When the electricity went in England, it was exciting and fun. I was a kid, so it was really cool, sort of like an adventure. It was something to talk about at school the next day. I loved lighting the candles – it felt like something out of “The Little House on The Prairie”, or something. But then, it was extremely rare that the electricity did actually go, and it usually went for a very good reason.
Here it’s a different story altogether. The electricity goes, not regularly, but often enough. Too often. The candles are on standby, as are the matches. We have a back-up battery for the computer so that it doesn’t crash and sometimes we even put the heating on a bit earlier, just in case the power goes (the drawback of gas boilers with electric timer systems).
And it’s not cool. Nor is it fun or exciting. It’s annoying, plain annoying. It’s annoying when you’re online and the internet goes. It’s annoying when you’re trying to read, write or study by flickering candle light and you’re having to strain you’re eyes to see (honestly, I don’t know how they managed in the olden days – especially in England in the winter when the days are so short. No wonder so many people were illiterate then – they never had the light to read!). What’s more, it tends to go for so long that the batteries in the torches and camping lamps run out, not that the batteries are all that good anyway. And it’s super annoying when you’re sitting on the loo and the light goes. That just takes the biscuit.
Although, truth be told, the area we live in now isn’t that bad – the power only goes about a couple of dozen times a year, which is bearable – whereas the area we used to live in when we first came to Algeria was much worse. There, the electricity went with every puff of wind, every drop of rain, the very slightest hint of humidity and a mere glimpse of sunlight. In short, it went constantly. Perhaps the nicest thing about when it did come back was that we could hear all the kids in the block cheering.
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