Tuesday, 6 December 2011

What do you do in a power cut?

The TV went black. The dishwasher ceased washing. The kettle stopped making my cup of tea. The internet dropped out and the house plunged into darkness and silence. Well, except for me.


Not ever having experienced a power cut before, I wasn't exactly sure what to do. Do you call someone? Does someone come to fix it? I checked out of the window and saw the neighbouring houses were still lit up. Just us affected, then. Puzzled, I flicked our light switch again for good measure. Nothing.

"Shouldn't we... look at the... fuse box in the... where is it?" I asked, not really understanding what exactly it was we had to check for in these situations, but knowing that this was something I should say.

After establishing that this wasn't a) my fault or b) a result of my housemate's new game: Extreme Bill Paying: Dodge The Final Notice, I wondered what to do.

And what with us living in times where even if you can't do something, you tell someone about it, I hopped onto Twitter for advice.

"Candles, ghost stories and shadow puppets!"

"Dance around and sing at the top of your lungs in the dark. Fun, AND your neighbours will appreciate the radio replacement."

"You scrabble around in the dark for bits of old candle."

Candles, then. Which after some scrabbling about, we had - but no holders.

"We need a bottle to put it in" I said to Boy Housemate, eyeing up the red wine in the kitchen and adding carefully "But, oh. That bottle is full."

"We should probably finish the wine and use that." he replied.


Two glasses of wine and a lit candle later, we're sat in the living room waiting for some sort of man from the electricity thing to appear with the answer (or so the technical terminology goes), and engaging in what used to be known back in the 1990s as h'actual real live face-to-face conversation - you might have seen it on telly - and discovering that electricity is a great leveller.

Because once it goes you're back to basics; relying on knowledge instead of Google, sleeping bags instead of central heating and flames complete with dripping hot wax instead of switches.

Having never in my life been without it, I actually had no idea how much we depended on the stuff. From the dying battery on my phone (no alarm clock), to no power for the freezer and potentially more frozen peas than Iceland to consume, being without it for any length of time would leave us in a mighty big pickle.

But what it also meant was an evening of two housemates chatting, when they'd normally be in separate rooms absorbed with TVs or laptops, or both.

After three hours of darkness we decided to call it a night. And just at that moment, the house sprang back into life, swiftly followed by Girl Housemate who'd also been out for the evening.

Admittedly, the set up must have looked odd; discarded takeaway on the kitchen counter, candles, two empty wine glasses and a now far-fetched sounding story about a single-house power cut.

"You drank the CHIANTI" she said, clearly not quite understanding the emergency pitch-black situation we'd been in minutes earlier.

"Baby, we had no candle holder" Boy Housemate replied, "We needed the bottle."

With the explanation now seeming slightly implausible in the whirring house, everyone retreated into separate rooms to fire up their electronic devices.

And back to the real world we went.


modelofamodernmajorgeneral said...

Seriously, no power cuts ever before? Do you have some kind of back-up generator in your house?!

I just go to sleep, nothing else to do in the dark.

Ellie said...

I like the creativity (and manipulation) at getting that candle holder!

Please Don't Eat With Your Mouth Open said...

model - Nope, never before. Just been lucky I suppose. Either that or I don't remember it.

Ellie - Well, in times of need...

Anonymous said...

I'm with Model, who gets to their twenties without ever experiencing a power cut?!

modelofamodernmajorgeneral said...

I wasn't picking on you btw, just a little surprised. Perhaps it's from growing up in Hull, having t'stick a shilling in 'lecky every night that has made into a 30 year old man going on 55.

Perakath said...

We've had a scheduled one-hour rolling power cut every day since 2010. The timing varies through different parts of the city. At home, it's 11 am to noon. At work, 2-3 pm.

Paper-Rock-Scissors said...

I kind of love Power Cuts (short ones), cos everyone comes out of their houses/flats to check with the neighbours it's not just them. Makes us Londoners more sociable and it's got a buzz of excitement in the air. However it is mad when you realise how much you depend on elec!


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