Passions - Thunderstorms - For Janet Christie thunder and lightning is always a blast
Thunderstorms, many loathe them, shivering under the duvet with their pets, but there’s nothing I like better than a full on electric storm. Thunder, lightning, the way I love you is frightening.
On screen or stage if it involves a storm I’m up for the crack. My first film was The Wizard of Oz as a two-year-old, and I sat happily on my mother’s lap through the ‘twister’ that uprooted Dorothy to Oz, but was so petrified by the cowardly lion we had to leave, much to her chagrin - she was a huge Judy Garland fan.
Later it was the storm in King Lear that got me buzzing, not least when I found myself giving birth during a night time thunderstorm. Grateful for the crashing and banging overhead drowning out my groaning, I wasn’t so pleased when the midwives (plural, we were on day three) and my partner left me marooned to marvel through the window at the spectacular storm as great cracks of lightning rended the night sky. Delirious like Lear, I took my mind off events by spouting lines once learned for an exam.
“Blow, winds, and crack your cheeks! rage! blow!/ You cataracts and hurricanoes, spout/ Till you have drench'd our steeples, drown'd the cocks!”
Midwives are inured to that kind of language, or couldn’t hear above the thunder and their ‘oohs’ at the forks of lightning splitting the sky, but the elements shared my pain and as Mother Nature ‘rumbled her bellyful’ my son arrived. I was, but we didn’t call him Thor.
Some of my best times have been in thunderstorms, the latest being a wedding in Spain where a storm hit halfway through. Staged in a former monastery turned vineyard with artworks scattered throughout, I was filled with anticipation as dark thunderclouds obliterated the sun and rolled down from the surrounding hills. Having been eyeing up a particular installation in the grounds, I decided this was my last chance to investigate exactly how it was constructed before the storm hit and so it was I came to be in the middle of a field as plum-sized raindrops heralded its arrival.
Stick it out and watch the storm sheltering under a huge pink metal sculpture, or make a run for it back to the marquee? I ran for it: I might be a big fan of thunderstorms but I’m not a complete idiot.