Labs.firepaperSo this morning I forgot we had a power-cut scheduled so the tree fellers, (actually there was only one fellow) from whatever foreign corporation that provides our electricity, could carry out some maintenance work on our overhead power cables. Consequently, the first I was aware of the outage was when the alarms on the UPS (uninterruptible power supply) units in the office started beeping. The UPS worked fine except some muppet (that’ll be me then) had wired them up incorrectly so they were linked to things like label printers but not the modern and wifi router.

OK, let’s have a cup of tea because, fortunately, we have a portable gas stove for emergencies just like this. Except the gas stove hadn’t been used for so long that it had developed a fault. Net result was that when I turned it on, the entire unit burst into flames. At this point my head went into brain-freeze mode and I just stood there yelling “Help” and thinking there’s a gas cylinder in there – it’s going to explode and engulf me in a fireball of flame and shrapnelwith me with nothing but a winceyette dressing gown for protection. (I am SO not a morning person.) At this point Jane (Mrs C) walked into the room, immediately appraised the situation, calmly threw a towel over the burning stove to extinguish the flames, then walked out again to continue feeding the dogs.

Fortunately we were able to locate and borrow Aged Mother-in-Law’s portable stove. And then locate and borrow Aged Mother-in-Law’s stock of spare gas cylinders – we having mysteriously misplaced our own supply. (They were stored away in a place of safety by the same person who wired up the UPS units – that’ll be me again.) Kettle filled. Kettle boils – unfortunately we are both out of the room at the time and turns out the kettle’s whistle doesn’t whistle. Windows opened, kitchen, still smelling of gas fumes, burned plastic (from Stove #1) and now filled with more steam than the average sauna, returns to normal. Kettle refilled. Boils. Tea made. And R-E-L-A-X.

“You know,” says Jane, as we drink the tea, “this is why we should never go on a camping holiday.” Clunk-whirr. We hear the sound of all the units in the house booting up again as power returns.