Christmas Eve, 11.30 p.m. and we're preparing for bed when there's a flash and all the lights go out. Clare and I sit in the living room, faces bathed in residual candlelight and try to absorb it. Has the main fuse gone?
I walk to the window and pull the blinds aside: an icy vista lit by moonlight. OK, it's everyone then. In the distance, I hear the sound of house alarms. Then I realise, my mother is up in her room: 87 years old, in a strange house, in complete darkness. I race to the kitchen and in the gloom retrieve the torch. Now more surefootedly I go up the stairs and knock on her door and enter. She is trying to escape and is in the process of exiting via the wardrobe.
Alex rushes around trying to find further illumination; he unearths a camping light and we all go to bed.
At 12.30 a.m. I am awaked by the interrogator's glare in the face. Groggily I figure it; the power has been restored and we left the bedroom light on. I hear Alex returning from downstairs where he has switched off other lights. I go down myself to check all is well, not fogetting the cat who now has his heated cat-basket restored to use: it's chilly out there.
This morning, Christmas Day, it's bright and clear. Here's a beautiful picture of the sun rising over Wells Cathedral.