Friday, January 19, 2007

That's Entertainment

"...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.


monica said...

wow, spectacular tree-felling action there. great for visiter interest.

we have a handy hand pump torch for similar dark moments, although i'm not sure i could lay my hands on it in a instance.

i shall keep my laptop fully charged ... good tip

Anonymous said...

Nice bit of firewood for you in those pics - envy the wood burner and the Rayburn.

cogidubnus said...

When the cooker fails, I too have a Rayburn... but I can "out-failsafe" you, in that in our dining room I also run a black lead range... but thereagain I guess if you've still got a spit in the Great Hall I shall have to flaunt my open fire and toasting fork to keep up!

Anonymous said...

That's what it'll be like when the apocalpyse hits, probably. I can just imagine myself sitting in the dark, hunched over a laptop, using my last ounces of precious electricity to watch old episodes of 24.

Doris said...

Monica - I now have a selection of hand-pumped torches and 75 household candles, just in case.

Stitchwort - I just need to get a kind warden to chainsaw the big stuff for me now.

Cogidubnus - no need for solid fuel competitiveness, the fire in the Great Hall cannot be lit until the chimney is relined. That's a huge project and not one on the immediate list of priorities.

Will - that seems as good a way to use up the remaining life in the battery as any!