A country house on the Edge of Nowhere.
|Image borrowed from goodhousekeeping.com|
It is an unexpectedly beautiful late summer's afternoon. Guests have gathered for an al fresco celebration meal.
Chef is presiding over the large barbecue, while the housekeeper is pouring generous glasses of Prosecco, with apple juice for the young ones. Lazy, relaxed dining, what could be nicer.
Suddenly, the sky changes from blue and sunny to dark and stormy, enormous raindrops begin to fall and thunder begins to rumble.
The table is abandoned; everyone makes a grab for plates of food as they dash indoors.
The storm intensifies, rumbles become fighteningly loud clashes while the lightning flashes completely illuminate the darkened house. Rain becomes torrential and the terrace is soon under a couple of inches of water as the drains struggle to cope.
Gradually things settle down again, the food has been rescued and the big kitchen table is groaning under the weight of it all. The younglings prefer to take their loaded plates through to the sun room where the drama of the storm can be fully appreciated.
That drama is greatly increased when there is a power outage, something we are used to as it often happens during stormy weather.
Our London guests were very surprised to hear this and seemed a little relieved when the lights came back on less than two minutes later.
By the time this had occurred for the fifth time, plans were made to put the generator on standby. Luckily, this proved unnecessary.
Each time there was an outage and we were plunged into darkness which caused the children laughed at the delicious fright of it all, while slightly merry adults began talking about how it would all make a great setting for an Agatha Christie country house murder and a quick headcount was taken when the lights came back on, just in case!
Just another Bank Holiday weekend in England so we really should have known better than to plan an outdoor party.