the dimming of the light (Part 7)
dawn gently elbowed aside the night as it had always done and possibly always would although I pondered how long I would be around to see it For the past day I had not felt so well. As I still had a couple of days medication left it could not be the result of any lack of prescription drugs
Maybe it was in my head - a growing psychological malaise brought on by the increasingly apparent predicament we were in.
The persistent non-restoration of the electricity was having a devastating affect on us all me in particular with a debilitating depression made all the more acute from our growing realisation of the problems confronting us if the situation continued
accentuated by the dark gloom of the short mid-January day - only a few hours of grey light the sort of day which we normally would have kept lights on to cheer up the house still no electricity no outside communication
This feeling of depression was perhaps to be expected, but we were still doing quite well compared with what was almost certainly to come. So far we still fed adequately, all the unfreezing food was still palatable and we had not had to fall back on tins or dried stuff such as cakes, biscuits and rice
and the water tank in the attic still supplied our drinking needs. How long this situation would last was not certain sooner or later we would need another source and Chris was already investigating the small spring-fed pond in the orchard, raking out the dead leaves that had accumulated over the years ahead of trying it for drinking water. No doubt we would be advised to boil it for twenty minutes or so before drinking it, but what choice did we have? Any alternatives were not great the lake was out of the question and the brook, although clear and sparkling could possibly be contaminated from the houses adjoining it further upstream
and initially I resolved to offer some of it to a neighbour - and see if he suffered any ill effects.
We were all beginning to smell but as long as it applied to all of us it was not too apparent. We agreed to use water from the rain butts if anyone was desperate to wash but it would be very cold, especially if carried out from a bucket in the open-fronted tractor shed
There really seemed no point in washing them except possibly our underwear as we smelled, what was the point in clean clothes?
the sanitary buckets were more of a problem - whether to keep them in the bathrooms - re-locate them to the garage to minimise the smells and how often to empty them into a hole in the ground far away from the dwellings.
We agreed to take turns digging the pits to bury the waste but my age, general health and my bad back were not ideal for my share of the task
Yesterday I had ridden my bicycle to our nearest neighbouring village, nearly two and a half miles to the south hoping to benefit from fresh information
nothing new - just the same or similar wild speculation
and at seventy-two the effort had taken its toll of my energy. I wished I owned a horse. It could do the work and there was plenty of grass on our land - even in mid-winter. Also I thought if things got tougher I could drink from its warm blood just like the warriors of Genghis Kahn did - knowing a healthy animal would soon top it up
if it was good enough then for crossing the Gobi Dessert it would be more than good enough for me
The daily meeting organised by the parish council chairman was not, as yet proving very positive the opportunity to communicate was welcome but the quality of information exchange was dubious
mostly rumours of a more and more alarming nature gleaned from the infrequent motorist passing through.
What might be useful information was that the village shop was out of food and also possibly surprisingly - all drink
the villagers drinking themselves into oblivion as they sat in the dark? an almost satirical thought
How I longed for that slight reassurance of the orbiting helicopter we had seen
was it only two days ago?
The first casualty a baby with am undiagnosed problem no doctor resident in the village - and no means of contacting the local hospital to find our whether they were operating using generator
by the time they decided to drive to the hospital the child had died
We still did not have a clue what was happening when, why or if?
(To be continued)
Peter Hunter 2012
Thrillers for those who think: Time Of the Spider and Time Of The Eagle on Kindle