Winter in the cold

Our electricity went out at 10 p.m. on Thursday and from that moment for 24 hours we were without electricity, heat, light. ?Scary? You?bet. At one point I was in bed with all my clothes on, plus long underwear, duvet, blankets and all the candles lit for heat. I was still shaking with cold. ?We were able to have hot showers because we have a tankless hot water heater, the generators clicked on for the sump pumps that keep our lower level (and my bedroom) dry. But ?no heat? ?No fun.

Our neighbour Laurie Matheson came over and rescued us. “I’ve got a wood stove.” she said. ?All I wanted was to warm up. ?Because I’m on Rogers of course I didn’t get any phone calls but Jack, my husband, is on Bell dial-up so he could at least use the phone to calm the family’s fears. ?

I was all for checking into a hotel and ordering up room service. But Jackson said: ?”I’m not leaving the house, I want to sleep in my own bed.” ?Good choice it turned out. ?We spent the day huddled around the wood stove with another frozen refugee, Helen, who has serious health problems. I was so impressed. ?Laurie was truly worried about everyone on the street who might not have heat. She and Amanda up the street got Helen and all her special food and equipment settled comfortably by the fire.?

I kept nipping next door (our house is their semi-detached) to bring over the food. ?How about some ground coffee? ? Never again will I be without ground coffee in the house. ?I’d been preparing a special lunch for some gardening chums, so I dragged everything I was making over.

We cooked in the dark (candle light is really hard to cook by my respect for our ancestors shot up), we put together a smashing dinner. Laughing away because Laurie and I get bumping into each other, tripping over the dog. I had no idea what I was doing, but if you have good ingredients you can make good food. We did get into the wine, and whatever it was I cooked, it was terrific and we downed all the pasta dish cooked on the top of the gas stove and the panzanella salad.?

Then the lights pinged on about 10 p.m. I went home, somewhat reluctantly: the house was still creaking from the cold and ?took almost 12 hours to warm it up to 64F. ?It was another cold night, but we were in our own beds (fully dressed) and happy to be there. ?

It was frightening because these were the two ?coldest nights of the year. ?We have heat again. We’re now very aware of how vulnerable we are and neither Jack nor I are going to forget that very soon. But we’re incredibly grateful to have a wonderful neighbour like Laurie. ?What a cheerful, generous person. We are lucky.