(Posted after almost 72hrs without heating, hot water, electricity…….welcome to country living!!!)
I sit here, dear Reader, writing this plunged in darkness and with the last of my computer’s feeble battery. The St Jude storm predicted to be a replica of the Great Storm of 1987 hit our little hamlet hard. Fancy naming a storm after the patron saint of lost causes?! Bound to be a corker with a name like that! I can say quite categorically that it has definitely left us feeling a bit bereft and bewildered! Although, there was no major damage to houses in the village from the fallen trees, we have no power. Yes NO ELECTRICITY……. No heating, hot water or means of cooking. The great whoosing of wind work the four of us at 04:30am and terrified that overhanging nearby trees would hit the house, we all retreated downstairs to light candles and sit it out. So when it arrived, daylight was a welcome sight despite the fact that Primrose and Poppy found the whole episode quite thrilling to be honest! Realising that power might be some time in coming back, Primrose announced that it would be like the ‘old-fashioned days’ and we set to work digging out the candles, thinking of how we would manage without the very thing which we take for granted. Jerry in his jolly green Lanny giant left for the station, only to find that there would no trains until much later in the day. Just when I thought that the entire day was going to be a write off, our dear neighbours, the Worthingtons, arrived on the doorstep with flasks of hot water for that most basic of needs…..a morning cup of cha! I was so excited that I think I made rather a silly of myself, kissing Mrs Worthington with considerable drama and exclaiming that she had saved the day (well I had been up since the wee small hours of the morning)! Turns out that their oil-fuelled Aga can be used manually whereas our oily boiler only works with the electric timers etc. Rather natty those Agas!! Mr Worthington did say that the last power outage lasted for a week……not such great news. Still, the girls and I ploughed on with our day and Jerry managed to get to the Big Smoke. Books were read, toys played with, paintings painted and quite a lot of stamping was achieved too. It was truly wonderful not to have the television on blaring Mr Tumble out from the sitting room but I really did miss my daily dose of Radio 4 if I am honest.
Walking round the village later in the day, we spied the many trees which had come down in the night and I gave a little nod to the old chap upstairs for sparing our little garden and old cottage. However, I was not impressed with the torrential rain which hit the girls, pup and I as we negotiated fallen branches along the bridleway. At one point, we had to crawl through a small gap in the leafy debris and gnarly bits of tree trunk in order to carry on to the house. As I took off the backpack which Poppy was firmly strapped into and squeezed both girls through and then myself, I did think that perhaps I had been a little barmy to try to carry out such an expedition with two small children and a wayward puppy. Thank goodness, Monty had decided to behave himself and not run away with the lead. Primrose was fabulously chirpy for once and announced that we were country girls and “This is what country girls have to do!” I marvelled that our new found country existence had changed our rather risk adverse townie tot into an intrepid explorer. “How killing!” as a ninety two year old in the village would say!
Our village is abundant with dear souls who have rallied round with flasks of hot water, offers of heating meals on their Agas and who have come to check on those who are at the mercy of the electricity engineers! Bath time was a hoot in the dark and luckily, we still had enough hot water in the tank for Poppy and Primrose to warm up after a soaking wet walk. I even managed to convince my little darlings to go to bed at 5:45pm as it was so dark here. Thankfully, my dear Mamma arrives with a camping stove in the morning and I will no doubt have to take the girls on a long drive to charge up my mobile phone as the battery is on its last legs. Keeping my fingers crossed that Jerry makes it back from London without too much difficulty too.
Still, sitting here with the log fire on and surrounded by candlelight, it has to be said that there is a kind of romance to being in deepest darkest countryside with nothing but a meagre ration pack of candles, batteries and a good book to while away the hours. I am not sure I will be saying that in another 24 hours when we still have no power but for now, dear Reader, I am enjoying the beauty of the ‘old-fashioned life’ as Primrose put it earlier. Better sign off now as looks like I need to find some more candles to keep us going this evening!