Powerless – The Year the Lights Went Out

Saturday, June 21 – Midsummer madness
This morning I woke at 4.30am to find the sun was already shining brightly and I realised that today is the longest day of the year. It’s Midsummer’s Day and we shall have more light than we’ve had ever since the power cut started. The house can still get too dark in the evenings to see to read or sew, of course, but outside, if it’s not too cold tonight, we shall sit at the table in the garden until the sun goes down.
I agreed to go with Martin to the village today, to see if the Saturday barter market is up and running again. Martin had pheasants to take and Robin, our neighbour, had more rabbits. Some of the younger villagers were put off by the fur and feathers and preferred the minced beef from the farm butcher. But the older residents aren’t scared of wild meat they have to skin and pluck.
We collected asparagus and peas and were about to go when we noticed some people dressed in white sheets moving amongst the tents in the encampment on the village green. Mick, the publican, saw us looking and said some of the incomers had daft ideas about welcoming the sun today. It’s not exactly Stonehenge, he said, but they’ve been up Bonfire Hill all night, waiting for the sun to rise. I expect half of them fell asleep drunk, knowing this useless lot.
It was true there were quite a few figures slumped in and out of tents, some in full sun, some in the shade. But where are they getting the drink, I asked, knowing that the pub had run out of alcohol long ago. Oh they’re making it themselves somewhere he said. End up killing themselves, they will, or go blind.
We left then, as it wasn’t a pleasant sight. I wanted to get home and shell the fresh peas and cook them with mint for supper. We’re having another rabbit tonight. I tossed the pea pods into the hen run and the hens rushed towards their dinner. Not the broody hen, of course. She is still sitting, but I could just see a little pale yellow head poke out briefly, then pop back under her brown feathers. So one chick has emerged and more will follow.

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