Lights, please! Action… photo?

It has been a little bit like Christmas around here lately. Mr L has been on a spending spree and parcels have arrived on a daily basis. I planned yesterday to take some photographs and catch up on some blogging and to include some of this excess out of interest. What do you know though – I woke in the early hours to find that the power was off. It stayed that way until mid-afternoon.

We don’t mind days without power; we have our emergency box at the ready and can cook, heat and light to a degree. There are plenty of books and games and there are batteries in the  radio. Normally we can light a fire but the sitting room burner is currently disconnected, so we lingered in bed for a while and then when we did emerge, I donned my thermal vest  instead. Unhappily the weather was vile and the light levels very poor. Much of what I had planned to do yesterday simply never happened due to lack of available light. It was boredom, rather than cold, that drove us back under the duvet in the afternoon.

One of this week’s parcels included a carbon steel wok. I had one in the past that came to grief and have managed to get by in recent years with a small cheap non-stick (what a concept!) one that came in a Chinese New Year special offer box from Uncle Ben. We bought it after the event, being sold off for a £1 and had a couple of meals from it, with an effectively-free wok thrown in. A nasty thing, of course the non-stick burned off at the first use. I have hobbled on, coping with this thing and trying to economise. Finally however, we gave in and got the real deal once more. I was going to photograph it in its pre-state and then Mr L was going to season it and cook us a stir fry on the gas ring. I was then going to show what it looked like post-seasoning.

When we woke to no electricity we were not at all dismayed and simply dug out the picnic stove in the happy knowledge that we had planned to cook dinner on it anyway. There was some discussion about decamping to Brunhilde but a call to Scottish Hydro revealed that the power supply was due back by 2 pm. In the event, the message was later updated to indicate a 3 pm restoration. The power returned at 3:15 pm, when darkness was almost upon us again. No moaning though – the lads did well to plant a new pole in the prevailing weather conditions. It was a timely return, allowing the chip shop takeaway at the pub to function as normal and the Community tree-lighting ceremony at 6:30 pm no longer endangered from lack of power. The weather may have been a different matter and to tell the truth, I did not venture out to see if the lights were indeed on last night. The lure of mince pies and mulled wine was certainly insufficient to get me and mine out of the house for the actual switching-on!

Clearly, all photography was out of the question yesterday and thus I could not show the yarn for Mr L’s sweater, which finally arrived on Friday afternoon. Nor could I show you my new diet scales or the iPad that arrived this week too. I could not even display my little pink and blue cowl confection, which both landed on and came back off the needles this week.

That’s OK, I thought to myself. I’ll just make a start on the sweater… but the pattern is on my PC and I could not access it, the UPS having used up its reserve of power long before we even had breakfast. What I did manage to do, apart from quite a deal of manual housework, tidying-up etc. was to knit a tension square in the hope that I had properly recalled the needle size (I had, thankfully). Luckily, stocking stitch is easily achieved in half-light conditions. What is far more challenging is to count stitches in a darkly-coloured yarn in such circumstances. I have the square pinned out but not yet counted. I intend to wash and dry the swatch and recount before casting on – this was cheapo yarn and shrinkage or stretching may well occur. I also have fears about the dye running. Those worries apart, the yarn actually looks and feels pretty good for it’s very small price and the square knitted up both rapidly and well.

The Sweet and Sour Pork was very good and Mr L confessed himself thrilled with the wok-cooking experiment.  We were both feeling kind of unsettled by the disruption to our day and although we both agreed that we had spent far too much time in bed altogether, we also agreed to not care and to return to the duvet early and watch more Star Wars.

This week we have watched six Star Wars films. We wanted to catch up and refresh our memories in readiness for going to see the new film on the 17th. This being the date of Mr L’s birthday, we hoped to take Brunhilde to town on the Wednesday evening and to dine out, then go to the midnight showing. Happily, the council-run camp site has extended opening this year and we could stay there overnight. Even more happily, the camp site is located in the same place as the cinema. It’s convenient and ideal and we can even fit in a swim or an all-day breakfast. We might then go off and spend a night or two elsewhere on mainland Orkney before coming home or, if the weather was looking suitable, stock up at Tesco next door and jump a ferry to Scotland to go hide in a forest for a fortnight and avoid the whole seasonal holiday thing altogether.

We are watching the long range forecast but it looks to us as though even the one night at the pictures is not going to happen, let alone two weeks of peacefully climbing hills, fording streams, and wandering in woods. I don’t believe we will even get our traditional picnic walk on the 25th December.

What else do we need to catch up on? Oh, yes, I stuffed up on the Camera Club’s monthly competition for December. I had the idea that photos had to be in last week and that I had no time to take any photos, so I checked the diary and saw that the competition date was in fact the 16th. I was hoping that I might still produce something… until I had email from the club chair on Friday, checking that he had all the images properly recorded. I was correct originally, images had to be in by the 2nd, for competition night on the 16th. Stupid me. I apologised. In a reply to me, he said that he could still take some images from me if I got them emailed in the next 24 hours. Of course I could not read this message with the power down and it was 20 hours later when I saw it – darkness was upon us and dinner was imminent. No way I could take anything specially for the comp theme “Myself” so I replied and said I’d have a rummage through the archive. In the end I supplied 6 images, one of which was an actual selfie but probably way too Photoshopped for a proper club. Not very satisfactory but at least I feel like some effort was made and that I have in a small way done my bit to support the activity. In addition to the selfie I was planning to send images that had reflections of the photographer in them. Ultimately none of the ones that I could recall were really satisfactory so I went more laterally and considered ways of describing this photographer: “Keen” produced a photo of a jar of mustard; “Gear freak” a photo of a car’s gearstick knob and so on. Valid? I have no idea! We shall see.

Photos soon, the blog is looking awfully bare. That is, if I can get them to upload. The host server has been troublesome for weeks now.

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