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It’s dark. Darker than it should be.

My alarm hasn’t woken me, but I somehow struggle to consciousness and notice that it is precisely nothing-o’clock. My bedside timepiece is black. Faceless.

The world has clearly ended. I might as well go back to sleee… 

Aha! Brain begins to engage. Power cut.

Prompted by a timeless curiosity, I stagger to the far corner of the bedroom to retrieve my phone.  Eleventy hundred WhatsApp messages from my entire street who have variously suffered, or not suffered, the same fate as Jillings Towers, and are variously offering each other hot drinks, links to the UK Power Net website, moral support and general life-saving advice. And have been doing so for fully two hours whilst I have blissfully – and in this case, completely appropriately – slept through the drama thus far.

Not so Daughter J. Beneath my peaceful haven, all merry hell is let loose. Not for many years have we witnessed such tantrumming – quite unnerving so early in the day. Any thoughts I may have of descending the stairs are quickly placed on hold as I await a gap in audible remonstrations before I whizz past and on down to where Mr J sits at the breakfast table, bereft of his porridge but proudly drinking coffee brewed using water boiled in his camping kettle on our gas hob lit by an olde-worlde match and casually reading his book to the light of every man’s best gadget, an uber-stylish head-torch.

I am, of course, glad of the kettle. Less so the head-torch which somehow taunts me from the far end of the table. My iPad is, fortuitously, fully charged and using my phone as a hotspot (oh, how tech savvy I truly am!) I am able to devour the news headlines whilst trying to avoid the occasional nodding strobe-effect across the penumbral expanse of newspapers and wood.

Later, as the lights flicker back on, there are whoops of veritable joy to be heard above, where loud singing has replaced the swearing. Daughter J’s busy day, when she absolutely cannot be seen with dirty, wet or frizzy hair (apparently it frizzes uncontrollably if not dried and straightened – news to me, who spent almost a decade of commuter morning half-hours in a train-carriage corner with wet hair, trusting in the personal invisibility of middle age) could now begin.

I venture upstairs and commiserate briefly, possibly not (with hindsight) helping enormously by agreeing that current hair-styling does indeed resemble the cat. Also, my suggestion that hair could have been dried at a kind neighbour’s house meets with a withering look such as would fell an oak.

I am about to leave the house – late myself by this stage – when the glorious return to power abruptly comes to an end. 

In no time at all, the WhatsApping neighbours – should they be able to tear themselves away from their devices – could observe a wildly cantering and mercifully dry- and straight-haired woman, escaping the screams emanating from the mid-reaches of Jillings Towers and trusting that Mr J will be safe enough hiding under the table (as long as he remembers to extinguish the flipping head-torch).

Post script. Apparently the power was restored once more in the nick of time and the world did not have to experience the affront of scuzzy locks or sweary mouths. At least, not on our account.

Post post script. This was a delightful start to an otherwise dodgy week which subsequently

  • lurched through the coldest ever outdoor fuel-voucher issuance (how can it be right that volunteers sit in hundreds of layers of thermal clothing at a too-small table in a howling icy gale, trying to prevent the paper vouchers flying away by careful shuffling beneath weighty literary tomes grabbed at the last minute as paperweights (thank goodness for that forethought), writing names on said vouchers with freezing fingers and pens that keep failing due to the cold, running down the batteries in iPads and phones to zero again due to the freezing temperature and prompting the summoning of power-packs from home, whilst the legs of the plastic bucket seats borrowed from the foodbank sink relentlessly into the sucking mud? I am not a political person, but there must be a better way than this. And if you think I am exaggerating – well, really, you could not actually make this up. Ok, apart from the ‘hundreds of layers’ bit – full-disclosure, I was only wearing nine.)
  • succumbed to persuasion from a friend to undertake a ‘compare and contrast’ exercise between versions of the St John Passion – a line by line musical notation ‘spot the difference’ which, whilst somehow soothing, was strangely time-consuming and seemed to result in aches and a slight fever, particularly when painstakingly and cross-eye-makingly completing the reporting spreadsheet for submission to our conductorly oracle
  • resulted in the eventual realisation that the aches and fever were not of Bach’s making, but more prosaically a bout of Covid.

Post post post script. Im on the mend now and we hope the power cuts are ended, but there is worryingly still a hole in the road with the power company logo on it.

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Follow one crying eye on