Parents and children have to adapt when the power goes out.
If you could name a time that is least inconvenient for load shedding, it would be difficult. Parents need power to be parents, don’t they? Well, for me, having the power go out between 6pm and 8pm is trickiest to handle. But it doesn’t mean everything is doomed.
Or: how to avoid Marmite sandwiches
It happened this week. I knew that it was scheduled to go out so I attempted to get home in time to cook the food before 6pm. The trains were late, so it meant sprinting past the shop only to find Karen had already put something in the oven. I say “something” because by the time we sat down to eat we couldn’t see what it was. 6pm was announced with the shuddering noise of the fridge switching off.
After supper, my daughter tried to study for her exams as she had four scheduled for the next day. I attempted to take a sad photo of her huddled under a collection of solar lamps and candles, clutching a little torch over her books, but it was too dark for the photo to come out.
The solar lamps died after 20 minutes, as did the torch, and the ridiculous tea lights that are fine for romance but not for anything practical died five minutes later. So my nine-year-old son decided we need to be kept busy:
Eye spy, with my little eye, something beginning with “D”, he announces.
“Darkness”, I guess, because I know how he thinks. I’m right.
Eye spy, with my little eye, something beginning with “L”, he continues.
“Load shedding”, I guess, and I’m right again.
Eye spy, with my little eye, something beginning with “K”, (he’s into this, now).
He’s also a creative speller… “Kandle”, I guess, and I’m right again.
30 seconds, 2 hours
The others aren’t as impressed with the eye spy game, so we take out 30 Seconds. Over the three remaining candles, we play some raucous rounds, trying not to set the cards on fire when we read them. My daughter didn’t know a lot of the answers, so she’d act out the syllables to the words and we’d still manage to get the answers. Loads of fun and laughter.
Then we fell to the ground clutching our faces as every light in the house came on simultaneously. An explosion of light that made every moth in Cape Town sit up. Okay, we didn’t actually fall to the ground, but it was very bright. The fridge jangled back to life like a garage band in rehearsal.
We’d been in the same room for two hours. No screens. Just talking, joking, playing and eating. It wasn’t bad at all. We appreciate our coffee, showers and hot food, now, as well as the little stolen moments life throws at you. Funny how illuminating load shedding can be.
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What does your family do differently when there's no electricity?