Yesterday afternoon a collection of rude mechanicals were digging a hole at the end of my street. Shortly thereafter the lights went out all down the street. So that’s my computing up the junction for the evening! The power only came back up this morning. Shortly after the sun did. So what do you do?
Well, I’m currently on “rabbit detail” for a couple of days because my next-door neighbour is away and so is her daughter. Well, I go to see Honey the Bunny last night as the sun is setting. It’s a house rabbit with a big cage and sometimes run of the gaff. It was merely crepuscular at the time so I thought I’d give the little blighter a carrot. I open the fridge door expecting there to be light and there isn’t. I knew there was a power cut but I still did expect without thinking. Of course there was no light so I get a carrot from my house and much did he enjoy it. For all I knew next-door might have had all manner of tasty bunnyish treats but scrabbling through someone else’s fridge vegetable tray in the gloaming by touch is just not my style. Certainly not if it in anyway contains at the bottom the sort of matter* you might find in mine. Which it might have done because neighbour senior had clearly been away some time judging by the 2 and 8 her daughter had left the gaff in. So I set awhile with Bunny and gave him a stroke (and some carrot of course).
When it came time to get him back in his cage this proved tricky. It was already getting really quite dark so I herded him up his little ramp with the lid of a cardboard box and the remainder of the vegetable. This was no mean feat considering his penchant for disappearing under the dresser and the superior night vision of Leporids to Homo sapiens sapiens** but I will be buggered if I’m to be defeated by a bunny***. Hence the deployment of more carrot and some stick in the form of my parador**** act. That act completed and water changed and all that and it’s time for home. Well, my wife had got out enough candles for some light demonology but seeing as you can’t really chalk a pentagram onto carpet it was decided to play Scrabble instead. And I’d so wished to summon Ashkaroth the Cleaver of Souls and sic him on United Utilities. Scrabble by candlelight is fun - I almost set a Collins’ Concise Dictionary on fire. The last time we had a power cut I’d thought, “There’s always the TV…” only to be disappointed and feel foolish.
If there is a moral to this tale (and there is) it is not just the fact that without 230VAC modern life is impossible but about the reason why so many people seem so unconcerned about the existential threat Green and NIMBY policies represent to the future security of electricity supply. Things like computers and such are new enough that in an odd way you don’t forget they need juice***** whereas fridge lights and TV are so embedded into us as something that is always there that instinctively we find it difficult not just to get on without them but to even imagine they might stop or maybe even have not always been. Installed electrical appliances are just so taken for granted because walls humming at 50Hz are to us what walls of wattle and daub were to our ancestors.
I suppose when the last of the AGRs go offline and Drax is de-commissioned we can sit round a fire of organic goat dung and hear the tales of ancients like me about the days when the Titan Tesla stole sparks from the bosom of Mother Gaia herself… ….and there was light! But Grandad! We’ve heard that one already! Tell us about the great metal birds instead! Tell us how we reached too far and fell back to Gaia! And through toothless gums I’ll mutter under my breath (for I still almost recall how it was), “Not far enough…” and then tell the tale of when we thought we could be gods and dreamed of the stars as though they were not. That they were great nuclear furnaces instead and the kids will laugh and consider me a superstitious old fool but good for a laugh with my myths.
Welcome to the endarkenment! Coming to Germany first!
Why am I reminded of this story?
*Sometimes the only soup on the menu is the primordial stuff.
**He’s a nervous critter so I didn’t want to deploy the Maglite. I’ve known lads who went lamping.
***All humans suffer this. I think it is known as Elmer Fudd Syndrome in the literature.
****A parador is either a really posh state-run hotel in an historic building in Spain or your humble blogger making a right tit of himself chasing a small critter round a kitchen armed with a sheet of cardboard - portmanteau of “parody” and “matador”.
***** And they use batteries so you have to remember to charge them. Built in appliances are different.