Monday, January 26, 2009

Ourages,Vents et Lumières des Etoiles

Ourages,Vents et Lumières des Etoiles

I’m pleased to announce that after 28 hours we are connected to the national grid again.

The storms that swept across, from the Atlantic to the Med rampaged over us on Friday night. As strong winds are virtually unheard of here (one of the primary attractions to us when house-hunting) the sound of a gale howling down the village street late on Friday evening was a rare event.

Thank goodness our wooden shutters were firmly closed, due to The Captain’s near-obsession with ‘closing up for the night’. It’s the one thing about life in France ‘profond’ that I haven’t whole-heartedly embraced. I don’t suffer from claustrophobia, but I just hate being shut in at night. Maybe I’m simply nosey but I like to be able to see ‘what’s occurin’ as Nesta says in that delightful tv sitcom, Gavin and Stacey. On Friday though, it was a good job we were well shut up, otherwise our banging shutters would have kept us, and our neighbours awake all night.

When I got up on Saturday morning it was blowing a hooley, but we had power. Until I switched on the kettle, that was. Off it went and was to stay off until Sunday afternoon.

We were lucky; we don’t rely entirely on electricity. We’ve a wood burner in the sitting room, and I cook on a bottled gas stove, so during the daylight we were doing okay.

For me, it was quite a welcome relief to be missing the usual Saturday sports schedules that clutter up the tv stations, and as for Saturday evening tv entertainment, well the less said about that the better.

As the daylight faded I was curled up in a chair with two rarely used items, a pencil and writing pad, plotting out a few characters to populate a fictitious village I’m planning for my present work-in-progress. The imagination seems to work so much better by candlelight. It was a productive evening, and we had a cosy evening meal which, had we been a lot younger might have the precursor of a night of romance. As it was The Captain, who has a low boredom threshold, sighed deeply at about 9.30. and suggested I look out the hot water bottle, used only for airing a guest bed in the past.

We’ve never used one in the 40- odd years we’ve been together, so this took some preparation, especially as I was having to boil water on the gas hob.
When I eventually got to the bedroom I decided to have a peek out of the window…the gale had blown itself out hours before….and I was intrigued to see what the village looked like without a single light. The main street is normally lit for about a quarter of a mile by rather attractive ‘old-style’ lantern lights, one of which is attached to the front of our house. The Captain actually leaves the shutters on the landing window open so the light illuminates the landing a bit. It sheds quite a nice mellow light onto the wooden floor, and saves us having to leave a light on when we have visitors. But now it was completely dark.

When I looked out of the bedroom window the sky was amazing. Although we live in a very rural village, it’s almost impossible to look at the night sky without some light pollution, but there was no artificial light anywhere, not even on the horizon. The stars were like sharp, blue diamonds and there just seemed to be trillions of them. I’m a bit of a numpty when it comes to the constellations, but I do know what some of the major ones look like, and Orion’s Belt was the clearest I’ve seen it for years. It made me realize just what we miss in the rush and bustle of our lives. For all our technology, nature has by far the most miraculous thing to show us. You can keep the Ex Facture, Strictly Come Dancing, Match of the Day (groan!), they’ve nothing on The Sky at Night, and you don’t need a tv license to watch that.

I'm expecting our local sage- femme or midwife to have a full appointments book at the end of October/beginning of November.The village hasn't been in bed so early since the days of oil lamps. She wan't have me om her list. Age does have it's compensations!

1 comment:

The Weaver of Grass said...

Beautiful night sky.
I saw about your storm in a weather report - it seems to have swept through between France and Spain. Hope you are fully functional again now. We often get power cuts here and are well-equipped with candles and oil lamps - there is something gentle about the light they give off - until you want to read!