No, not really. Obviously. Never. It’s just that some of you will remember the post I put in entitled, ‘Tom is such a hero...’ and this, relating back to that piece, is where I show how even then, actually, I wasn’t doing too bad a job either…
You see, that tribute to my gallant son, was all about a power-cut. And how he trudged home one night shortly after it, laden down with one Army Survival Kit (and a few other things for Lucy) that his poor I-can’t-cope-with-freezing cold-no coffee-first-thing (or from him: “neurotic”) mother ordered after vowing never to go through that hell again.
And hell, to me, would be cold. (Most of you know, I’m sure, that the body thermostat of an MSer is completely defunct. Which means that we’re all either suffering from too much heat [often manufactured by and only inside our own bodies] or shivering from a cold no one else necessarily feels. It follows, of course, that any real extreme in climatic temperature causes us much discomfort and, often, downright embarrassment.)
Hot and dry for me is best (I felt light as air in Italy when Tom and I were there a few summers ago). Cold and damp is, life-threateningly (Candida Albicans – see MS – My Scene [Oct. 07]) worst.
Anyway, as I explained in ‘Tom is…’ I got rid of the gas supply in this place years ago (various reasons – not least, the disruption and stress caused by the [don’t be libellous!] council gas maintenance operatives.!) and ever since have kept warm and dry with, all-electric, heaters, a de-humidifier, air-purifier and fan (the last for when there’s too much heat obviously, i.e. July!). Very expensive. Not good in that I’m abetting the depletion of the earth’s natural resources. But, I’m afraid, for me – at this stage in the MS where I can hardly move/exercise – vital. A power-cut (especially that last one, in the month of January, starting before dawn and lasting eight hours), without Tom being an absolute hero, could well have killed me (please everyone keep an eye on your elderly/infirm relatives and neighours – at all times).
So - never getting over it - I thought, I did my research (Google!) and I (?!) came up with: the afore-mentioned, life-saving, Army Survival Kit (gas-cartridge heater, cooker and lamp - even ‘recommended’ for use in power-cuts!). Bellisimo! I felt relatively (as long as I could work it!) safe and self-sufficient. No more to be afraid of the dreaded black-out/blood-freeze of eratic modernity.
It was the best £50 I ever spent.
But guess what? Everyone (Tom, his colleagues [the day the heavy box arrived at his office] and brother, Blob, all laughed at me! Laughed!
Hah! At me, a poor, skinny, immobile MSer, trying to plan ahead, pre-empt, [to quote the boy-scouts] “Be prepared!” for the future.
All right, not very optimistic. But, realistic? Oh yes. And sometimes optimism must give way to realism
Because guess who wasn’t laughing on Sunday, June 8, when it happened again? And guess who – nearly – was?!
Some of you probably caught it in the news: three hours (for some 12!), following a fire at an EDF sub-station, no power for a large part of south-east London. And I bet some of you lovely empathising friends of Travels thought of us. Lucy and me, struggling away in the thick of it all (I mean the MS as well of course!). Thank you – it’s always good to think of you at these times.
Anyway, mercy. The Good Lord had guided Tom here, late, the night before and he was up and dealing with it all, and a hero one more terrific time, before you could say: “Oh shit!”
I had coffee within moments, the large calor-gas fire (the original) was lit and the little lamp sent out a warming, family-in-a-crisis-loving-each-other glow over the whole scene.
Lucy even came running up to my bed first-thing and licked my face as if she hadn’t seen me for weeks (bless her, she must have sensed things weren’t right!). Then, in her element, she lay in the middle of the floor and our legs as Tom and I sat chatting (?!), awaiting the return of the anti-social (computers/TV, etc.) electricity.
So all-in-all it was quite a lovely power-cut! No wonder we all harbour a secret (?) yearning for rustic simplicity (and I bet I’m not the only blogger who’d like to “time-travel back” to writing with a feather quill and oil-lamp/candle!).
Well, there, we made it. The reason I feel free to title this post, ‘Virginia is such a heroine!’. We, alone, know quite a few people who wished they had had our brilliant survival kit. So, for all of you, for the future (in case you haven’t got one), here’s the link to the Army Surplus site I went to.
Oh and P.S. the irony of the whole thing: I don’t have the strength in my fingers to operate any of it now. Thank God for Tom (or, as he says, “a strong carer”!).