This was the scene in our snug late in the afternoon, last Monday.
Romantic, festive, cosy? None of these.
About four thirty last Monday afternoon, I was enjoying a cup of tea in the kitchen when there was a very authoritative knock on the front door. I did not dare to not answer the door and on opening it found that it had become dark, while I had enjoyed my cup of tea and the porch light was not on. Standing on the door step, in the darkness, was a man dressed in a boiler suit and wearing a helmet which incorporated a small light over his forehead. Not really what you expect to find on your doorstep at four thirty in the afternoon, but nothing surprises me these days. He resembled a coal miner, but even in the dark I could see that he looked too clean. He started by informing me that he was from Scottish Power. Cheshire, by the way, is not in Scotland but our electricity is supplied by Scottish Power and I do wonder what will happen if Scotland gets the independence that it is hankering after. He then went on to say that they were going to have to take our power out for about 20 minutes, in ten minutes time, because the local farmer had noticed that the power was flickering.
What immediately went through my mind was 'why now?' It was dark, the children would be just home from school and it was very cold. The first frost of the winter was forecast for that night. Why couldn't they have switched off our power during daylight hours? It would still have been cold, but it would at least have been light. Any way there was no time for dithering around. I had to find a torch, candles and matches. Then phone husband to ask what to do with the computers. He reckoned that if the power were only off for 20 minutes that the UPS (uninterruptible power supply) would look after the computers and I did not need to do anything with them. Ten minutes came and went and the power did not go off. I pottered around the cottage doing odd jobs. My list of power assisted, to do, jobs went out of the window. It was a bit like being in the dentist waiting room. Ten minutes eventually turned out to be about 30 minutes and suddenly it was pitch dark. Now I realised that I was the only mug around with candles and a torch in the darkness. One set of neighbours was out and the other set went out rather than face the reality of a power cut. When I was a student, when the power went off, we used to go to a pub in an area where the power was on, but there is something a bit sad about a middle aged woman sitting in a pub on her own at five o'clock in the afternoon. I had not drawn the curtains and looking out of our windows it looked as if there was a light, from somewhere, outside. An almost full moon shone out of a clear inky blue sky and the first stars of the night were up. Twilight, I suppose you could call it.
The 20 minute outage became 30 minutes, then 40 minutes, then eureka we had power again! Now I had the task of adjusting the clocks on the oven and microwave to the correct time, resetting the burglar alarm and altering the automatic timers. Then I had the computers to sort out. Surprisingly my laptop survived unscathed but the two computers that are connected to the desk top screen both had to be rebooted. The UPS is only good for about 15-20 minutes. All that nicely took up two hours of last Monday. I do hope that it is not going to be a long Winter.