Friday, January 19, 2007
"...extreme weather conditions mean that our engineers are unable to give a time for restoration of supply. Further updates will be given as they become available, otherwise this message will be updated at 8am. Thank you for your patience."
I sat, in the flickering candlelight, and reflected how useful it was that at least the office phone was still working. I also reflected on how useful it was that we had recently had a candlelit event in the house.
The high winds had caused another bout of devastation. The lights had flickered gamely for a while and then the power failed altogether.
"Woohoo!" I cried as the computer monitor went blank before my eyes, taking with it all those annoying emails asking me to do things.
"Yes!" I exclaimed as my mobile phone lost all signal, presumably as a mast died somewhere. "I am incommunicado!"
The office phone rang. "Damn." It was my boss, advising me to switch my two-way radio to the special channel, reserved for such situations. I was partially communicado. It would do.
Once it got too dark to see comfortably in the office I decided to take a walk with the dog and see what had detonated in the storms. The orchards did not disappoint. As I took Blair Witch Style footage of the broken trees I had a brief moment of health and safety angst, but it soon passed. No bits of tree fell upon me, I am happy to report.
The most fortunate aspect of living where I do during a lengthy power cut is that the house was created for a time without electricity. We lit the wood burner, stoked up the Rayburn, and were all set for hot water, hot food, hot drinks and heat. We ate as a family around the big kitchen table, surrounded by my selection of candles, from tiny tealights to enormous church-style pillars of wax. Conversation flowed. Then ebbed. Flowed again. Ebbed.
"Hey! We could watch a DVD on the laptop!"
Fantastic. Trying to read my book by candlelight had been making my eyes hurt anyway. And Radio 4 was not holding my interest. So, we gathered around the miraculously fully-charged laptop and got our fix of pretty colours on a screen. Modern living is addictive.