For a photo-story of the Wendy House, 24hr Power outage, click this picture of my reading a book by candle-power:
The Wendy House was lucky, only 24 hs without electricity and a gas-fire for warmth. The Seattle PI reports that more than 1 million Washingston State residents lost power. The all to frequent sound of siren’s passing the Wendy House re-inforced the risks associated with a suddent lack of traditional power sources. The smell of woodsmoke, prevalent in the air, took on an ominous tone. Did it herald a burning home?
Memories of my childhood:
January 1974, 11yrs old, the UK was suffering from a power crisis. The Conservative government under Prime Minister Edward Heath introduced a ‘3 day week’ to conserve power. At that time the UK’s main source of electrical power was the National Coal industry, electricity from coal. The country was suffering from extreme inflation. To try and curtail inflation the government introduced wage-capping. The Miners were not happy about their wage cap. The Miners union introduced a ‘work to rule’, they only followed the detail of the job description nothing above and beyond. This severely curtailed coal production and reduced the power available to the country. Unable to negotiate a solution with the Coal Miners representative, the Union, the government introduced a 3 day week. Power was only available on 3 consecutive days in a week.
To an 11yr old this is exciting and fun. 4 days a week where the evenings were by candle-light and no hot-water for bathing. As a family we would play cards by candle-light. It was like camping inside home. We wore several layers of woolly jumpers and fingerless gloves indoors. We used a camping gas stove to brew tea and make the occassional hot meal.
After the Heath Conservative government was replaced by Harold Wilson’s Labour government the normal working week returned. Wilson was a working-class boy who excelled in English the educational system. A Yorkshire boy, like Wallace, with a quick wit. The last great intellectual Prime Minister that lead Britain. The last true Labour Prime Minister. With some impressive political thinkers in his cabinet such as Tony Benn and my personal favourites Denis Healey and Micheal Foot.
The exploitation of oil from the North Sea helped Britain to avoid severe economic disaster, and assured that Scotland would not gain independence before its natural resources ran out. That would be approximately…. ….now. Britain is begining to face a renewed energy crisis and despite a thrashing by Thatcher the National Union of Miners is still a voice at the lobbying table. The fancy new Labour party, Blair’s government, is being criticised for its lack of long term planning.
In my ‘retirement’ I want to live in, or below, a Windmill, to be self-sufficient then sell extra power back to the country in an emergent decentralised power system.