Power-Less

Last night as I was cycling back from chiro, all the street lights went out and then gradually, one by one, they flickered back on. I didn’t think much of it; I’m aware that various light reduction programmes are starting across the county to save money so assumed it was related to that. I heard a few alarms going off but in this area, that’s not so unusual.

I did think it was odd when I got home and the lights were off. My first thought was that the Husbit had gone out, but the car was still in the drive and he hadn’t said he would be going anywhere – in fact, he’d even told me he’d stick a pizza in the oven for when I got back. As I entered the flat, I saw the light from his phone coming from the bedroom and he explained he was looking for candles, which is when I realised that there was a power cut.

It’s been years since I’ve been affected by a power cut.

I knew where at least some candles had been put when we moved, so I dug them and a lighter out. I’m nervous using lighters. Your finger tips are so near the flame that you can almost smell your nails burning but I lit the candles and we moved into the lounge.

I like the low light a candle gives. I’ve long suspected that I have better vision in dim lights than many other people and have found before that a single candle gives me more than enough light to read by. Husbit was less enthralled and insisted we needed more candles than just one in teh only lantern I own, so we lit another 3, being the number of candle holders i could easily lay my hands on (four candles. I was biting my tongue all evening).

I was worried about the cat and the candles, but apart from the odd sniff nearish, she left them alone.

Husbit hadn’t started cooking the pizza and our oven is electric so we opted for takeaway. This is where modern technology is brilliant – the laptop has a battery and the phones can provide internet access so it was easy enough and whilst he did that I phoned the electric company to see why there was no power and find out how long they anticipated it lasting. It’s an 0800 number, so brilliant if you’re calling from a landline but I only have my mobile so I have to listen to a message about how they don’t know which area I’m in because there’s no area code and if I’m calling from the wrong area can I please call my local company. All this that I have to pay for and then they ask for my local area code and I’m thinking they could have asked first and saved me having to spend money listening to that stupid message. Anyway, long and short was an unknown fault, probably fixed within the hour.

We settle down to play crib, a game I’m sure I have played many years ago but which Husbit reintroduced me to over Christmas. He thrashed me, but the (rather unsettled) cat did sit on my lap and keep me warm.

It is surprising how quickly a flat can cool down. We keep the heating on constantly at a low temperature because we suffer badly with condensation because there are only 2 windows in the whole flat that open. The building is a converted late Victorian/early Edwardian house so has little insulation and the floors are all wooden so basically the heat just goes racing right outside when it isn’t being topped up, so I was very grateful for the kitty. Husbit was wrapped in a blanket and had the hood of his jumper up.

The power still hadn’t come back on half an hour after it should have – although mini power surges had caused flickerings and set off various alarms shortly after they’d finally shut up – so I phoned the electric company again, to hear na updated message that it could be another 2 hours as there were various faults. We were starting to fret that we would go to bed with no power and be woken in the night by everything (TV & PC, mostly) turning on and blaring noise in the middle of the night.

The power came back on have an hour before expected and a while before we went to bed. It was suddenly so bright!

I think my proudest moment was successfully resetting the oven clock – it was still showing summer time as we hadn’t managed to reset it when the clocks went back before the power cut but is now accurate.

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