Now, you may think I'm odd (and I know a lot of people who'd agree with you there!), but I LOVE thunderstorms. They're so wild and untamed... I don't know, maybe it's that element of danger and unpredictability that's the attraction. Whatever it is, I'll quite happily stand outside in a storm, feeling that charged (in every sense of the word) atmosphere, getting a real charge out of it myself, and just letting the whole experience wash over me...

I know it can be dangerous; I've come close to being struck by lightning a couple of times... once when I was up on top of the Chiltern Hills just outside Dunstable during a summer storm. I worked at a radio station close by, and as I worked a split-shift (several hours in the early morning and then a few more at the end of the afternoon) I very often used to drive up to the hills during the middle of the day, grab a couple of hours sleep, have something to eat, maybe sunbathe for a while or take a walk through the woods... you get the idea.

Anyway, I'd driven up there one day, parked by the edge of the woods, and sat there enjoying the view and listening to the radio. Away in the distance, I could see the clouds building up, and hear the crackles of lightning on the radio... well, I must have nodded off for a while, because when I woke up, the storm was raging all around me! I wasn't worried though, I was dry and warm in the car, so I sat there enjoying the show.

However, all of a sudden, there was one ENORMOUS flash, and I watched a great blue-white bolt of lightning plunge down from the clouds, streak right over my head and hit the ground about 20 feet behind me... it was like being in front of the biggest, brightest camera-flash you could ever imagine... all I could see was the huge violet after-image of the flash... and, of course, at the same instant, the thunder - an ear-splitting ROAR of pure undiluted power that I could FEEL impact against my skin! And then the echoes, diminishing but still hugely loud, rolling around the hilltop...

That was when I realised how close I was parked to the trees, and how sensible it would be to move the car away from them... just in case lightning DID decide to strike twice - I wasn't actually frightened of being hit, as I was insulated inside the car, but I didn't relish the idea of an 80 foot tree being brought crashing down on the car with me inside it! So, as it was lunch-time, and there was a pub not TOO far away...

The second occasion was much more mundane, but literally much closer to home... when one night a house just four doors down the road from mine was struck by lightning during the night!

The storm had been rumbling around for ages, but it had been some way off when I went to bed. But a couple of hours later I was woken with a start by a huge clap of thunder... I didn't really think anything of it, just lay there in bed watching the flashes through the curtains and listening to the thunder... but then I heard a fire-engine siren getting closer and closer, then turning into my road, and stopping very close by.

I got up and looked out of the window, but I couldn't see anything... until I went through to the back of the house. THEN I saw the smoke coming from my near-neighbour's house. Apparently, the lightning had hit their TV aerial and set fire to their TV set, which, of course, had set fire to the rest of their living room. Luckily, the thunder had woken THEM too and they'd smelt the smoke and discovered the fire before it had a chance to take hold... but like I say, that was a bit TOO close to home!!

If you've got a good story about a thunderstorm, why not send it to me? I'll put the best ones here on the website...

So, click HERE to e-mail me your story...

And click HERE to read the stories submitted...

I've also put together a page of links to other sites all about thunder, lightning and storms in general... you'll find that by clicking HERE.