The other night my husband decided he was going to watch the ten o’clock news. I hate watching the news at this time of night – it’s just so depressing. So I went upstairs to read. But just as I was about to climb into bed the light from the main blub went out. I thought that the blub had blown, but when I tried the bedside lamp, that didn’t come on either, and through the open window, alarms were going mad. We had a power cut.
As people came out of their doors we realised that the whole street was without electricity. It generated (pardon the pun) quite a sense of community spirit and would have been fun if I hadn’t been worried about our freezer, which we had just filled up, defrosting.
Fortunately we had candles and matches to hand, and we lit ourselves to bed.
To me it felt quite Dickensian to be walking upstairs to the light of the candle, but it also made me wonder at the number of potential house fires in those days with so many naked flames about.
My husband, who is more pragmatic, said it reminded him of the 1970’s. His comment triggered a childhood memory of sitting around a fire in the middle of winter for warmth, food and light. It amazed me that the two periods in history were similar and yet the latter was still in living memory.
The electricity, thankfully, came back on before we went to sleep but my final waking thought was how much we depend on electricity these days. In a dystopian image I began to wonder what it would be like if our fuel ran out and we could no longer use our computers or charge our mobile phones. Even our landlines today are plugged into the wall. It would be like being plunged right back into the dark ages. Literally. So much for progress then?