Welcome to the 18th century….

(What follows was typed two days ago, and I thought had been lost when the laptop battery expired. However today, after a partial resumption of power (of which more anon) it reappeared so I am leaving it as is as it rather captured the moment. I have though taken the liberty of adding a few pics captured before the phone dies as well)

I am typing this by candle light, with very cold fingers huddling next to the log fire which seems to be hoarding its heat to itself. We are not reenacting the opening scenes of a Christmas Carol, however, we are on day three of the power cut which followed Storm Arwen. Luckily we have not suffered much damage. A few trees down in the wood to the east have fallen into the garden and are blocking the back track and we have a Scots pine listing drunkenly at a 45 degree angle in the copse, but the greenhouse is in one piece and the scaffolding came down from the chimney rebuild a day before the winds hit. We came off lightly. There’s a trampoline on the roof of next door’s shed and a bungalow down the road with no roof at all………..

The house is festooned with candles. My guilty addiction to charity shop candelabras has been completely vindicated and the loo looks rather romantic with a flickering storm lantern. On the first nigh we all lolled around the living room fire with a glass of wine (or two) rather enjoying the drama. By the next day the reality of the situation struck home. I went to check on the neighbours and found that our elderly Aga was now the only working cooker in the row so invited everyone round for dinner. There followed frantic meal prep in the three remaining hours of daylight and nervous glances at the Aga which does have a tendency to blow out when windy. The temperature in the ovens dipped a bit, but in the end we were fine. We gathered at eight for a candlelight dinner and amused ourselves with stirring tales of the days before central heating. Anne waxed lyrical on the topic of liberty bodices and I relayed how on particularly cold days mum warmed my knickers on the grill before school.

Yesterday, we heard on the grapevine that they still had power in Leitholm so Keith drove round pronto and booked us into the Plough for dinner. It was a lovely bright day out and, with no catering to be done, Lyra and I strode forth to survey the damage. Lots of trees down or damaged around the fields, with the ash (prone to cracking anyway, and some more brittle with die back) and pines (small root balls) worst affected. (I understand that the Hirsel has lost thousands of trees. Lyra and I love the forest walks there and I just can’t bring myself to go and look yet.) More pertinently to our current predicament, several power lines were also down. Every time we look the estimate for power resumption moves 24 hours into the future.

The light starts to fade at three now so after my tour of the fields I was left with a very brief window post dog walk to get anything done. We had been expecting Barry the Decorator tomorrow for the spare rom so decided to use our daylight window moving my “overflow” clothes out of the wardrobes so we could get the furniture out. It was a sobering experience. I resolved that there really must be a winnowing and allocated two work shirts and a couple of pairs of shoes to the bin to show willing…… As the light started to fade we had a sanity check and phoned Barry who agreed it made no sense to come until the power was back. This left a scant 30 minutes of quality light. I veritably sprinted over the road and up to the garret to finish stuffing mum’s and dad’s advent calendars. I shall drop them off tomorrow and whilst I am at it make the most of mum’s power shower and toasty towels.

And now, oh bitterest irony, the Plough has just rung to say they have been cut off and dinner is cancelled.

I am off to light the kitchen candelabra and open some wine.

It seems we are in the 18th century for the foreseeable future (with no wifi and “not quite 3” G on our rapidly waning phones, sothere are no photographs. Perhaps I shall take up copper plate engraving in my daylight hours…..

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