dead end town which is suddenly brought to life by the cafe, Carson McCullers perfectly delineates the less tangible side of her fictional community for us as outsiders and in the space of 85 pages we almost feel a part of it.
It was the strangest of sensations, the book had furnished such an atmosphere in my mind and the oppressive feel to the air here just affirmed it all. The book lingered on as the thunder rumbled around the Tamar Valley still and we awaited the deluge.
More Carson I think.