Well, there was some excitement in our neck of the woods tonight, let me tell you! Just after I walked in the front door of the Manse, home from work, the electric lights flickered and went out. And, unlike the past few times they’ve flickered and gone out, they failed to come back on again after a few seconds. Or a few minutes.
One’s first reaction is that a power outage is not what one needs after a long day of work and with supper to be cooked – on the electric stove. And of course there’s the fact that the temperature outside is supposed to go down to minus 20 or so overnight. Those are mighty chilly conditions in which to have no heat coming out of one’s electric-powered oil furnace.
One’s next reaction is that it is really time to get a wood stove installed, to ward off just such chill. And also a generator, which sensible people around here have and which Raymond and I have long talked about but so far failed to take action on.
But after you get over those inevitable thoughts, and while your husband is going about the house lighting candles and so on, things start to look a little brighter, not just literally but figuratively too. The best part was when Raymond brought out and lit one of the pair of kerosene lamps that we’ve had for ages and had never before used. (That’s what you see in the photo atop this post.) They are just like the pair that my family had when I was growing up in this old house, brought in from the back porch and lit whenever there was a power outage such as we had this evening. That was a nice thing to be reminded of.
And the light from the candles and the kerosene lamp was, while not terribly bright, very warm-feeling and nice. As was the quiet conversation Raymond and I had as we sat in our easy chairs on either side of the small table where the lamp burned – a conversation uninterrupted by any reference to any screen (laptop, iPad, phone or television) of any sort. It was downright old-fashioned! And I could suddenly see how nights like that would be very cozy and appealing when it’s a long, cold winter night. Conversation, or reading by lamplight, maybe doing some writing (by hand!): those are simpler and quieter pursuits than most of us enjoy on most of our evenings, and I do believe there is something to be said for those simple, quiet pursuits.
Then again, there was the fact that we couldn’t make supper, and there was the concern that it might get pretty cold in the house by morning.
We are spoiled, though; there was really nothing to worry about. The Hydro One app on my phone informed us that the outage – which I understand plunged the villages of Madoc and Marmora into darkness, along with Queensborough – was expected to be fixed no later than 9:15 p.m.; a phone call on our old rotary phone (and thank goodness for it, because the modern phones didn’t work without power and the iPhones were losing power and couldn’t be charged) provided the reassuring news that the village of Tweed still had power, and in Tweed there are restaurants; we had a nearly full tank of gas in the car; and so we were off to town and supper in surroundings that provided both heat and light.
As we were driving home, we saw the lights come on at the homes along Queensborough Road. The Manse was lit up and warm when we pulled in.
And here’s the best part (aside from the kerosene lamps being brought out and used): we had a phone message – on our old rotary phone – from a neighbour, wanting to make sure we were okay and offering to bring up a portable generator to power some heaters if need be.
What with that kind and neighbourly offer, and a long-ago memory of an evening by lamplight rekindled, I would say that this was a very successful power outage indeed.