Tuesday, January 03, 2012

Back to the stone age?

Photo: Campbell Bryson
I'm indebted to (brave/foolhardy/dedicated) local photographer Campbell Bryson for the photo that  I'm too much of a wimp to go out and take for myself - this huge tree, blocking Argyll Street in Dunoon, is very close to home, but as I write the rain is once more battering down and I'm here instead of out there and .... and ....

And this morning brought home to me yet again how precarious our comfortable life is. We woke in the dark, some time before 7am, to hear an ominous crashing above our heads - and then there was a flash outside and the whole of Dunoon went dark. The torches were downstairs, and I found myself feeling my way to the kitchen to find one - walked into the long-case clock on the way - before trying, unsuccessfully, to sleep again. Daylight revealed our neighbour walking across the road carrying a long piece of ridging from - his roof? our roof? Could have been either, for his house and ours and the one at the other side of our block are all missing yards of the stuff, with the remaining bits sticking up at crazy angles. And now, as I said, the rain is back ... Let us not think on't.

The lack of power was interesting. We have a couple of gas fires, so the demise of the central heating pump wasn't quite the catastrophe it might have been, but there was no hot water and I had to boil water for tea on a little camping stove. We'd thrown out our stove-top kettle too, so it was in a pot ... And then there was the matter of the toast. I made toast. Barbecue tongs and the gas flame after the water boiled. Quite quick - but different texture and a tendency to go on fire. Better than the raw bread, however.

All this took so much time - and even with the decision not to wash up until we had hot water, the business of dealing with the wee stove, finding a suitable pot, refilling same, finding more candles ... it was almost time to think of doing it over again (for coffee) when the power came on. But not once had I thought of how I was missing my computer, nor wondered what I would do with the day - and I realised that the ordinary business of living could fill your entire waking life with activity if you had to boil every drop of water for drinking, washing, bathing, if you had to light your way with a candle or replenish an oil lamp.

As it is, I bet we have water coming into our roof-space right now, soaking wood and dripping dismally. I'm not going to think about it any more. I've just heard that the place we rehearse with 8+1 has lost part of its roof altogether. Maybe we could worry about that instead ...


  1. Having thoughts about stocking up on some 'survival gear'?

  2. What do you have in mind? :-)

  3. That was quite some storm you had, Christine and not even your first of the winter. Sorry to hear about the damage, but glad it's not worse. You're right - basic living takes so long without all the conveniences we take so much for granted.

  4. Anonymous7:55 AM

    Some of the happiest times I have shared with my children occurred during power cuts. Something about the softness of candlelight, simplicity of charades and the sense of intimacy was very appealing.
    And yes, not one of us missed the tv, computers, gadgets etc.

  5. Let's hope we don't have such "excitements" for a long while, Christine. We're well stocked up with cameras, batteries and gas, so it should be OK.