As promised by National Powergrid, our electricity was switched off at 9am for scheduled maintenance, apparently 54 households were affected. They were very good at communicating with me via email and text, and I was delighted when it was turned back on at 3.05pm rather than the 4pm that we were expecting. It meant that I needed to be creative and organised as of course it happened on a day when Joshua was at home with me, not a daycare day:
We have instantaneous hot water from a combi boiler, so it needs electricity to power it, with this in mind, I ran a hot water only bath at 8.45 in readiness. In fact I jumped into it as Joshua was still asleep at 9 but he heard me splashing about and came into the bathroom to investigate. I felt rather smug that I could offer him a warm bath, but of course he took it for granted. Usually Joshua has porridge for breakfast but as I was not sure when he needed it , I could not be sure I could warm it up for him, so he had weetabix with banana instead, another cold favourite.
We had a job to do at the shops so once dressed, we went straight out before 10 am and drove to our nearest big town to be four engraved dog tags. Thankfully we were able to park close to Timpsons and we placed our order and he asked us to return after 30 minutes minimum. Joshua tried to drag me into an Italian restaurant that we often frequent but I told him that it was too early for lunch, but I relented and let him drag me into Costa Coffee instead. He ran to the back of the long cafe and chose a comfortable bench seat close to the door to the toilets and kitchen. His choice of position was clearly deliberate, as I had pointed out a table for two close to the counter. I left him seated while I went to order our drinks and a toasted teacake to share. In the end I had one quarter of the teacake, and he ate the majority of it. I saw why he liked this seat as the staff were passing every 2 minutes to go to the kitchen and customers were passing him to go to the toilets, so the thumbs up and ‘Don’t Mess’ opportunities were endless. He was having a high old time and I was in no rush so when he asked for ‘more’ and ‘toast’, I bought myself a pot of tea and he had another teacake as we were there for the duration.
Eventually, after around an hour, I was able to get him to leave Costa – thank you to the staff who never tired of interacting with him and told him that they would try not to mess! We walked through the shops to M&S at the other end of the high street, where he immediately pulled to go into their café, but I put my foot down as we were not on a ‘café crawl’! We bought some bits and pieces in the shop and then of course I relented, and we sat down at the last empty table in the café. I had another pot of tea and I bought Joshua a bag of crisps and a banana, which he ate happily. But then he asked for ‘Cake’ and ‘toast’ again. He had asked so clearly that I bought him his third teacake of the morning and I had a toastie as it was now lunchtime. He ate all of the teacake but was not yet full, asking now for ‘chocolate’! I told him that he could have some at home as we now needed to collect the dog tags as we had been two hours in cafes! They were ready so we drove home, mission accomplished.
When we got home, we still had two hours with no power left and my mobile battery was looking low. Joshua was exhausted as he was full of teacakes and had walked a fair way around the town too, so he asked for ‘music’ on his settee. I removed his boots and explained again that we could not have his music on the hifi like normal, but I produced the clever cushion that my friend had bought for his birthday. He lay his head on the cushion and very helpfully, it played ‘Bittersweet Symphony’ from the Verve and he closed his eyes, content. We have a petrol lawn mower so I cut the grass while he dozed, with the back door open so that I could watch him and he could find me.
Halfway through my lawn, he did come to the back door and he was asking for ‘Giant’ and his bed, so we climbed the stairs and I found ‘The Smartest Giant in Town’ on YouTube on my mobile, hoping that the battery would last long enough for him to nod off. I completed my mowing and when I came indoors again, the lights flashed on and we had power again. My next plan was to take the dogs for a walk for the last hour, but thankfully we did not do that as Joshua had seizures and needed his emergency medication when he woke up.
I felt very pleased with myself for surviving all day , with Joshua, without electricity. We would not have coped much longer, but it was not too traumatic at all and it always a useful reminder not to take these basics like electricity and water too much for granted, as modern life relies largely on having power.