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Friday, 2nd May 2003, West Yorkshire

downpourWater cascades down the big rooflight studio window like one of those plate glass indoor water features that you'd expect to see in an over-designed restaurant.

rain over the meadowIn the street it's not so much a torrent in the gutter, as in my cartoon, it's more as if the whole road has become a water course. A car passes, lights on in the glowering brownish gloom, producing a white-water wake which swishes right over the pavement. Another car comes downhill and the vehicles look more like motorboats passing each other at sea. It slows right down at the bottom corner of the road which has become a ford, lapping around the tyres.

mistle thrushI open the back door and enjoy (as only someone who is dry can enjoy) the tremendous rushing sound of the falling rain backed by the odd distant rumble of thunder. To my surprise there's a bird singing. In the tumult of the rainstorm it's difficult to focus on the song: it's clear, wistful and relaxed, considering that the it is having to make itself heard above the surrounding din.

I realise that this is the voice of the 'stormcock' to give the mistle thrush one of its country names.

I'm sorry now that I never got my 'Ecolake Cloudburst' water butt connected to the drain pipe at the back of the house. I'm sure it would have been filled by this one downpour.

frogTwo frogs hop out onto the patio. I always expect to see the them come out in this weather. next page

Related Link

StormcockThis gives me another opportunity to mention of Stormcock, an album recorded in 1971 at EMI Abbey Road Studios, singer/poet Roy Harper.

'The record was made in the era when I still wasn't used to buying too many guitar strings,' he recalls, 'and I can remember blagging at least three from Hank Marvin who was in studio three with Cliff and the boys.'

The official guide to this folk singer who influenced Led Zeppelin includes mp3 samples of some of his recordings.

Thank you to Nick Lane who kindly sent me a couple of Harper CDs to sample.

Richard Bell