the dimming of the light (Part 2)
Day 1 - 1200 noon
we sat huddled in our parked car outside our house, dressed in several layers of clothes in defiance of the January cold. Only the radio was operating silently as we waited for the promised emergency broadcast. We were in the there because we did not have a battery radio in the house - so had to rely on the car audio system
the hour arrived then passed but we heard no sound - presumably the BBC transmission would be powered by an emergency generator and not dependant on mains power being resumed
We listened for over thirty minutes but still no sound came.
It was as if we were alone in the world but now and then we would see a car passing slowly through the village.
Also we observed a large tractor towing a trailer full of silage towards the field where the local farmer kept a herd of bullocks by the brook - a very normal happening around this time of day - disconcertingly 'normal' considering the emerging picture around us. Animals of course had to be fed and the farmer no doubt had a large storage tank full of diesel on his farm - something that would be of great value if this situation continued for days rather than hours
Earlier, visiting our closer neighbours we had learned nothing but rumour
They all agreed it was different from all the previous power cuts we had experienced. Never before had we also lost telephone service. Power had always been on in some of the other villages locally. We had never known there to be no radio stations to be heard on a battery-operated receiver such as the ones in cars.
Something serious was happening - that was obvious - but what? The lack of communication was very bad
but the lack of electricity? We had never before contemplated that happening for this length of time, so we discussed the situation with our nearest neighbours Chris and Sharon in front of our blazing wood burning stove, our only source of heat remaining. Their normal heating was by electricity - they had no other source.
'What if this continues,' asked Sharon. ' if the power never comes back?' Silence while we all considered this hitherto impossible horror of never ever again having electricity.
'Half the population will be dead within a week - most of us in under a fortnight particularly those in towns. Think about it.' I suggested.
'A lot will depend on whether people have a good store of tinned food - particularly things they could eat raw or uncooked' added Chris, 'supermarkets could be raided - and other shops. Folk will have to do without their cars. The filling stations will be useless without power, nothing to pump up the fuel.'
'Hygiene will rapidly become a problem, frozen food will start to rot - encouraging rats and other vermin, spreading disease. We will not be able to use lavatories and their will be no mains water supply as both systems depend on electric pumping at some sage in the cycle we will just have to perform in buckets, take them out side and bury it'
'Or go outside' added Chris, 'neither, a good option for people in towns.
'Not great for us either' I added, 'particularly for us Oldies. 'It makes sense for you both to move in with us for the time being - share resources - starting with this wood burner, at least we can keep warm and there's water until the roof tank supply is used up'
'And then?' asked Sharon
To be continued
Peter Hunter 2012
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