Powerless – The Year the Lights Went Out

Thursday, June 19 – Flush and cheep

Despite the heavy cloud today, it hasn’t yet rained, so we’ve had to water some of the crops which baked under a hot sun yesterday. We’re using dirty water for the watering, rather than fresh, although we still need to recycle water for the toilet cistern. Martin and Stephen don’t worry about going in the cloakroom and flushing, they can go outside most of the time. And Jane and I don’t mind either in daylight, but I can’t insist that a heavily pregnant girl squats behind the bushes, so Anna still enjoys the luxury of our only flush toilet.
Today Jane and Anna wanted to hear the cheeping egg, so we all went down to the henhouse together and the girls waited while I crept inside to borrow an egg from the broody. She has started to murmur softly to her nearly hatched chicks. I slid my hand underneath her hot feathers and quietly slipped outside with the egg clutched in my hand. We took turns to listen and there it was – a tiny tap as well as a high pitched cheep.
I’ve heard it many times before and so has Jane, but it never fails to amaze us, this life inside the egg, talking to its mother and the world before it emerges. I slipped back into the henhouse and gently replaced the egg beneath the sitting hen, who briefly came out of her muttering daze and pecked my hand. When I came out of the run, nursing the purple bruise on the back of my hand, Anna looked at me with a smile and wide eyes and said, I wonder if the baby is talking inside me. It’s certainly kicking, but maybe it’s trying to talk to me and I can’t hear it. But it can hear you, I said, it will know your voice even before it’s born.
It’s at times like that, when we are laughing and marveling at what is to come, that we forget how difficult life is now. But when I come indoors to stoke the fire and boil more water, I remember.


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