Friday, April 09, 2010

In the Dark

I was reading in bed. Farewell to the East End, by Jennifer Worth: it's the third book in an excellent trilogy about her work as a midwife in the Poplar district of London in the 1950s. Absolutely fascinating.

Anyway, it was late and I was tired and I was just about to put my book down and lie down - - when suddenly it was pitch dark.

I checked to see if the world had ended and it didn't seem to have done so. I was initially a bit worried that an asteroid had hit us as I'd earlier been watching the excellent Wonders of the Solar System on television earlier and Professor Brian Cox had put this idea into my head. Squillions of asteroids out there, all waiting to be diverted by Jupiter's gravitational pull and fired in the direction of the Earth, like little rocky snooker balls.

It really was very, very dark. However, since I still seemed to be breathing I decided a power cut, rather than an asteroid, was the likeliest cause of all this darkness.

I went over to the window and looked out. Quite strange: I couldn't see any lights anywhere.

I thought I'd check out of the back windows so I went into the little bedroom at the top of the stairs and looked across the garden. DARK.

I wandered round the rest of the house to see what was going on. And what was going on was - - well - - DARK. What I thought I could do about it I don't know. I just thought I'd look.

Of course, I couldn't see very well, what with it being pitch dark. I'd wandered downstairs and got as far as the kitchen before I spooked myself by thinking - - hey, it's really very dark, isn't it? What if there are some really scary things lurking in all this dark?

So I went back into the bedroom, and realised that I really hadn't had much of a problem finding my way round in the dark. Stephen has always claimed that there's a sort of "window" in childhood where you learn to see - - and since, at the time, I was very short-sighted and nobody knew, he thinks I missed my window rather.

I can see better than most people in very low light, I know, once I'm used to it. What I'm not good at is seeing in very bright light - I am easily dazzled. So I wear sunglasses, obviously? - - Well, no, I don't. I have never owned any. Why not? Good question. Well, I've always hated those clip-on ones that fit over your glasses, and I've never liked glasses that go dark automatically and give you no choice. To me, sunshine is such a rare thing that I like to marvel at its brightness, even if that does mean squinting.

So I could see just a tiny bit, and could find my way around with ease. Didn't even trip over the cats.

Finally, having worked out that yes, this DARK extended to every room in the house - no, really?!! - I decided to go back to bed, since sleeping seemed to be a way of making good use of it.

But, of course, I couldn't sleep. What if nobody but me in the whole world knew about the power cut and it never got mended? What about my mother next door? If I went over to check, would it wake her up? Or would it make her jump out of her skin?

Finally I decided to hope that Mum would be asleep. (This morning it turned out that she wasn't: but she was coping perfectly well, amassing a whole array of candles and returning to Wartime Spirit).

So I lay there, in the dark, waiting for it not to be dark any more. And after about an hour, there was a beep and the phone came back on. Hurrah!

Things are a bit strange at the moment and have been all winter. I feel I've been in the dark of worry for some considerable time. Roll on the light of Spring.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Pity you can't move south as our spring is here already. Mind you, in our neck of the woods, powercuts are quite common. Comes from having overhead cables bringing our supply over several fields from the NatGrid.

11:30 pm  
Anonymous Ruth said...

It's a sign of our climate and your previous limited travelling-to-sunny-places that you have prescription goggles for swimming but no prescription sunglasses.

9:15 am  
Blogger rhymeswithplague said...

It's nice to learn that of goblins and ghosties and wee-headed beasties and things that go bump in the night, you are definitely not one of the latter. :D

2:30 pm  
Blogger rhymeswithplague said...

I think it's long-legged beasties, not wee-headed beasties. Sorry.

My verification word is exema, which isn't eczema exactly, but close.

10:39 pm  

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