Powerless – The Year the Lights Went Out

Tuesday, May 27 – Tales and tents

A day of good news and bad news. It started with us all in a happy mood because we had enjoyed the special evening that I had prepared with the help of the girls. We commandeered the dining room where we cook all our food on the fire and said Stephen and Martin couldn’t come in until supper time. Martin was a bit miffed at this until I took tea outside to him and he kept coming up to the door to the kitchen asking if he could come in yet. I think he was feeling the cold as there was a chilly breeze blowing.
And when we did finally open the door they were astonished at how we had draped the room with remnants of brocade from the attic and rearranged most of the cushions in the house, so it looked like a Kasbah. Anna had made the men Arab headdresses, but she drew the line at draping the women in black, so we wore long dresses and had old necklaces draped around our heads. Jane looked particularly fetching in a chain belt which she had retrieved from the dressing up box, which I think I last wore in about 1970. Then we sat down to eat mutton pilaff and carrots with caraway seeds, flat bread with nigella seeds and a beetroot dip. We had mint tea as the mint is growing well now and then told stories like the ones in 1001 Arabian Nights until it was dark outside.
But later today our mood changed when Tony came up to the house to say that large numbers of refugees had arrived in the village and had set up their tents wherever there was open space. They are camping on the village green, outside the pub, in the churchyard and on the common. And there’s more coming this way, he said, they’re all fleeing the big towns and cities now the weather has improved and the days are longer. We could soon be inundated.
So I shall make sure I shut up the hens as soon as they go in to roost. We need their eggs and they laid five today.

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