Watching nature take its course, from the top of a hill in northern England

Power to the People


I was hunched over the key board last week, in mid rant, bashing out a stroppy email when with a clickphut sort of sound, followed by silence, off went the PC and the electricity. This was mid afternoon and whatever cunning plan the engineers had, to reconnect us to the national grid it was obviously thwarted, when at dusk from across the fields the boys heard a sound like the crack of gun fire accompanied by  a mighty blue flash of light (electric blue presumably) that lit up sky.

It looked like it was going to be a while longer before normal service would be resumed. So we fired up the Tilley lamp, there is something very comforting about the hiss of a Tilley*

Tilley lamp 

The power came back on at 4am when Mr Uhdd nobly got out of bed and went round the house turning off all the things we had left switched on. However the repair was a temporary affair and at 8am the next morning, a low-loader arrived in the lane carrying a couple of hunky chunky diesel  generators that were to keep our hamlet powered up for the next 36 hours while the fault was traced and fixed.

Power to the people

It’s not fashionable, but we have to sing the praises of United Utilities, they told what they were doing and to the best of their ability when that would be, they dug like dervishes to get at the underground fault, so that the lane was closed to traffic for the minimum time possible (that and of course the fact they then wouldn’t have to work through Saturday night, might have proved an incentive.)

Water and electricity

And having backfilled the trench, the top soil has been neatly raked and grass seed sown, jobs a good un.

* It was our wedding anniversary last week and this was as close as I got to a candle lit dinner.


Author: uphilldowndale

Watching the rhythm of rural life, from the top of a hill in northern England. Having spent most of my life avoiding writing, I now need to do it! I am no domestic goddess, but if I were expecting visitors to my home, I would whisk round with the duster and plump up the cushions and generally make the place look presentable. I hope that by putting my words where others may see them it will encourage me to ‘tidy up and push the Hoover around’ my writing. On the other hand I may just be adding to the compost heap. Only time will tell! Pull up a chair, sit yourself down, I’ll put the kettle on.

6 thoughts on “Power to the People

  1. We ought to make a list of useful things that are reliable. The Tilley lamp. The Zippo lighter. Belated Happy Anniversary–many more to come.

  2. Hope you had a good anniversary, even without the candles!
    The power companies can do a wonderful job at times. When the 1987 hurricane hit Dorset in the early hours it brought down the electric and telephone cables. First we knew of it was when our four week old baby woke screaming – wet right through and needing a feed. No light until we got the oil lamp going – candles were no good upstairs as the wind had blown out several panes of the ancient leaded windows. We were flagged as priority as we had a small baby – by whom we do not know – and the power was restored later that morning, followed by a visit from the power company chaps to check we were okay – the phone lines took longer, not being priority.
    Our lane was blocked just by the house, on both sides, by large old oaks – my husband was able to get out to report damage as we had a mini traveller which went under the trunk of one tree! Both trees were sawn up and removed fairly quickly by local farmers so the milk lorry could get through.

  3. My Mum’s has only been on mains for about 6 years! As kids, we all had our own oil lamps (Kelly lamps) which we had to look after. We used hurricane lamps in the byre, or if someone was feeling brave ..the Tilley. My older brother acquired a ‘Bardic’ lamp from somewhere, it’s still on the go.

    Hope you get your power back soon!

  4. Ive got some original mining lamps, Davy Lamps that still work.
    The utility guys seem to have done well here Uphill.
    Good picture of the repair.

  5. These are all such wonderful stories! Such a little thing opened up a rich treasure trove of memory.

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