Let me start by saying I hope you’ve all had the most fabulous Christmas possible.
As for mine, well, let’s just say it’s been an experience!
I knew it was going to be different. For the first time ever, I would be spending the holiday season on my own. And putting a positive slant on things, I ignored the feelings of dread and told myself that this was a new experience. This would be something I could possibly draw upon work wise and being a writer, new experiences are a good thing, right?
Whilst I was coping with the prospect of a somewhat isolated Christmas, what I hadn’t banked on was coping alone in a storm. A storm that at 1.30am on Christmas Eve morning cut the power not just to my own house but apparently 220,000 other houses. Yep, you got it. On Christmas Eve I and many others here in France had absolutely no electricity, which naturally meant no lights, no cooker, no kettle, no heating, no phone… need I go on?
Trying to remain positive, I sat here in a pair of fleecy jim jams, a fleecy onsie, a dressing gown, thick pair of socks and cosy slippers waiting for the power to come back on. I mean how long could repairing whatever damage had been done take? Then I waited and I waited and I waited. Until 5.30 in the evening, in fact, when I had no choice but to dig out a couple of candles, top up the marmite sandwich I’d eaten earlier with another marmite sandwich and ditto with the numerous glasses of water. Honestly, it was like being in a Charles Dickens novel.
Then come 9.30pm I realised I had no choice but to go to bed, insisting things would be fine after a good night’s sleep. I mean, surely we had to have our electricity back come Christmas morning?
It was still dark when I got up and sadly it continued to remain that way. Yep, again you got it. I still didn’t have power.
My other half, bless him, continued doing his bit from the UK. Contacting the electricity company for updates, trying to source a much needed cup of coffee. After all, by now my mobile was fast running out of power and about to render me completely incommunicado. That’s when I saw the most welcome light I have ever seen – a torch, fast approaching the kitchen door. It would seem Robert’s hard work had paid off and he’d been in touch with a lady I’d only met once, yes once, since being here, who’d immediately sent her husband round with a flask of coffee and an invite to go to their house. Naturally, despite my Christmas day being spoiled I wasn’t about to impose on their’s, but as for the hot drink, I don’t think I’ve ever been as grateful for anything in my life.
An hour later and the coffee had gone.
Anyways, daylight finally came. Not that the same could be said about the electricity and in an attempt to keep myself moving, thus preventing hyperthermia, I got on with a spot of decorating. I’d started painting the kitchen in the run up to Christmas so why not use the time to finish it off? But maintaining the Christmas or should that be ‘Dunkirk’ spirit was easier said than done and a couple of hours later I was back sat on the sofa staring out of the window, feeling very sorry for myself indeed. I had hoped the little Robin that landed on a tree branch had come to cheer me up. Unfortunately, the little blighter proceeded to lift its tail and poop in front of my very eyes. Still, this action did spur me on to pick the paintbrush back up…
Darkness was almost upon me again when the power finally came back on – a whole 39 1/2 hours after it had first gone off! Although I still couldn’t Skype the family or use the landline as that would take another 17 hours to get repaired. In the meantime though, at least I could get myself warm and fill my belly with all the food now defrosted in the freezer.
Here’s to a Happy New Year, everyone x