Power Cuts and Things That Go ´Bump´in The Night
Things That Go ´Bump´in The Night
A cold, dark night in Winter, no moon, no stars, black sky.
My husband away on business overnight so l spoil myself ,chocolates of course, favourite book etc., l curl up in my sexiest long-sleeved, high necked, winceyette full nightdress, big fluffy dressing gown. I was, cosy till about midnight., or so l thought.
Isn't it amazing how time flies when you are enjoying a good book?.
The last thing l remember before the electricity disappeared was the clock telling me it was almost 3.0.´clock a.m. Then------ Click!!! Lights out. l peered out of the window to see all the street lights had also gone out. Very gloomy. No sign of light as far as l could see.
Oh! Well, 3.0.a.m. time l was in bed anyway, so in l go to my bedroom feeling slight pangs of my childhood fear of the dark.. ¨Why tonight?¨ l thought ¨When l´m alone?. Why a power cut tonight of all nights?. Is someone out to get me?¨(Don´t be paranoid , dear. Everyone else is in the dark too, but most people won´t notice it because normal people are usually asleep by 3.0.a.m.
Sometimes l love to have a King-size bed all to myself, if l´m really tired. This was NOT one of those times. The Victorian head to toe warm nightdress didn´t make up for cuddling up to my husband on a night like this. Cold, dark and alone........
l toss and turn for a while ... then l hear...? Oh! No CRASH!, Please no......l am such a wimp alone in the dark too frightened to creep around and get a flashlight... That wasn´t someone smashing a window to get in , was it? The crash was followed by a bumping noise that l cannot properly describe, but l swear it was followed by footsteps.
Lump in my throat, l´m thinking KNIFE, large, butchering knife my husband uses. l normally don´t go near it. No. Not the knife. Feeble-boned arms that l have, the intruder would easily turn the knife against me. Oh! l wish l had a gun......(Yeh, right, Dim, that´s a really good idea. It´s pitch black, girl, do you think a burglar will be wearing a white suit or fluorescent jacket so as to make himself an easier target for you?¨¨ Anyway l don´t have a gun.
It´s quiet now l take deep breaths. l think of the layout of my apartment. It would be highly unlikely that a window in my 1st floor apartment would have been hit. Much more likely to be the main door downstairs.
l should mention here, that rather than a modern block, l live in what was once a beautiful manor house, that has been converted into only 4 apartments. This means that the rooms are quite large and the main house still has the very wide staircase up to my place. (no-one lives in the other apartment upstairs) Ground floor is occupied by one lady over 80years of age, living alone and one gentleman over 90 also living alone.
From where they live on the ground floor there is another staircase going down to what was once the servants quarters and a huge kitchen. It is one enormous basement now,. It still has a row of bells high on one wall , where one would ring from the Drawing Room or the Dining Room, or Madame's bedroom etc., The appropriate servant would know which room was needing him or her in the old days.....I love it.!, but the sounds of a creaking old house are not the same as the sound of glass smashing, or of bumping against walls, or footsteps...!
I held my breath, grabbed a pillow(wonderful weapon) ,hurried to my front door and sat close to it. Hugging my pillow, l felt safe because l could hear through the door if anyone walked up the 2nd flight of stairs the 3rd step would creak, l sat listening and thinking about the elderly man over 90, who has social services call to take care of his needs, twice a day. Hmph! They don´t come at 3.0.a.m. AND they have a key. Get real, Dim !. No there was something much more sinister going on, l was sure of it. Why oh why do all the street lights and all the building lights have to vanish now at this moment. ?? Why doesn´t the power come back on??
My imagination runs riot ...... Maybe somone has been ¨casing the joint´. They know my burly husband is away which means there are just 3 old foggies alone in their beds , or in my case on the floor hugging a pillow behind the door.
My heart is thumping so fast and feels like it is rising so high, that l fear l may vomit it out.....!
l continue with deep breathing and PRAY. There are no atheists on the battlefield, my dad used to say. Everyone suddenly believes in God when they are as scared as l am right now.
The next thing l remember is the sound of the ´Dawn Chorus´of litle birds as daybreak is slowly creeping up on the ´me´who is in an uncomfortable heap on the floor , still clutching my pillow. Every part of my body screams at me as l try to stand up and walk over to the window at the front of the house. Yes l can see the usual 6.0.a.m. van that always arrives at the fruit and vegetable shop opposite our house. Bang on time.
l try the coffee machine. Yippee it´s working . Power back. Phew! l was not slain in my sleep........
Still curious about my ¨bump in the night´ l climb out of my sexy tent, that l´ve been wearing and head for the shower.
Two cups of coffee and l feel human enough to go out of my place to see if l can discover what went on during the night.
l walk down the beautiful wide , carpetted staircase and along the hallway to the glass doors. They are still intact. .?! l open them and see the strong front door is fine. Hmph! l know l did not dream or imagine the noise in the night..
As l turn to walk back to the staircase, Mrs Bee comes out ofher apartment..¨Good morning¨
¨Good morning¨ l reply.
Sheepishly she looks at me and asks. ¨Do you think that arrangement looks ok?
The old lady was pointing at the hallway table that usually had an antique crystal bowl on top of it. It had been replaced by a very pretty vase filled with fresh flowers from our communal garden.
Ït´s lovely to see fresh flowers, yes l think it looks lovely, but what happened to the crystal bowl?¨
¨Well, dear, l was at a friends house last night, six of us having a jolly time singing old songs and drinking wine. About midnight the power went off, l hear it later went off in quite a few places , including here, but you´ll have been asleep through that time. Anyway, we thought it would be good fun to carry on by candelight. We´re not getting any younger you know, l´m 83, (poor woman tells me her age every time we speak) so we continued laughing and singing and enjoying our wine.
l must admit the last few drinks l had tasted different and l´ve just had a phone call from one of my friends asking why l drank half a bottle of vintage port, when l normally don´t like port .My eyesight is not what it was, you see and just candlelight, she didn´t mind but thought it unusual.
It seems my friend drove me home and our lights were out here too. It must have been about 3.0a.m. and so dreadfully dark l fell into the hall table and heard an almighty crash, but l was too tired to take any notice. l had a difficult enough job getting my keys out, dropped my handbag in the dark too and crashed through my own front door like someone who is tipsy.¨
l was trying so hard not to laugh. It wasn´t easy.
¨Well l came out and cleared it all away earlier on and thought that vase with flowers may look nice, All that bending, clearing up has given me a headache.¨¨
¨Ha Ha Mrs Bee... you really think the bending , not the port.? Anyway the table looks fine. ¨¨
¨¨But the crystal bowl, dear, l can´t replace that.¨¨
¨l shouldn´t give it another thought, Mrs Bee. l still haven´t met our landlord, he lets us get on with taking care of his house and garden and doesn´t bother to call around does he? Just takes the rent from our bank account each month.¨
Oh! yes He´s always been the same, l´ve hardly ever seen him and l´ve been here 20 years. l´m 83 , you know.¨
¨Yes l know and you look very well for it normally, but for today maybe you should go in and rest since you had á´late night´ You needn´t worry about the bowl. It´s a shame, but accidents happen, at least you didn´t cut yourself. When we moved in, Mr.Richardson, told my husband that the family had taken everything they wanted from the house before they began converting it into apartments. He said we were welcome to any bits and pieces we found in the basement.. He won´t be looking for the crystal bowl and just look at our shared garden!! We can put fresh flowers in the hall every day if you like.?¨
Öh ! You´ve made me feel a lot better, thank you¨¨
¨¨Hope your head gets better¨¨ l whispered as l passed her to walk up my favourite staircase, creaking on the 3rd step of the 2nd set of stairs........