It rained today. The shop where I work is in what is essentially a big tin box on a retail park, so on the second floor you could hear the rain hammer down like some nightmare tropic downpour. M tells me roundabouts were blocked in all directions, and at one point in Sunderland she sat behind cars in one lane of traffic and watched a cup float by in the flooded waters of the inside lane. The weather continues hot, too, so when the rain does eventually evaporate, going outside is like walking into a sauna. The other day I foolishly went to the pub in the post-monsoon heat, and it was like some tropical way-station out of The Yage Letters. In between desperate gulps of stella I looked around in vain for Dr Benway.
My stepdaughter, meanwhile, has contracted swine flu. M will do a food run for her tomorrow, depositing bags of shopping from Morrison's outside her cross-emblazoned door.
There are further economic upheavals. The death toll in the war continues to rise. And I read recently that some scientists feel we're already beyond the level of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere that can safely support an advanced civilisation.
For all I know, an eagle has been hawked at by a mousing owl and killed, too.
On the other hand, I am getting divorced, an experience which does tend to cloud the perceptions.
My question then: is this actually the apocalypse, or could it just be me?