10 things to do in a power cut

In bad weather the power supply may not be reliable.

Be prepared for power cuts by having

  1. candles and the means of lighting them (do not leave them unattended)
  2. one or more torches
  3. a telephone plugged in to the telephone socket (not relying on electricity)
  4. warm clothes and blankets (use these before you feel cold)
  5. fully charged batteries for any devices you wish to use during a power cut
  6. a plan for keeping tropical fish warm (if you happen to have these – we don’t)

Possible activities during a power cut (in no particular order)

  1. craft projects (knitting, hand sewing, crochet, origami, etc.)
  2. dusting and sweeping
  3. reading
  4. board games, card games, jigsaw puzzles
  5. writing (in a notebook if you cannot use a computer)
  6. playing musical instruments
  7. conversation
  8. listening to a battery-powered radio
  9. playing charades and other family games
  10. making sure elderly neighbours are OK

One day between Christmas and New Year the stormy weather conditions damaged the power supply to our area and we were without mains electricity for over 17 hours.

I got up early (as I have begun to do recently) and used my lap-top with its fully-charged battery to draft three blog posts.  (I normally take the battery out and use my lap-top plugged into the mains.)  Of course, we had no internet access, but I set my lap-top to flight mode to prevent it wasting its efforts hunting for a network!

We are fortunate in having mains gas and a hob.  We are able to use this to cook (and boil water) even when the electricity is off.  However the gas central-heating does not work without electricity to run the control system and the pump.

The temperature outside was higher than expected for the time of year, but the ambient temperature indoors was falling throughout the outage.  It is important to keep warm.  I dressed in extra layers.  When I began to feel cold sitting at my lap-top, I thought of one of the items on my to-do list which involved some physical activity.

I have begun to catalogue our books.  I am doing this using Excel (which I don’t really understand).  I carry a pile of books to from a shelf to the table, enter the details I wish to record, return the books to the shelf and take another pile…

At a fund-raising coffee morning before Christmas I won a raffle prize – a set of three jigsaw puzzles.  Over the Christmas holiday period I did these for relaxation and as a change from craft projects.  During the daylight hours, I was able to continue with putting pieces in one of these puzzles.

We kept up-to-date (by telephone) with the progress of restoring power and decided to cook our main meal mid-afternoon in order to do this by daylight.  We had eaten lunch at midday, but were hungry enough to enjoy a cooked meal earlier than usual.

It was too dark to read music by the time I decided I’d like to play the piano.  I cannot play from memory or by ear, so I found my treble (alto) recorder and played some Christmas carols from memory.

I played patience with real playing cards (designed for games of patience) by candlelight after a game of Rummikub with hubby had proved too much like hard work.  The light was not good enough to distinguish the colour of the tiles easily.

The day was something of a challenge, but I was pleased with what I managed to achieve.  We often take modern comforts for granted.

Last time we knew the electricity would be turned off for essential maintenance work, we planned a day out in the countryside, which we enjoyed.  This time the weather was unsuitable for leaving the house unnecessarily.