event I was attending was in a church now used for public meetings sometimes and all evening the wind roared above the vaulted roof. I hoped my roof would still be there when I got home.
When I came out the wind threw itself at me and bundled me down the steps. I battled along the street to the carpark, the breath pummelled out of my chest, and fell into the car. It was quiet and still with the door shut, disturbed only by an occasional rocking as the wind buffetted the side of the car.
I drove home through the whirling dark and was nearly at the bottom of our hill when I rounded a bend to find blue lights flashing. A big tree had been brought down right across the road and the police were turning people back. I rang Ian to explain and was told that he was just arriving home and that we had no power.
Much later after a long detour I drove slowly down our drive, the headlights cutting through pitch blackness. From our house you look out across the valley and you can see five tiny houses scattered along the other side, one directly opposite and the others tucked into the curves of the hillside or in sheltering belts of trees. You only notice that there are spots of light from these far neighbours at night when the light disappears: last night there was nothing to be seen against the unseen black hill, just blackness heaving up against the lesser blackness of the sky.
From outside a window was glowing with light. Inside it was too dark to do much.
When you use candles for atmosphere with other light you forget how small the pool of light is that surrounds them. When candles are the only light it is deeply gloomy. This isn't enough light to read by or to work by, only enough to sit and talk by. Turn away from the candles and the room is dark. Even the stove only glows a dim red.
You can see why people years ago would go to bed early in winter. In order to make enough light to work by you would need numerous candles, expensive things to the farmers who would have lived here. I wondered, sitting in the gloom, how many you would need to produce enough to read by and what kind of income you would have needed a couple of hundred years ago to have any chance of affording a well lit house. There was nothing to do but have a couple of glasses of wine and go to bed with a tiny nightlight in a lantern. No blogs, no internet, no television.
I would admit to being relieved when the power came back to life in the morning.
It does look beautiful though doesn't it?