The Power Cut

There I was jabbering away on the phone when all of a sudden the line went dead and the lights went out. It was like the opening to a horror film.

Living in a village means that a power cut at night leaves you in the deepest, darkest, thickest, enveloping blackness that for an instant paralyses your senses. Your eyes try their hardest to find a spot of light, to latch on to something that they recognise but it is just too dark, too pervasive. Youmight as well keep them closed. In order to try and comprehend the situation your brain starts firing out possibilities:

  • A power cut
  • A serial killer is coming
  • It is the end of the world

Then your 4 year old daughter starts screaming in horror. The killer has got to her first. No. Worse than that. Her night light has gone out.

“Don’t worry. I’m coming Georgie,” shouted her courageous big brother who then ran straight into the closed door. “I’m OK,” he yelled forgetting that I was next to him.

My brain continued to tick away. Where was my phone? It has a torch on it. It could be anywhere. I bend myself in half so that I can feel my way along the sofa to the door that Archie is lying in front of. Somewhere in this house there is a torch. There are actually three but I am realistic enough to know that two are lost. I make it to the sideboard, to THAT DRAWER that everyone has. The one where you cram batteries, wires, old phone chargers, multi purpose sealant, train tickets, shopkins, lego men, padlock keys, plug in air fresheners, a pot of magic poo (I kid you not), random coins from every country you have ever visited and several that you have not, dog poo bags, an egg timer, old photos, a cheque book (remember those?), drawing pins and TORCHES.

Victory. I turn on the torch. Georgie is still crying. Archie and I go upstairs and find her sobbing heartbreakingly into her pillow. We take her into my bed and she continues to cry because we didn’t bring her two compulsory comfort bankets: Mimi and Peppa. I go back from them and she grabs them greedily and rubs them against her chubby red cheeks happy again.

Naturally she keeps the torch as I blindly fumble down the stairs, collecting a fake candle from the draw of crap. It emits hardly any light but it is enough to find my way into the kitchen where the real candles are. “Let me light them,” yells Archie who is already holding six in his arms.

A seven year old and a box of matches. What could possibly go wrong?

I give him the hob lighter instead.

“This is exciting,” I say once the candles are lit (and away from anything flammable). “Let’s sit on the sofa and chat.”

“Can I sleep with you as well?” asks Archie.

Why not. I say taking him to bed. Just as both kids snuggle down all the lights come back on. And then go off again. Storm Doris is playing with us now. Like she did earlier when she ripped down the fence in the back garden. Doris you can put that back up whenever you like………


Author: Bernadette Ballantyne

Freelance journalist and former engineer writing for business magazines and blogging about working parent issues

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