I ARRIVE home from work and the house is lit up like the Titanic. Upstairs music thumps as Eldest Child’s band play on. Middle Child is sniggering at something on a laptop while simultaneously drumming and Youngest is drying her hair and tableting. I whack on the oven, throw something delicious inside (OK, potatoes) and decide to iron while the food cooks.
I plug it in, flip the switch and… darkness. All over the house the lights go out, screens flicker and die, the guitars and drums stutter to a halt. Silence. It’s bliss.
The only sound is me dragging a chair up the hall to the fuse box. As I balance, a tableau from my childhood appears. It’s the 1970s, the three-day week, and my parents, brother and I sit round a candlelit table playing cards because there’s no telly. There are strikes, shortages and rubbish rotting in the streets.
We’re blethering and laughing (Well, my grandad was a miner and headlines predicting the breakdown of civilisation elicited snorts from a dad who went through Dunkirk, El Alamein and Monte Cassino with the Black Watch and a mother who talked fondly of Mickey Mouse gas masks). Aw, happy days.
“What’re you doing?”
Middle Child has padded up behind me.
“Thinking we could light candles, play cards, talk, laugh…”
“Hmmm. Maybe tomorrow?”
OK, but I’d better give the ironing a miss. There’s time for a power nap before tea.