Tag Archives: power cut

Power Off weekend, March 20-21st / Spring Equinox

Turn the power off for 48 hours and enjoy a mini holiday at home with friends, games and traditional entertainment, cooking over a fire maybe.

sausages cooking on the open fire

Prepare yourself for a sudden ‘crisis’ by enjoying one of these Power Off Weekends, be prepared, save money and reduce your carbon footprint, whilst having fun again.

You will love being free of the internet, electric gadgets, work, noise and chores and instead breath a sigh of relief. Some of it may be challenging but we love challenges, right? Especially when only for a weekend. Give it a go, this March 20-21st, which coincides with the Equinox, start of Spring.

Playing games by candle light - like being children again

See all the posts on our Touchwood Project blog about the Power Off weekends Рthe radio interview clips, photos, 101 things to do without electricity and some feedback from people who tried it. Click on the yellow Power Off logo:

48 hours without electricity - adventure in your own home!

To sign up for the event, see more pictures or just support us, even if you cannot do it this time around, it is best to go to the Facebook Events, Group and Page. Three separate places on Facebook, which confuses me but if you go to the Events page and RSPV to attend, your name will be counted and we will be able to include you in pre-weekend information, questionnaires and tips.

Power Off Event – Facebook

If you join the group on Facebook we will know you support the idea – as too if you become a ‘fan’ on the Power Off Weekends Page. Please do all three – and let us know you care.

Power Off Weekend Group – Facebook

Power Off Weekends Page – Facebook

One more picture, from the mid-winter Power Off weekend:

Reading by natural daylight, keeping warm, enjoying life - flow


Sunday afternoon … fish heads

Spent the rest of the morning emptying bins stinking of fish head (what did we eat?)
Gathered more water.

We have 3 categories of water:
1) bottled drinking water
2) rainwater, unfiltered (from the garden water butt / shed roof)
3) garden water (large bucket) open to birds etc. (we have a lot of birds up in the sycamore trees, so the ground is covered in mess. Need a good down pour or a big baked pie!)

The 3rd water is bucketed straight into the toilet. No point trying to clean it.
The 2nd water is good, and boiled for general use, like washing up dishes and hand washing – but no attempt to drink it. It is enough that our thoughts are aware of this.
We bought over 12 litres from the shop. It goes really quickly.

(Last year the water supply was contaminated, resulting in bottled water being provided by the Hydro – so we have some practice in this).

Lunch has been a mix of leftovers – urgently being used up as the fridge is at room temp and the freezer has thawed too, leaving a pool of water across the floor.
The need for refrigeration is now high on the agenda – as is disposing of wrotting food and maintaining hygiene. So, we are eating left over beans, rice and stuff out of the fridge, with added onion, garlic, bacon (bought yesterday, on a whim, and kept cool in lots of newspaper with a bit of ice). Cooked food extra long to ensure the bacteria was killed. An annoying bluebottle is buzzing about – a reminder that food hygiene is no joke.

The bean stew is best kept warm as we cannot chill it – keeping it above the “danger zone” around room temperature, when bugs breed fastest. Now you see the merit of keeping a pot over the fire! But that need for a constant fire means a good and endless supply of fuel. We have a gas cylinder (lucky), then what? The coal fireplace. The barbeque. It would be hard to use up this leftover stuff without these, but possible. Some stuff can be eaten cold but the dodgy stuff in the dridge has been warm a while. Not sure R’s tollerance would reach that far. Not sure many families would be finding this fun right now. This is when time drags and tensions rise.

This morning R was reading holiday brochures and her mood clouded. Restless, trapped, bored. I am thinking how hard just this wee experiment would be for a family. Just two days. It may be easier if there were a real disaster to focus upon but this practice seems futile – or is it just the tension from withdrawl? For anyone thinking of trying this be warned, it is the psychological issues that are hardest.

Before lunch we went for a walk in the sun and ended up on a child’s rope swing. Climbed the tree and chatted.

R reads, as I let the water in the basin cool enough for me to wash up. Maybe I’ll light the fire early – to replace the absence of music?

Now we sip tea! Boiled the camping stove on the coal fire. The ritual of tea and fire making – it is very soothing. It is good to relax as I have been endless tasks – carrying water (nearly half the water is gone from the water butt already. We need to store more, use less and need it to rain. The hot water system is drained – from hand washing, cleaning teeth, I suppose. The urgent need for potable water – and this is only day two!)

Potable water rationing, and there is just the two of us.This is in Scoland – makes you think. Also, I have to create a cooler / chiller by using evaporation. The technology is simple but will it work? And where to find the bits to make it?

Either dehydrated or it’s the fish :-(

Sunday morning … groggy

Been dozing for hours, awoken finally by the church bells, played pretty poorly, which amuses me. The sun is shining, the town still. Just an occassional voice of a child or a cat’s meow. Through the night there was a procession of boisterous drunks but now the churches open their doors and the children play. Like night and day.

As for the lack of power, sunlight returns to centre stage. We, like our ancestors are thankful of this and determine to use it.

Again I am shocked by how much water we flush away. And there is an art to pouring a bucket down the toilet. If this situation were to be continuing another day I would be changing to the garden disposal (see yesterday).

I am also very aware of the wonderful washing machine. It is idle whilst we have no electricity but it will surely be one of the first things to use again. I am familiar with washing clothes by hand – from childhood – and do not relish it one bit. We’d certainly wear less clothes if hand washing returned! Fashion would be forgotten.

You realise how lazy one becomes with instant power and water. How indifferent you become to the amount used. No wonder the planet’s ecosystems are struggling under our exploitation, no wonder the planet is heating up.

My motto is “leave it a little better than you find it” but I see our actions, the planet over, is “LIAL worse TYFI”. Lots of little actions wasting away our world.

6 billion people potentially doing that and we have a big problem. Don’t we?

I think we have to regain the common sense frugality that has been part of human life – up until recent times. I’d guess up until about 100 years ago, in Europe. Cheap electricity and petrol comes at a cost. But who cares when it pours out of every tap, is there at the flick of a switch?

We who live on these islands already feel the pinch more than most, with high fuel costs, transport and hence the cost of produce. Not to mention storms and rising sea levels, or the loss of the North Atlantic drift. So, if anyone is to change, who better? It is in our own best interest to be more efficient, frugal, independent. In essence, better housekeepers. I’m sure a lot of you already are but I write of my own experience and for the majority. One home. One planet.

This weekend has been invaluable, in raising my awareness. I hope the lessons learnt will not be forgotten so easily. I hope others will try this too.
You have to experience it to really feel it and become aware.

2 days without a few things – no real hardship at all – still so much better off than many on the planet – so no complaints! But a real eye opener.

Back in the electronic world

Monday Morning – fast approaching afternoon.

We have electricity and water again. After two days, three nights cut off.
I can rest from carrying buckets of water.

The following is an honest transcript of my hand written notes made over the weekend. It is the nature of blogs to write what maybe no one wants to read but maybe someone will empathise or learn from our experience. So, I make no apologies for the ramble, that itself is part of life by candle light – time expands.

Saturday morning:
Awaking to no water, no electricity, no phone, no access to money.
What is going on?
Came home last night to a dark house. Power cut. Trod on the cats, found matches and candles, and delighted in the flickering flame and warm light. Lay in bed talking for hours.

(A bad nights sleep – due to noisy drunks at various times passing by the house. Shrieks, shouts and tumbling beer cans).

Morning. Flushed the toilet and noticed no water. R starts to ask lots of questions, a clear increase in anxiety. It being that time of month and sanitary issues. I calm her down explaining we still have water in the hot system, a bucket and a water butt in the garden full of rainwater. It is my problem that the garden is 200m away.

Later in the morning:
Orange juice instead of tea.
The thought of carrying buckets of water – what a lot of effort to just flush the toilet – it would be easier to walk up to the garden and do it there. The idea of an outside toilet becomes preferable, or a dry composting toilet. Especially as sea level rises more. I am reminded that human faeces can be composted like any other animal waste. Urine can be collected and carried up to the compost heap – no smell, no waste, and less hassle. Now regretting eating so much fibre.

Now to figure out fire and heating – to boil water.

Saturday 11am
No shower. No refreshing wake up. Hair a mess.

4.30 pm Saturday
Sat beside coal fire in living room. Chimney needs sweeping.
Have buckets of water in bath ready to flush toilet. Candles and hurricane lantern ready, paraffin topped up. Matches are damp so drying by fire.
Got a gas camping stove from the garden shed and have boiled rain water for washing dishes. Woo hoo. Bottled water to drink. Had first cup of tea mid afternoon – a refreshing Oolong.

I am filled with the urge to do chores, to make things better, to get on top of this new situation. And feel content, knowing have sorted out fire, water, food and shelter. But I keep wanting to tidy and organise, putting things in the right place where they can be found in the dark. It is not fun being lazy. Planning food, what to use first before the fridge is no more (it is now 20 hours since the power went out). There is a strong feeling of calm and control.

I am off to the shop for water Рluckily have a £20 note Рbut need to be frugal as everything counts. The weather is misty and cool, the sun gradually poking through. We are very aware of sound, the crack of the fire, the ferry engine, a passing car, the scratch of my pen on paper Рand my stomache rumbling!