Yesterday I underwent my second energy task of the week – going without as much electricity as possible. I decided it wasn’t frugal to turn off the fridge and freezer and ruin the food and my pet lizards rely on heat lamps, but everything else that required plugging into the mains was off limits.
I enjoyed a lie-in as getting up early and sitting in the dark was pretty pointless. So it was a relief when I got up and the sun was shining. I’d worried that working in dim light would give me eye strain. I wear glasses now to read, write and use my laptop and am constantly putting the light on if it’s a bit dark. Unfortunately around 10am the sun went in and I was forced to look for candles. I lit a couple of them but they were surprisingly ineffectual. No wonder the poet John Milton went blind after studying by candlelight!
Also I’d hardly given my radio and CD player much thought, but it was weird not using them. The house seemed so quiet without music playing or John Humphrys berating some politician on the Today Programme. Plus the washing I’d put out yesterday still wasn’t dry and I resisted the urge to put it in the tumble dryer, so I hoped the sun would re-emerge and dry it all off. I could hang it on our radiators but I remember reading it isn’t an energy efficient way to dry washing.
Our electric shower was out of bounds, but my hair felt disgusting so I decided to have a shallow bath, so as not to use too much water, and wash my hair. How relaxing, I thought, until I got in and realised the water was lukewarm. When I emerged with dripping hair I remembered I couldn’t use the hairdryer. Normally I leave my hair to dry naturally anyway, but lately as it’s been getting colder I’ve been drying it off a bit first. So I resigned myself to wet hair for the morning.
Fortunately tea was possible by boiling up water on the hob. Life without that would be pure misery. I remembered that my grandparents years ago put a kettle on the hob to make tea. I took Muriel’s advice – she left a message on Tuesday’s blog suggesting I put the lid on the pan to save energy. It was just as quick as boiling a kettle as long as you only put a cup’s worth of water in it.
By 11.15 the sky turned black and I was finding it more and more difficult to work. I could feel the beginnings of a headache. In our shed I found our citronella lamp but the instructions said it should only be used outside because of the fumes, so I chickened out of using it. But soon the laptop battery gave out anyway. Then I remembered I’d forgotten to reply to an email the previous day from Katie at MSN so, not being able to connect to the internet via my wifi, I texted her instead. Surprisingly enough, not being bothered by my email was quite refreshing!
I know it should be obvious, but when evening came I was astonished by how dark the house was without electric light. I thought it might make me gloomy, but it was quite cosy and romantic eating dinner by candlelight. Although I kept worrying the cat might knock the candles over and set the lounge alight and DJ insisted on wearing his head torch at the dinner table, which was a turn-off!
Washing up was interesting and I tried knitting by candlelight but soon gave up as I couldn’t see what I was doing. “Don’t risk your eyesight!” warned my mother in a text. So we sat nodding off on the sofa – the darkness was incredibly soporific – and went to bed early wondering how on earth our ancestors managed to do anything in the evenings besides snooze!
Do you think we take electricity for granted? Are we over-reliant on it? Leave a message and let me know.
Have a great weekend, Piper xxx