Powerless – The Year The Lights Went Out

Saturday, Oct 12

They were back in one piece by midday. I have never been so anxious in my life, wondering if they got there safely then waiting to hear the crunch of the car’s wheels on the gravel. Anna and I rushed out to hug them and bring them inside to warm by the fire while I made tea.
Jane was laughing about the difficulty Stephen had in getting her out of the flat while Martin kept guard over the car, but underneath her smiles I could see she had been very frightened. It’s all very well having an entry phone system, but when there’s no power a block of flats becomes a prison block. Stephen had to shout up to her window then meet her round the back, where the big wheelie bins get collected and help her climb over the locked gate.
Jane hadn’t left the flat at all since the power cut first happened, but she had seen people breaking into the shops across the road and realised she was safer staying where she was. She laughed too about her enforced ‘diet’ of the last few days, then asked me what there was to eat. She has brought warm clothes with her but no food. Students don’t keep much food in store at the best of times, unless you count the mouldering tin of beans in the fridge or blackened bananas in a bowl.
I was so happy to have Jane home and so relieved that Martin and Stephen had also made it back safely that I probably indulged them with more food than I should. I extended the stew with some meatballs and made dumplings with a little of the flour and some suet. They are always a favourite and make a good filling meal. Then we had apples I had baked in foil by the hearth with the last tin of custard.
Martin made light of their journey from Bournemouth but he looked very tired. Stephen said they noticed numbers of abandoned and wrecked cars as they drove and there were bonfires in the centre of the town and on the beach.


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