Blackout? How would I know?

Woke up this morning, as the old blues singers used to sing, got no electricity. Lights, kettle, toaster, even the central heating all off. Check the fusebox, but all in order there. Maybe it’s a power cut! Haven’t had one of those in years. Look out the window – no lights on in any of the houses in the street. It must be a power cut, or powercut, or blackout (he says in a transparent attempt to get as many searchable homonyms into one post). Excitement of same quickly replaced by fear as I realise that practically everything in the house, and my life, is totally dependent on electricity. No internet connection, as we have cable, and our computers are connected via a router anyway (oh for the simple old days of plugging your PC direct into your phone socket). No landline, indeed, as phone is of cordless variety. Can’t have a shower. Can boil water for a cup of tea, if I can find the matches. The only gadget working is my mobile phone, and that only because I remembered to charge it yesterday. But the web being down is the worrying thing. How am I going to get news about whether the power cut is local, regional, nationwide, global?? How would I know if there had been an alien invasion and the world is already at the green ones’ mercy? Note to self: invest in wind-up radio sharpish. And possibly wind-up internet connection.

Cover the kids with extra blankets and go back to bed. Not something I’d normally do but it’s the only source of heat. Turn on bedside lamp so that when (if!) electric comes back on I will know about it. Lay in the dark wondering at what point I should start to worry, call the landlord, call the council, call work, sign up with a ragged army of freedom-fighters to beat the invasion. Actually, thinking about it, if it was an alien attack, they would surely be clever enough to disable all electricity and web connections precisely so that nobody would know what was going on. Catch us underwears, as it were. They didn’t get our mobiles though – maybe they can’t control the batteries. But surely they’ll have the networks down any second?? Oh come on, it’s not aliens. There are no ships in the sky. So how did it happen? This is the 21st century. Are we rationing electricity now? Has the economic crisis brought us to this already? I blame Gordon Brown.

And then suddenly, with a flash of bedside table-lamp, a beep of cordless phone recharge and a whoosh! of central heating, everything snaps on again, at exactly 7am, as if someone at the National Grid had everything on a timer. Maybe that’s not far from the truth. The rationing of juice suddenly seems quite rational.

Normally I would be up, showered, shaved, dressed and working by now but I’m typing this instead in my pyjamas, with tea and toast, hoping it doesn’t all snap off again. My excuse is the house is cold, got to wait for it to warm up again before I jump in the shower.

Go straight to Twitter when turn on PC. Stephen Fry‘s latest tweet is at the top of my feed, referring to a blackout. His avatar, normally his cheery boat-race, is a black square. What?! Has the National Grid’s reach stretched to Twitter avatars too now? But he’s not in the midlands, surely? He lives in London, when he’s in the UK. Was this a national crisis? Hang on, I don’t think he’s even in the country. He’s travelling somewhere. It is a global crisis! The whole world is blacked out! It IS an alien invasion, and it’s still Gordon Brown’s fault! Actually, not – he’s blacked it out in protest against a draconian New Zealand copyright law. That sounds bad, but I have to admit I breath a sigh of relief. Such excitement of a Monday, and I’m not even dressed yet.

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