Powerless – The Year the Lights Went Out

Sunday, January 5

There has been good news and bad news on all fronts today. Neil eventually returned after dark yesterday, which was good, but the floods have risen again. He managed to find fodder but had to go almost as far as Petersfield before he had any luck. He said he was very wary of confrontation as he drove through the countryside but he encountered no opposition. In fact, he said the good thing about his expedition was finding that the small towns and villages are coping well, like us.

Midhurst was quiet, but he saw people who looked healthy and well fed. Nearby villages like Lickfold and Lurgashall seemed as well ordered as here, which is good news. He picked up his supplies in Rogate, where he heard that they’ve had some contact with Petersfield, which hasn’t coped so well and which has had marauders from as far away as Southampton. That was the bad news and made us think that it’s only time before we see some unwelcome incomers around here.

However, Neil also said that most of the country roads, particularly the back lanes, are difficult to drive through. The Christmas storms have felled many trees which are blocking access and there are also many flooded roads. One of the reasons his search took so long was because he had to keep diverting and finding other routes. He thinks these impediments will discourage motorised raiders to some extent, so that is also good news. And when we asked how he had paid for his feed, he said he had taken a pregnant ewe with him in the trailer. She and her lamb, or possibly twins, have covered the cost of keeping the flock fed. Neil has also offered me some of the hay and ewe nuts for our old pet pig, as he is looking very thin. I had thought it was mainly due to old age, but I have not been able to feed him much this winter and he has probably eaten the last of the acorn crop now.

And the last piece of bad news today was the lack of eggs. Well, there was a crushed shell in the nest. The shells are still very thin, but I don’t know what else I can give them.

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