Sunday, 26 February 2017

Pie Drama


The whole village, indeed the whole valley lost it's power last night.
The Prof  wasn't best pleased as I had just put in a mince pie in the oven which he was looking forward to greatly.
He stropped around the cottage like Bette Davis as I dug out candles and a torch so I went to check on Old Trevor, Pat the animal helper and two other elderly neighbours.
I need not have worried, for everyone over fifty lived through the power cuts of The Three Day Week, so all would have had a  candle at the ready when all the lights went out

For those that dont know The Three Day Week was a government initiative to conserve electricity due to the 1973 oil crisis and British Coal Strike.  The general population had to deal with prolonged and regular  power cuts over that winter and even tv stations were forced to end their broadcasting early in an attempt to conserve power! 

I was eleven during the January Winter of 1974 so I vaguely remember those quiet drab evenings sat with a duvet in the living room surrounded by candles. I also sort of remember the pungent smell of the primus stove as my mother made tea and the worry that the tropical fish, their tank all wrapped up in an old sleeping bag would make it through the night.
No one seemed to complain much as I remember, they just got one with it.
Nowadays everyone would be apoplectic with rage and would be flinging themselves around in hysterical abandon searching for someone to rant at.
Then my mother just bought an extra flask and made sure she was up to date with her library books!

It was nice taking the dogs around a deserted and dark village. Almost every house had small pools of candle light illuminating their windows and the place looked as it would have done in the 1930s before mains electricity visited  the population.
As we walked around I spied another torch flicking to and fro and bumped into Cameron the teenage boffin, who was checking if anyone needed assistance. He too was enjoying the drama and the peace  of a dark village.

52 comments:

  1. Unless there is a below zero blizzard going on and there are cattle to tend, having the lights go off isn't that bad. It's kind of fun actually! I hope the village wasn't out too long though.

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  2. is everyone's power back on today? quiet is soothing to the soul.

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    1. No, we were expecting it to go back on by midnight, but soon after i saw cameron everything came on! Which was a pity as i was enjoying the peace. The prof however was very happy and enjoyed his pie

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    2. YAYZ! I LOVE mince pie, BTW! :)

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    3. I too love mince pie with a cup of coffee

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  3. I would love power cuts were it not that we need it for heating. You posted a 'ask me a question' thing and then took it down. Here's my question: Why did you take it down?

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    1. I was copying Ursula's indulgent post of last night then thought better of it!

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    2. You may have given your chickens away, but you turning into one? Are you, John? I'd thought better of you. Courage, John, courage.

      Anyway, am gratified to see that Tom the Stephenson has same powers of observation as my own evil self. I didn't see your post but, as is my wont, meandering over to Cro's first thing every morning I noticed in the side bar that you had taken my plunge. Only not to follow through.

      Indulgent? Indulgent? More a paying for my sins exercise. Still, I finish what I started. Blood,few tears, and I don't sweat.

      U

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  4. I bet Mrs Trellis always has a nice wax candle at the ready but not necessarily for power cuts.

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  5. I remember the three day week and as you say, we just got on with it. Taking a candle to bed was quite exciting, although deciding when to blow it out was a big decision. I wasn't allowed matches to re-light it. Reading Enid Blyton by candlelight made it more interesting.

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  6. Sometimes I do think part of the problem is that we are all so spoiled...

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  7. We had a power cut here right after I moved here. I was only ok with it because I was at my daughters home nearby.
    I am in Florida ... it is necessary to life to have Air Conditioning ! lol
    And I live next to a State Forest .... there are creatures in that forest .. some I have met, one slithered ... you see what I mean.
    I need a bit of light at hand at all times.

    In NYC we had a days long power outage and my husband made the whole thing into an adventure full of laughter.
    So far the cats are not that much like my husband

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  8. You are so right- people would be screaming their lungs out if such a thing happened now.
    We lose power fairly frequently here in N. Florida. Enough that we know how to deal with it. It can be nice...for a few hours, at least.

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    1. Ms Moon, you know Jacksonville ? the state forest off of old st augustine/Bartram area ?
      There I am ! :)

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  9. We keep an old fashioned telephone (which works without electricity) to plug in in times of power cuts. It is extraordinary how many people in our village come along to ask us if we know what is happening as their phones do not work.

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    1. Our phone worked too!

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    2. Yes, we have an old style phone too, but no one phones us during a power cut !

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  10. Husband and I were both working during the 3 day week, offices just kept longer hours on the power on days. It wasn't fun but I don't remember thinking it infringed on our human rights, nowadays it probably would.

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  11. Sometimes a power failure provides a nice respite.
    I hope the mince pie survived.

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    1. It did and it was bloody lovely

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  12. wasn't there a population boom after that time?

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    1. Nothing happened in trelawnyd i am sorry to say

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  13. I remember after the earthquake in Italy when Berlusconi told people living without power to stop complaining and pretend they were on a camping holiday. I think someone told him to get stuffed.

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    1. He got stuffed many many times as i recall

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    2. ...and he was on a bunga bunga holiday. Sorry couldn't help this ;)
      Greetings Maria xx

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  14. i remember those days back in the 70s, best bit was coming home from school early before the power went off and strangest memory is wandering round Fine Fare with candles everywhere and piles of cardboard with bricks on keeping the freezers frozen

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  15. Cameron's parents can be very proud of him. Sounds like he's a thoughtful and kind teenage boffin.

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  16. There's something about the peace a power-outage can bring, you never realize how much noise your house can make. Outages of our youth are much different than today, aren't they - Nowadays we have our phones to keep us company instead of a good book and there's even a flashlight/torch.

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  17. Sounds very peaceful and most romantic. Cameron seems a great young man. We don't have power in our bedroom (which is a round thatched hut 80 meters from the big house) I have burnt a hole in my DIL's fleecy blanket - which she gave me for the cats - reading by candlelight. So before I burnt our room down, Grant erected two strips of lights (like those actresses have around their dressing room mirrors) which is powered by a small car battery.

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  18. You don't find too many teenagers who think beyond themselves these days...you've got a little gem there methinks.

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  19. Glad Profs tart was ok. Good old Bette. What a gal.

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  20. Howard longs for a three day week, so he can get to the allotment and do all the jobs at home my dodgy knee prevents me from tackling. Would also make his colleagues actually have to decide which design jobs really were urgent.

    We had a power cut here last week. I thought a fuse had blown upstairs again, but went to the kitchen and all the power was off there too. All the fire alarms nearby we going, so it was clear it was widespread. So I did what I always do in this situation - lit a tealight and dug out the camping stove. The women next door on both sides popped out of their houses to check if it was just them, so we had a little natter. By the time we got back indoors, the power was back.

    One thing certain for you after last night, if you & the Prof do move on, the care of the village will be safe with young Cameron.

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  21. I remember the power cuts of the 1970's. It was so boring as a child. We just used to go to bed early as there was nothing else to do!

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  22. The funniest thing during a power cut is watching a teenager trying to figure out what to do without WiFi.

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  23. The last time we had a blackout we went to bed,woke next morning to find our small black terrier on the front doorstep. She had sneeked out when I opened the door to see if the street had lost power and I had not noticed. She is such a good girl that she never protests when finding herself in such a predicament but just sucks it up and waits to be let back in.

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  24. That takes me back! I recall the power cuts of yesteryear, when 9 months later there was a jump in the population .... there were only about 2 channels on TV, and they went off about 11pm normally, so why the extra hours made the difference I'm not sure. We mostly had open fires, so cooking up something inventive was possible, but the winter of regular hot water shortages was a real drag.

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  25. Living here in central Texas, we have to be prepared for outages. We have battery operated lights, a camping stove, and bottled water--just in case. It's funny, though. We had a lot more outages when we lived in the Sierra Nevada foothills in California. Our power company told us it was from the cattle on the property next us. They would rub their butts on the guy wires attached to the electric transformer pole. Sometimes that would get the wires swinging enough that they would touch and blow out the transformer. :)

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  26. What kind and thoughtful gentlemen you and Cameron are, John.
    I remember the power cuts of the 1970's. Sitting in a cold, dark office waiting for time to leave, and rushing to the car to get the heater going ! Fortunately in those days we lived in a house with an open fireplace in the living room, but not an old fashioned one which heated the water, so the worst thing was no hot water for showers.
    These days we live on the side of a fairly steep valley and during the recent high winds and storms with torrential rain, we expected the power to be out quite often. Surprisingly we only had one major outage of about four hours, just as it was getting dark. It was very annoying to see the town, in the distance, ablaze with lights !

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  27. Hard times teach us things. Those given everything have difficulty coping, on the other hand they also have big expensive extra generators so they'll never have to know what it is like for us with our candles.

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  28. Boffin....a new word for me. I like it.

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  29. In British slang, a boffin is a scientist, engineer, or other person engaged in technical or scientific work. The original World War II conception of war-winning researchers means that the term tends to have more positive connotations

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  30. Awww, you and Cameron -- such good guys!

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  31. I saw that and thought what a great guy.

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  32. Glad the power came back on and the pie was saved.

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  33. I never even heard of this! Amazing. I was born in 1974.



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  34. Wow, from where we came to where we are now can be a great journey to remember. To live through "The Three Day Week" lack of electricity our stories from the old about The Great Depression Days" makes me realize nothing of true hardships. Indeed we are spoiled or lucky, call the fates what you will. We are "blessed" Thanks goodness the pie was survived and I'm sure was delish. I haven't a mince pie since my childhood. Thanks for providing that memories of yore.

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  35. We are the same age John. I loved the seventies power cuts. My brothers & I played murder in the dark, mum & dad sat in the kitchen with the radio on ( Dad would usually be snoring in front of the TV ) There was a paraffin heater & camping gas for boiling the kettle.

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  36. Your Three Day Week sounds something like our rolling blackouts. Here in Texas we have horrid summers, with temps consistently +100F for days on end. The power drain is significant, and thus... rolling blackouts. And they generally happen at the least convenient time.
    Hope your power outage was short.

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  37. Although a power outage is not a good thing, I do really love the unusual quiet! I'm always stunned by the amount of noise produced by all that power.

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  38. We would never have known about the power cut if it hadn't been for me going to take a shower and the Aga taking ages to cook something the next day. Our solar panels and battery backup system kicked in beautifully and we were the only well illuminated house on the hillside :-)

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  39. On this side of the Pond, it was known as the Energy Crisis, and while we never had rolling blackouts as i recall, we did all make efforts to reduce our energy use. At Christmas, for example, we didn't put lights on the tree, we used lower wattage bulbs on many of the lamps and only turned on a light when we needed one.

    I was glad to see the Christmas lights reinstated, but still often have on only the light i need and let the rest stay off. Drives Himself crazy.

    At my last location, we lost power every third storm, so had a ready supply of candles, torches, and gallons of water in jugs (were on a well so no electricity meant no water).

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