This time last week storm Ophelia blew our electricity and thus our internet away, which basically meant that to all intents and purposes, to us the whole world wide web had disappeared in a puff. Obviously it was still there but because we couldn’t access it, it may as well not have existed at all.
So then after a few agonising moments of not being able to check what the storm was doing to the rest of Ireland via Twitter or Facebook I quickly moved on to worrying about the world inside these four walls and started hunting for candles and sending hubby to dig out a camping cooker so that we could have a hot dinner.
A strange day:
The night before the storm was eerily quiet, I woke up several times, listening and waiting for the inevitable onslaught, visualising this great force of wind blasting at 160kms an hour across the ocean towards us. I wondered whether this is what people on death row feel like.
The day dawned and we warily watched the gently swaying trees that surround our garden, wondering whether any of them would be lost in the course of the day and whether our house would fall victim to one of them. The storm was expected to reach it’s full ferocity around 1:30pm. Because we had been warned not to send the kids to school that day, we were all at home. My husband went in to work briefly and came back when he was the only one who had made an appearance at the office.
As the day wore on, the wind started to pick up. I strangely decided to stick to my Monday morning house cleaning routine as well as write a thousand words on my book (feeling the mental pressure of the ChapterBuzz Challenge here, here and here). The kids played with one thing after the next without packing things away while hubby relaxed on the couch with his phone.
I started to feel a little bit jittery as things were getting stranger. I saw a bird flying upside down backwards across the garden. My hubby offered to vacuum upstairs. Then the power went and I said ‘typical’! The kids hollered what about the internet?
By the early afternoon, as the wind shrieked at fever pitch outside, and the inside of my house looked as if Ophelia had been here first.
So then the girls went out to the garden to try and fly a kite, with daddy calling to them to to stay away from the big trees just in case they come crashing down on top of them, while I took videos of them on my phone through the window…
Stupidly (or optimistically depending on your angle) I had planned pizza for supper. It’s not easy to cook pizza without an oven. Not to be overcome by my lack of foresight, my clever husband poured me a glass of wine and then offered to cook the pizza. He plucked a frying pan off the hook and tenderly nursed the pizzas one after the other over the single ring camping gas cooker. It wasn’t half bad – rather it was half good, ie the bottom half was nice but I didn’t complain as the glass of wine had magically transformed me into a nicer person.
We were all in bed by 9pm because it was dark and we were worn out by chatting to one another.
The next morning I had to dig our way out of the front door through the wall of fallen leaves and our lawn was textured like a 1970’s carpet of brown, green and gold. During the next few days I popped over to one of my generous friends a couple of times just to continue being able to ‘work from home’. She had electricity so therefore also hot showers, washing machine and internet (jeals) .
Our electricity was returned to us three nights later, by then the novelty of candle lit board games had worn off. At one point I noticed fruit flies coming out of our fridge and knew it was time to throw away what was left inside it. I tried to pretend that it was like camping, only on nicer beds, but when the water started to run out too it wasn’t fun anymore.
There was a moment on Friday when a little cavalcade of yellow Electricity Supply Board vehicles trundled into our small village to restore the last few homes to their former pre-storm state. I was so excited I wished I had little flags to wave for our home coming heroes. Our water came back that evening too.
As it turned out none of our trees were lost but hundreds of thousands of homes were without power due to trees falling on lines. Teams of men had to be brought in from England and France to help fix all the broken wires which took up to a week of work.
It did make me think:
Suddenly the entire invisible world of blogging and social media had become meaningless and futile. The day to day nitty gritty of finding enough water to wash the dishes, basic clothing and possibly ourselves as well as getting just enough food to store without having to use a fridge took up most of my leisure time and energy. In the evenings all I was good for was sitting on the couch with my family to chat about the day.
Billions of the people on this earth live like this all the time. It’s a constant struggle for them to keep clean, warm and free from pests. Gathering water to drink can take hours and it may not even be safe to consume. The internet and all it’s insubstantial intrigue holds absolutely no meaning, neither does it contribute any value to their lives. Blogging would be just a mysterious and pointless enterprise (probably true for plenty of bloggers too). If there is any leisure time left after the daily business of survival then people gather to entertain one another with conversation and laughter.
In our Western world we have other burning questions such as: Did teenagers die from boredom before the internet was invented and, what would happen to us if we had no power ever again – how would we eat? I would more than likely not be writing anymore, I think I would be scratching animal shapes onto the walls of our cave.
It is a serious question though! It’s hard to imagine but what if we were to wake up tomorrow morning with no internet, and more seriously, no electricity?
It’s funny how a little hardship helps you re-evaluate what’s important in life:
- I am now extremely grateful for my taps inside, clean water and a power supply.
- Thankfully my blog is not super famous and I’m not in it for the money.
- Maybe I should spend a bit more time growing our own food, just in case.
- My family is ok at storytelling but we fight a lot when we play games. Perhaps we just need a bit more practice?