Powerless – The Year the Lights Went Out

Saturday, February 15 – High roads and high winds

It was dusk before the men returned yesterday. We were beginning to get quite worried as the wind had picked up considerably since the morning. When I fed the hens it sounded just like a London tube train roaring through the tunnel.

But they were back, laden with feed sacks from Dorking and full of tales of their time on the road. We heard all about their adventures while we ate last night. They had set out on the route we were used to taking, but soon found that one country road after another was blocked with fallen trees or flooded. So they turned back onto the main roads and after Guildford came across an army truck parked by a set of dead traffic lights.

Martin and Neil thought they would ask the soldiers what the roads were like ahead, but suddenly found themselves under suspicion. The men jumped out, fully armed and started interrogating them, wanting to know where they were headed and why. The soldiers were very suspicious of Neil’s gun, but they could see from other items in the Landrover that he worked with animals, so eventually accepted his explanation and let them both go on their way.

At the corn merchants outside Dorking, where Neil still has an account, they didn’t have to pay for the feed. Neil had taken some cuts of lamb, but his offering was dismissed with a wave of the hand as they’d had their fill of mutton and lamb from grateful customers. So we had more lamb to take to the pub today in exchange for vegetables, which we need just as much as meat. There were fewer regulars there today because of the terrible weather. The wind howled all last night and although we’ve had a couple of bright spells today, we’ve mostly been lashed with rain. I expect the hens will be sulking again when I go out to feed them shortly.

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