22 June 2009

Pitch Black

As I arrived home on Friday night (6 PM) everything (the street lights, the houses) was black - pitch black! Since I didn't think it likely that I was receiving a visit from Professor Dumbledore I assumed there was a power cut. What was most disconcerting is that the street next to mine had electricity...I wonder what it looked like from the air?

Luckily, I carry around a penlight torch (obviously the Girl Guide motto 'Be Prepared' has stuck with me, even 20 years later *grin*), so I used that to get me, myself and I (and the cat) inside the house. Once in the house I found a bigger torch (in this case, as with books, size really does matter) and managed to light the wood burner. (I can't imagine how cold four degrees Celsius would have been without heat!) I ate my dinner by candlelight (yes, it sounds romantic, but it is really hard to see by, and decided to wile away the evening by the fire reading Broken Wing. That was when disaster struck. My cat managed (as cats do) to get up close and personal with the candle...so up close that his tail caught fire! It just went whoosh! I manged to put the flames out - with my hands (yes, I know, not sensible, but they actually weren't that hot) and bathed his tail with a wet paper towel. (He appeared completely unconcerned about the whole thing BTW.) I then closely inspected his tail, which is not easy by torchlight (the candle was blown out ASAP!) and to which he was not the most willing participant. (It looked like he had just singed his fur, but he went to the vet the next day [how popular was I?] for confirmation. Me, paranoid? *nods*) After watching the cat hawkishly for about an hour, I gave up waiting for the electricity to be restored and went to bed. Power was eventually restored about 11 PM! All of this has taught me that I really need to complete my 'emergency box'!

So, have you ever been caught in a power cut and if so, how did you cope?


  1. Aw, poor little ketteh. That would have freaked me out, too.

    When you first started that story, I thought you were going to say Broken Wing caught on fire. O.O

    We don't have many candles in our house (my dad is paranoid about fire), so we'd probably just use a flashlight or just go to bed. Listening to music on a battery-powered radio is also something we usually do when the power's out.

  2. When you first started that story, I thought you were going to say Broken Wing caught on fire.

    Actually, either (the cat's tail or the book) catching on fire is bad :) I checked the tail this morning and it still look fine (although a bit singed at the tip).

    I did put some batteries in my radio but the reception wasn't brilliant :)

  3. I have definitely been caught out by a power cut. I occasionally have to travel to Christchurch for work and I usually catch the 06:50am flight from Auckland. A couple of years ago I had to go so I set my alarm for 5am. My alarm went off and I jumped out of bed to start getting ready, and got as far as the bathroom when the power went out. Fortunately I had only checked my big torch the night before, so I knew exactly where the torch was. Unfortunately the batteries were nearly flat. I had to get washed and dressed in near darkness. Thankfully I got to the airport on time and checked in, and then went to the ladies to do my makeup and button my shirt correctly! I now have a solar powered torch/radio combo that I keep on my bedroom windowsill so I know where a torch always is and one that it is always charged.

  4. Well, I lived in NY during the blackout a few years ago. Thankfully the blackout began during the day, so we were in the dark only for night hours.

    What sucked was I was at work on the 24th floor; had to walk down the stairs as the elevators weren't running. Then had to walk over the Brooklyn Bridge to get out of Manhattan and walk about 10 miles to get home to Queens.

    This was during summer. It was so hot, we were outside for a long while, just hanging out (too hot be indoors). Someone had their car lights on and music blasting... it became a block party. Kids were loving it. The lights came on sometime the next day for us. I would've enjoyed the party atmosphere more if I wasn't in so much pain from the walking :)

  5. I’ve never been through a blackout like that before. For some reason our power tends to only go out in the morning lol.

    Thanks for the reminder that I need to pick up Broken Wing out of my TBR pile and start it tonight.

  6. ShellBell - I really like the sound of the solar powered torch/radio! *makes note*

    Mariana - that is one loooong walk home. Please tell me you had sneakers on? (Although even with sneakers I'm guessing your feet hurt!).

    You're welcome LeeAnn! I look forward to hearing what you think of BW! And you're definitely lucky with the power outages :)

  7. I did have sneakers. I learned after 9/11 always to have sneakers at the ready (I worked in downtown Manhattan until a year ago). Even today, I still won't wear shoes to work.

    I couldn't walk for a day after, though. My legs would cramp up, especially my calves. Taught me to not be so out of shape ;)

  8. Oh yes, I've been caught in many power outages!

    When I was a teenager, there was a giant ice storm here in Maine and we didn't have power for about 3 days. We were lucky, though, some people in the state were without power for weeks.

    This last Christmas we lost power all afternoon and part of the evening on Christmas Eve. So much for all the goodies I was going to bake!

    I had the power go out once in the middle of a computer lab exam. Fortunately I am one of those paranoid people that saves often.

  9. If you were sore after walking in sneakers I hate to think what psome women's feet would have been like in high heels! When I worked in London I always had sneakers with me :) On the day of the bomb blasts my work kindly organized taxis home for those of us who had managed to get to work, but I had a blood nose and while sorting it out the taxi left without me. So I walked all the way home :)

    Three days without electricity Kristen? In winter? YIKES! And having a power outage on Christmas Day would have been hard :(

  10. orannia .. this is an updated version of my torch (and a prettier colour too!)


  11. I grew up in Mexico City a *coughmumblecough* years ago. Even though it was much less crowded then, it was still overloaded and the power grid nowhere as dependable as it is now. We had power outages... well, I won't say "often" but frequently enough to always have flashlights (torches to you, South hemisphere peeps :grin: ) and candles around the house.

    The longest I've been without power was three weeks, while living in Puerto Rico, after Hurricane Hugo in 1989. Obviously there was no problem with cold, but having a child just around a year old in the middle of summer in a tropical island was... challenging :grin:

  12. Oh I hate power outages! Such a pain...and to walk into one unexpectedly? Not fun.

    I'm so glad your kitty is ok - poor thing.

  13. Ohhhh, ShellBell I like it - thank you! I'm going to try and work on my 'emergency box' this weekend (plus I love the idea of being able to garden outside in the summer without having to worry about extension cords so I can listen to the cricket!)

    No power for 3 weeks AND a 1-year old child? *looks admiringly at azteclady*

    Thank you Tracy! I had a quick look at his tail this morning and it all seems fine - PHEW!

  14. Thankfully when the power has gone out in my neighbor it was during the late evening (whiles I was catching some zzz's) or during the day. I do have lots and lots of candles and flashlights (torches for us poor Americans who can only speak that other english).

    O: You need to get yourself a radio/torch that powered by something other than batteries. I have a really cool one that you can crank for power (very handy when it's dark and you can use it to charge your cell phone too) or use solar power. Here what it looks like:

  15. Oh my... I forgot about your kitty. Glad to hear that his okay. My sister's boycat did the same thing, except he has no tail so he burned his little bottom on one candle while trying to sniff another! LOL. Maybe its a boycat thing.

  16. Thank you Aymless! I sure like the look of that torch :) It's so multipurpose!

    And I left kitty asleep on my bed - I think he's feeling the cold even though he has a big furry coat :)

  17. Glad the kitty is well, everyone needs a cuddle :) BTW, finished Broken Wing!

    Aymless: Thanks for link, it's nice to be prepared :)

  18. Thank you Mariana! Oh, and I have now added your name to the list of those attempting the Broken Wing Challenge. Apologies for being so slow and congrats on finishing the book :)

  19. azteclady - is everything alright?

  20. Broken Wing, not finished reading... PANIC

    Other than that, all is wonderful, thank you :grin:


  21. *whispers* I haven't even started it yet! *glances around wildly*

    Mariana: Your most welcome. I love mine and have given as gifts to member of the family so they would quit "borrowing" mine.

  22. (((azteclady))) (((Aymless)))

    Take a deep breath :) You both have until the end of July to read Broken Wing.

  23. O: Would it probably help if I actually picked it up? *sigh*