Twister, SC

It was a great idea. A Memorial Day trip down to South Carolina to visit Tammy and Robert, go to IKEA to pick up some things, and add to my driving experience. When I left Durham on Friday afternoon, it was spitting a little, but by the time I was approaching Mebane, that had gone and it was brilliant sunshine once more. However, at that point, I was finally facing the daunting prospect of driving two hundred miles…and my first thought was to turn back and spend the weekend hating myself in Durham.

But I pushed on. And until I reached South Carolina, it was okay. I was still incredibly nervous and locked to the speed-limit on the right-hand side of the road, but I was still moving. But then I crossed the border and things started to get a little odd.

Firstly, there was what seemed like smoke on both sides of the road, swirling and changing directions. Then the interstate was filled with bits of tree. And then? Well, my car started veering left and right rather quickly, and I realised that I was in for an interesting drive. At least it didn’t get much worse than that. In terms of wind anyway.

Brilliant sunshine again. But then, as I got closer to Columbia, the skies darkened again, and rain began falling. And then came the hail. Which was terrifying, as it wasn’t your common European hail, which is bad enough. Oh no. This hail varied from golf ball to tennis ball and rained down upon my roof with a loud THUD-THUD-THUD. Really, I should have probably pulled over to the side and waited for the storm to pass…but by this time I just wanted to get to where I was going (also, I would have been exposed for the second round of hail).

The last twenty minutes or so of the drive were basically hail and thick rain preventing me from seeing more than five feet in front of the car, but somehow, when I pulled up to the house, it eased off enough to let me get my things inside.

Of course, then the clouds above started shifting in all directions rather rapidly, so, fearing a tornado strike, we all huddled in the downstairs bathroom until the next hailstorm passed.

And that was how I got to South Carolina. And this is now my roof:

the dented roof

I’m happy to say that the rest of the weekend passed by without any further weather incidents (though Robert and Tammy’s house took a battering with hail, as did our cars). Sadly, IKEA didn’t have the bookcase I was looking for, so I will have to head back in the months to come. But we had a great weekend of Bakewell Tarts, pizzas, camouflaged sticks (camouflaged as…a stick!), the difficulties of parking in downtown Columbia, and a 2012 CGI animated series of Pac-Man, dubbed Mission: IMPACABLE. It is as bad as you could imagine. And then some more.

Now back in Durham, where the ambient temperature is 27.4˚C inside and the air conditioning is still not fixed. I may take to ice baths before the week is out…