Tuesday, 31 December 2013

Battling the forces of darkness at Christmas

It was about this time last week that the lights went out.

They'd been flickering on and off for a while as the storm tantrumed like an overtired child before they finally gave up completely.

We were staying with my boyfriend's family at their farm in Sussex for Christmas.  We had a wood burner to keep us warm, a Rayburn to keep us fed and an abundance of piping hot water to keep us clean. All things considered we were in a pretty pucker position, especially compared to the thousands of other people across the country who had none of these things.

We also, however, had a hero in our midst.

Dave's dad.

The day before Christmas eve he unblocked the overflowing pond next to the farmhouse, to stem the rising flood in the cellar. Twice.  The second time he was up to his in neck in the pond (making the waders a somewhat pointless fashion accessory).

Later he put the freezer, which lives in the cellar, on stilts above the flood water when the rain refused to stop pouring down and the water continued to rise.

On Boxing day morning he fixed the leak in the internal water boiler which had burst in the (heavily over used) Rayburn,  before some of us (cough cough) had even got up.

But it was during second milking, on Christmas eve, he had what might be called a 'light bulb' moment.

By the power of a homemade generator, a cable with plugs at both ends (don't ask...) and sheer practical ingenuity, Dave's father was able to bring light back to dark places.

Over the course of the next few hours he worked tirelessly to hook the three households and the farm up to (some limited) power.

Christmas was saved.

It was during Christmas dinner (an evening affair on the farm as cows need to be milked twice daily whatever the occasion) that the power did come back on*.  A moment of respite for our hero?  Hell no.

Between desert and the cheeseboard Dave's dad went around to each of the houses, disconnected the generator and reconnected everyone to the mains power supply.

We watched Man of Steel when we got back to Bristol.  "Pfft," I say to you,  "Man of Steel, get back into your useless fantasy box".  Real life problem solving is much more impressive.

I really hope Dave's dad has a quieter new year however, cos even heroes need some time off.

Wishing you all a heroic and happy new year!

(*hurrah - a huge cheer for the folks out working on Christmas day to make this happen)


  1. We were similiarly powerless in Sussex, but thank goodness for the AGA and generators! Sounds a pretty eventful Christmas for yout hough, glad everything worked out :) x

    1. Thanks Sophie! It was an adventure for sure but we were so much better off than so many other people :(. And folks are STILL being battered by the weather at the moment. Hope you had a good one and Happy New Year :) xxxx