Invitations for the ball had been despatched and, although we didn’t actually receive one (office admin’ please note), our presence had been requested by Sean Coward, the Director of Living Tenerife magazine for which we’re regular contributors.
It was to be THE party of the year; a red carpet affair with 300 invited guests and double that once the doors of the Buda Bar were opened up to the public. There was going to be champagne, and wine and cocktails and fabulous dresses and music and dancing and oh! I couldn’t wait!
The reports of ‘severe weather’ heading our way first came to our notice about Wednesday. Heavy rain, they said, possibility of floods, and storms, from midnight Friday (well actually they said from 00.00 hours, which probably should have rung a warning bell in the first place as I don’t know in quite which timeless void the met office here work) until midnight Saturday. A deluge of rain, they said, 30 litres per square metre in an hour. I have absolutely no idea what 30 litres an hour looks like but I’m guessing it’s heavy. Avoid road journeys, they said, no camping or walking in areas prone to flooding.
I took in the washing, rang Sean to tell him we couldn’t risk the journey south and, feeling like a latter day Cinderella, sat at my keyboard and worked. And waited.
Storm clouds began to gather as the sun was going down and yet, the sky above Puerto de la Cruz remained obstinately clear, the bright blue of the afternoon giving way to bright stars in a cloudless heaven.
Still we waited.
8.30 pm. The guests would be arriving now, all looking their glamorous best, clutching their ‘welcome’ glass of champagne and looking forward to a night of unbridled fun. No storm.
9.30 pm. The party would be in full swing now, speeches being made, food being nibbled and wine flowing. No storm.
11 pm. They’ll be opening the doors of Buda Bar to the public now so that the regular Friday night groovers can join in the festivities and swell the ranks of people having a REALLY GOOD TIME. No storm.
Midnight came and went without sight nor sound of a carriage turning back into a pumpkin or a single drop of rain on the terrace. At 1.30 am, feeling like a 7 year old who’d just missed her best friend’s birthday party, I went to bed. No storm.
2.30 am. I’m awoken rudely by what seemed like 1000 watts of light across the retinas followed by the sound of the roof falling in. Leaping out of bed we unplugged every electric appliance we could find, given that our eyes were still closed at the time, and went back to bed. Another blinding flash followed by an end-of-the-world thunder clap. Then another. Splashes of rain the size of a child’s paddling pool fell onto the patio, just one, then two, then seven.
“Here we go”, we said. And waited.
I don’t remember what time I drifted back to sleep but I’m pretty certain there wasn’t another flash or another clap of thunder all night. In the morning the few random spots where the giant splashes had fallen looked like Freudian ink spots in the dust on the terrace.
In my book, there’s only one thing less reliable than a weather forecast, and that’s a bloody fairy godmother!