Candle-lit Dinner

Doesn’t that sound romantic?

Sadly, it’s not how it seems. Yesterday morning our electrics blew up and made the house smell incredible. Incredibly bad that is, eurgh. I think the word “acrid” was invented for smells like this. Anyway we didn’t realise quite how bad it was in the morning, and still used the kettle a couple of times, and then I had a light on in the evening, until that started flickering on and off. Sooo we turned all the electricity off completely and waited in the dark for the electricity board engineer. You see, it’s the part between the supply box and our meter which blew, and is thus the responsibility of the electricity board to fix. Fortunately, as it means there is a free 24 hour emergency service and they’ll come and fix it for you.

You should see the part that broke, it’s properly completely majorly totally MELTED into a black, cratery lump. And could have started a fire, but thankfully didn’t.

Thank goodness for gas cookers though, as I was able to cook sausage and mash with beans (and gravy!) by candle light all on the hob. It was an experience. We’ve had quite a lot of experiences so far in this house and it’s really teaching me to be prepared for stuff.

Take the candles, for example. The only torch I have accessible (my hefty one is in some box somewhere) is my little ladybird windup torch that lives in my bag. So I had that, and Andy had a small one from the car. The candles are from a box of outdoor candles that we were given as a wedding gift and were packed in the very back, bottom box in the spare bedroom underneath 15 other boxes and four bags of yarn. I managed to get them though and I’m so glad. But now, we have bought a lantern that you can wind up, or put batteries in, or charge from the mains. We’re working on an “Emergencies Cupboard” and this will contain lanterns, candles, matches, first aid kit (something I had to buy last week after Andy cut himself while demolishing stuff in the living room) etc.

Do any of you have an “Emergencies Cupboard”? I know my parents do, I distinctly remember the one we had in our first house way back when I was little, it was in an old one of those 2 litre ice cream tubs and had a drawing of a candle on it (drawn by my mum) in one of those silver craft pens. We couldn’t afford cupboards back then. I had a margerine tub for a lunchbox and on more than one occasion ended up at school WITH the margerine, instead of my lunch. True story.

Anyway, what do you keep in your emergency cupboard? Do you keep a torch upstairs and downstairs in a place where you can find it easily? Did you know that the part of the electricity supply the other side of your meter is the responsibility of the electricity board? Well, I didn’t know that and it really makes me appreciate just how paranoid Andy is about stuff – but in a Highly Useful Way. He IS Mr Emergency. He always knows who you should call!

Three cheers for you Andy, well done :-) and thank you for buying me the ladybird torch, it is really useful. Also useful at work for un-jamming the photocopier.

Oh and in answer to my own blog post from Saturday, NO I didn’t get my cushion cover finished. Not close. I had to frog the second side of it twice and still haven’t finished it. I’m coming down with a cold and feel reeeeeally grotty and miserable so didn’t make it to knitting tonight either, bah. I hate colds!

Anyway, somewhat random blog post tonight but I suppose it documents the house process a bit. and highlights the fact that you should keep torches and lanterns in accessible places, know the phone number of the electricity board and remember to check your utilities supply now and again to make sure it’s not damaged.

Because by gaw you’ll miss your electricity when it’s gone!


p.s on a separate electricity note, we have to have the consumer unit replaced (along with having extractor fans installed in the kitchen and bathroom) to the tune of £700. I like electricity but it seems to be all I think about right now! Go away, electricity filled mind and fill up with yarny thoughts again instead. thank you.

19 thoughts on “Candle-lit Dinner

  1. Hi Heather,

    Wow, that certainly was an experience for you both. Glad you managed to cope through it okay. I have candles everywhere so that’s not a problem and we’ve got a torch and emergency kit (plus fire extinguisers and blankets) in the kitchen pantry (DH is a “bit” of a safety nerd :-)).


  2. The same thing happened to us earlier this year, not long after we’d moved into our damp-in-need-of-tanking built-into-a-hill Victorian house (sounding familiar? :) ). The bit where the electricity comes into our house melted into a giant lump that had to be chiselled apart and boy, did it stink.

    After weeks of worsening light flickering, it started smoking at about midnight one night and we had to fight sleep waiting until about 4am for the electricity board to arrive to fix it. I’m just very very glad it was on that side of the supply — imagine how much it would cost at that time of night if it had happened on a bit we had responsibility for!

    Also, just a note, we’ve investigated having our consumer unit replaced too – I can’t remember exactly, and we didn’t need the fans like you do, but I’m pretty sure we were quoted closer to £300-400, not £700.

  3. Ooh scary. Just be careful with outdoor candles – sometimes they can have harmful fumes that build up inside. May not be safe to have them lit inside for too long. Anyway, this experience will probably rate amongst your most memorable in your current house – one to tell the grandchildren! We have a first aid kit, fire extinguisher, fire blanket, candles, torches and I know where they all are but I think we may have run out of matches! My husband keeps his giant maglite torch under the bed, just in case of burglars!! Glad you managed to have a romantic dinner a deux.

  4. Jeannette..aka Bonzogirl... says:

    yeap..every september i make sure supply of torches torch batteries candles firelighters hot waterbottles matches and emergency calor gas camping stove and fuel available..oh yes and appropriate batteries for radio(double function radio) sounds make you feel so much more in touch with the world
    the year before last we were cut off for 4 days..the calor gas camping stove was ace..for risottos..the open fire foe toasting….calor gas stove for soups and hot water..however we did concede and go to the swimming baths for a good hot shower as well as a swim!!!
    oh yes dry kindling and supply of seasoned logs ..they burn better..
    good friends and a bottle of something nice doesnt come amiss either!!!

  5. Sarah says:

    Oh yes know all about electricity emergencies. Two days before Christmas (quite a few years ago now) I had just had a shower and on coming out of the bathroom on to the landing I smelt burning. On further investigation found it was coming from the airing cupboard. flames no less!! Managed to put them out called out Emergency Man and it cost us a considerable amount.
    Have cupboard in kitchen with stuff in the event of blackouts etc. Have always had a gas cooker. Provides some heat and you can have a hot meal. We had to have an extractor fan when we had some work on the bathroom earlier this year. The builder said it was regulations.
    You could get some fairy lights that use batteries just right for Christmas!!!!! x

  6. I think it’s a good thing you’re documenting all this because in the future, when you’re sat in your home with perfect electricity, with no black stains on the carpet you will look back at these posts and laugh. I’m pretty sure you will anyway!

    I don’t know if it counts as an emergency tin but there are a whole bunch of candles in a drawer downstairs.

  7. I\’ve been trying to set up an emergencies cupboard for a while and the recent earthquake down in Christchurch has reminded me I better get onto it! This is another good, timely reminder. Hope you can get the electricity problems sorted out…maybe you could try befriending some electricians so you can get it done cheaper?!

  8. Buying your first house is definitely an experience.

    It is a bugger when you’re without electricity – I remember when all the electrics blew on my entire street (streetlights and everything), it was completely pitch black and actually rather scary. I’ve never experienced such darkness before. Luckily I did have an ’emergency box’ with candles, matches and stuff, but first I had to walk home, find my house and actually get in the front door!

    I very nearly bought a dingy to use in an emergency, when we lived in York and experienced terrible flooding – I was very close to moving all the furniture upstairs – luckily things didn’t come to that.

    We do take lighting, heating and a cooker for granted though don’t we? And, don’t really appreciate it until it’s no longer available at the flick of a switch.

    I hope the Electricity Board get it all sorted out ASAP.
    Jill x

  9. Ah I remember those days of rinsing out old ice cream and Vitalite tubs to be used for storage – wouldn\’t dream of it these days! We don\’t have anything like and emergency cupboard but I\’m starting to think we should…

  10. ouch that’s expensive!!
    Can’t believe it blew, you’ve barely moved in! thank goodness for those candles! living in a flat we haven’t found the need for an emergency cupboard, but i will definitely have one when i have a house! that and plenty of food supplies *just in case*!!
    the story of your lunch box made me laugh!!

  11. Debdor says:

    So glad that it all worked out in the end for you, but gosh what if it hadn’t. I love watching all those DIY programmes, including the Sarah Beeney one that has just finished about houses with BIG problems, and I cant help but wonder if there should be some kind of law about the upkeep of houses, for the tenants and future tenants sake. It seems to me that people can sell houses that have had no maintenance done on them for years, and it is the new tenant that has to pay for it in blood sweat tears and cash. And it is not always reflected in the price you pay for the house either. Anyway, you seem to be coping very well, you have picked a good partner by the sound of it!

  12. penelope dubois says:

    Wow! I live in an apt. now but still have access to flashlights, oil for my latern, matches.
    Can be scary with electric! You keep those yarny thoughts!

  13. Sally says:

    Ahh bless you Heather. You are not having much luck lately. It all seems a real pain at the moment, but you will probably have a giggle about it in years to come!
    Sally x x.

  14. Mia Self says:

    Came here from your Flickr site… struck a chord! I remember my husband mistaking the 4 pound margarine tub for his sandwiches on his commute to London. He opened the box and said to his colleagues “Do your wives give you bread with your marge?”!! We were without electricity for days after the 1987 storm. It became a bit of a game with small children. The only thing I really missed was the washing machine.

  15. Isn’t it funny how we take for granted those things which we miss horribly when they’re gone?? I have candles all over, a flashlight on my headboard of my bed and in the living room, hurricane lanterns in the spare room. I don’t have an emergency ‘cupboard’ but I do keep the power company bill with the phone number to call underneath the phone that doesn’t require electric to operate. Inevitably the power goes out at least twice a winter season. :o(

  16. I always have candles around the house that I have lit for the pretty smell, so if the power goes out I am ok. I have a gas cook top with electric oven, so we can still eat, plenty of blankets to keep warm.
    :) Sandi xx

  17. Donna Radu says:

    Hi, Heather! I’ve been enjoying your blog for some time. The pictures are wonderful, and the mood is so cozy! I wanted to tell you I followed your directions for all three squares you’ve posted. Just finished my first circle-in-the-square today and enjoyed it so much! It certainly came out looking like your pictures, so I guess you are quite fabulous at writing crochet patterns! (If you ever have any more square ideas, please post them! I make squares for Knit-a-Square charity knitting and always love inspiration!)

    Thanks so much!

    Donna from Philadelphia

  18. Glad you got it all sorted out and yes, we do have emergency stuff always. A gas ring to cook on and lots of candles around the house anyhow and torches in several places….believe it or not I also keep a small ’emergency overnight bag’ with the essentials necessary for a short stay in hospital….you see my DH would never find anything of mine or have any notion what was necessary so the bag sits there with nightdress, light dressing gown, spare washbag with it’s contents, tissues, hairbrush, comb, shampoo and showergel (holiday minitures). It’s not been necessary to use it but it is there…would now need to make one for DH as well!!

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