Monday, February 21, 2011

Powercut

Yesterday I came home to a dark house.
I closed the door, switched on my mobile phone torch and went to check the fuse box.
The fuse box seemed okay.
I ghosted through the house for a while, switching on and off darkness and silence.
Then I was struck by a complete and utter sense of not knowing what to do.
It had been a long day, involving a surprise birthday event for Gwyn where all his friends plus extra recruits chased him all over London mercilessly, and I was still winding down from having had to pretend I had no idea what was planned for weeks. I am bad at pretending.
I was tired and I wanted a cup of tea and some light and for the freezer to not defrost.
So I phoned Gwyn, and he explained to me that there is an emergency number to call. I didn't believe him. I said I'd rather just sit in a corner and cry for a bit.
Then I called them, and a person of unearthly niceness and patience told me it was a powercut that had only hit my house and nothing else apparently, and they'd fix it, probably before midnight.
So I set up camp on the sofa because I wanted to be close to the phone, the only other live thing in the house. I put tea lights on the dinner table and waited.
It was very silent, and my tin lantern was making patterns on the ceiling.
I thought about how easy it is to feel completely thrown by something you'd expect to be able to deal with easily. But I've never been in charge of a house before, I've always been a lodger or had other people around... a house is such a big thing...
Then, just before midnight, there was a growling and a rattling and a bright light, and the fridge took a deep breath and the TV receiver got its bearings, the radiators gurgled, and then the kitchen shuddered to life - literally - I think it was the water pump coming back on. I suppose there is a water pump somewhere in the wall, isn't there?
All the dead switches I'd tried earlier went live and made things come on randomly all over the place.
The whole house hiccuped twice, went dark and dead again, then it settled. I switched off the lights and radiators and went to bed.
I never noticed before all the little noises of a house...

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