The wind howled through the trees, ripping at the branches, tearing them off and hurling them down into the road for poor unsuspecting drivers to avoid. Outside it was freezing cold. The gale ran into you like a concrete block, threatening to flatten you if you weren't careful. Definitely a day to stay inside and huddle in front of the heater.
But I wasn't inside, because I was helping fix various problems with the cars and push bikes. And no one was huddle in front of the heater, because there was no power. Yes, we had a house full of cold people with no way to keep them warm.
"It might come on later in the day when the wind dies down a bit," Dad suggested optimistically. It didn't die down. The power didn't come back on.
"What will we do about the dinner?" I asked. "We can't even defrost a loaf of bread."
"Come on," Dad replied. "Let's go and get some fish and chips."
We struggled the short way to the car and headed off. The roads were a nightmare. Tree branches lay scattered everywhere, forcing us to dodge and weave between them. A van was broken down in the middle of the road, another obstacle to get past.
As we drove into town, I scanned the buildings anxiously. Not one was showing a single light. It wasn't looking good. When we found the traffic lights black we knew that there wouldn't be any dinner to be had here. So we drove onwards.
The next town appeared, and with it, some lights, as well as more debris in the road. We might find a fish and chip shop here.
Sure enough, the first shop we came from was ready for us. In a short space of time we were driving back home with a big bag of hot chips.
On entering the house, we found it full of lit candles, in a vain attempt to keep the growing dark at bay. We huddle under fuzzy blankets, plates of food balanced on our knees, munching away on food we couldn't see. Several times whole pieces of lemon were bitten into, rather than fish.
"I'll ring the power company," Dad said. "They said earlier that that lights would be back on at 6:30." The report wasn't good.
Power will return at 6:30...tomorrow the automated man told us. We looked at each other in despair. No tea, no light, no heat, until 6:30 tomorrow!
But Dad had had enough. He marched straight to the garage and fished out the camping stove and gas bottle. Within five minutes, fresh, hot tea stood on the bench top.
Spots of torch light travelled round the house as people tried to get ready for bed, early as it was.
"It's like camping," Sophie said.
"I never thought we'd be camping in our own home," Dad said. "It feels like we're back in the stone age."
Morning came, and with it, little relief from the wind. Still there was no power. Huddled under our faithful blankets we read, or played. None of us could wait for the evening, when the power was due to come back. Suddenly, when we were least expecting it, the lights flicked on. The washing machine beeped. The fax machine came back to life. All around us the house was waking up.
Losing the power for over 24 hours showed me just how lucky we are. We can easily keep warm with our electric heaters. We can make food quickly on our electric stoves. We can brew tea easily in our electric kettles. Yes, it was very instructive. But all the same, I think I'll stick to the 21st century.