Losing Light

The reason I didn’t post yesterday was because we had no internet. We specialise in losing internet, electricity, gas, telephone, everything really. Earlier this autumn our local farmer was delivering manure to our paddock and he drove through our telephone line with his trailer up. Yesterday there was no such explanation, purely a random case of disappearance which happens quite regularly here.

We have lost electricity many more times than it is worth to document but Christmas 2013 was particularly memorable. It was the winter when most of the country was underwater and all the dried up stream beds a near us had rivers gushing down them. We had had electricity on and off all December and we lost it a couple of days before Christmas. Our entire hamlet went onto a generator at about 7pm on Christmas day. We stayed on the generator well into February I think. We didn’t mind the power being off at all, all our houses are freezing anyway and we just lit the wood-burner and the open fire in the other sitting room (which we used as my sisters  bedroom after she’d had to move out of the attic due to the quantity of mould). We have an extremely well used two-hob gas camping stove which we used to live off while camping in our Suffolk seaside holiday house every summer. It has been a life-send through countless candle lit meals. Our grandparents moaned away but according to my brother who stayed with them for a bit after Christmas they immensely enjoyed telling all their friends how ‘brilliantly’ they had coped with it.

Another time my mother and I were doing an art course down the road which was mostly residential but we were just coming in every day. The electricity for the entire area went one evening and all the people staying on site were kept up all night by the emergency lights that you couldn’t switch off.

In one house we lived in in Hertfordshire we had a power cut every time there was a thunderstorm but we never lost it over Christmas. Instead we lost gas one Christmas, which was surprising given that our gas came from two enormous tanks in the stable yard outside which were constantly being refilled. Losing gas meant losing heating and the hob but we still had the oven. My mother went next-door to cook some carrots on our neighbours electric hob. One time (not at Christmas) we had the opposite problem when the refill lorry overfilled the tanks and one started leaking. A man had to drive from Devon to Hertfordshire to perform a very exciting operation with a giant gas burner thing which shot a flame miles into the sky.

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