Okay, so in all the years I’ve been on crutches, we have never encountered a power cut at night; last night we did, and we’ve learnt something from it.
Being the Boy Scout he was, J has always made sure we have plenty of candles around the house; which is great, except for one thing, you can’t use two crutches and carry a candle.
The power went out at about 7:40 p.m., and when we finally got through to the Electricity Company, we discovered that the high winds had brought down a tree, which had ploughed through the main cable, and they couldn’t work on it because of the high winds. Basically at just before 9:00 p.m. we were told that it was unlikely that the power would be on before the morning.
An array of candles do give off a decent amount of light, but I’m somewhat stuck; we had candles in the sitting room, where we were, in the corridor and even in the bathroom. However, as my arm chair is electric and although it has a battery back-up, it doesn’t last for long, I decided bed was the better place, as at least I have an en-suite loo off of my bedroom, and with a couple of candles in the room it’s not too difficult to get to.
I also have my pen torch, which generally comes into play in the early hours of Tuesday mornings during my ‘obsession’ wanders. It allows me enough light to see to walk, but not a lot else.
So it is re-think time and time to look at the options to allow us to have some light that isn’t candle dependent, for any future such power cut. We did look at a small generator but a) they are expensive and b) very noisy and we have a young baby next door to us. I have seen some kind of light that gives up to 12 hours (I think) light in cases of a power failure, as long as they are fully charged. J also has some kind of gaz lamps in the garage that again would give more light than a candle, but again I couldn’t carry about. For carrying I think we need some more pen torches and have them in the various rooms.
Had J been out this evening when the power went off, I realised just how stuck I would have been and how difficult making my way from sitting room to bedroom to get the pen torch would have been.
It was 9:30 a.m. before the power came back on - I can see why in the olden, olden days folk used to get up and go to bed with the sun - and boy was it cold when we woke up. We are totally electric, so we had no hot water - eeek - no power and no lighting. Rang the emergency number to discover just how bad things had been in the north of Scotland, floods, trees down, gale force winds. Basically the emergency engineers couldn't get out to do the work as roads were either flooded or covered with trees. They had two helicopters, but choppers can't fly in high winds. Anyway, J had just foraged in the garage for his old camping stuff, gaz stoves, kettles, etc. and had them merrily boiling way, which would have at least allowed us to a) have a strip wash (in the cold) and b) a cup of tea, when the power came back on.
It lasted long enough for showers, heating the house, most of breakfast before it went off again - fortunately only for about half an hour.
A check of some various catalogues has revealed some useful lamps that are battery driven and last up to about 300 hours, and one of them is the old fashioned kind that you can carry around. J is currently ordering a couple and we are going to buy another couple of portable gas heaters, we have one and it does give off quite a lot of heat (bang goes my savings account). And the gaz burners, spare cylinders (I didn't realise quite how much of a Boy Scout J still was *g*), and kettles are now in store in the cupboard that used to be taken up with Tansy's stuff.
The really interesting thing is that when I rang my parents to check that they were okay, Mother was surprised to hear from me as they hadn't had an outage, and as the crow flies they are only about five miles away. Not that it would have been quite as bad as they have gas and electric heating, but even so. Somehow despite a fair amount of north Scotland being electricity-less, they weren't.
So after a somewhat late start to the day with one thing and another, I shall take a toddle around my f-list.