Powerless – The Year the Lights Went Out

Sunday, January 26 – Sunday lunch

When I shut up the hens at about 8.30 last night, the sky was the clearest and blackest it has been for weeks. That heavy grey blanket of rain cloud had cleared, leaving the brightest clearest stars I think I have ever seen. The Plough and Mars were shining above the house and the air was crisp.

But this morning the rain returned. I wanted to go to church, but I didn’t want a soaking, so I decided to stay here to cook the pigeons Martin bagged yesterday. To make it seem like a normal pre-power cut Sunday, I thought we should eat our main meal at lunchtime for a change. I boiled potatoes and finished them in a pan in a little dripping, which made them taste just like real roast potatoes. I cut the pigeon breasts into strips and stir-fried them with curly kale, black pudding and onion, all spiced with some soy sauce and smoked paprika. I used to do this dish with chorizo, but the black pudding and paprika gave a similar result. Maybe the next time Linda and I make the sausage we could add spice to make it taste more like chorizo.

It was quite an elegant lunch I think, for people sitting round a smoky fire in layer upon layer of grubby warm clothing, looking less than sophisticated and certainly less fragrant than we used to. I wasn’t wearing wellingtons, but I’m not sure if Martin and Stephen had even removed their muddy boots before they ate. Everyone enjoyed the meal and Martin will try to get more pigeons as we are seeing so many around and they will be a nuisance once the veg start growing.

The rain had passed over by this afternoon so Martin dug over the hen run and the chickens scrabbled over the earth for the worms. And they gave us four eggs.

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