If ever there was a show to watch at nighttime before bed, it’s Channel 4’s latest “what if?” Drama called Blackout. It’s a drama constructed of different stories from people caught up in the scary and unthinkable situation of a week long power cut. The drama itself is well written and highlights all the stages along the way from curiosity and excitement right through to fear and survival. It basically comes back down to animal instincts and those who act on them the most will survive it. The drama is certainly worthy of the positive comments and reviews it has attracted and it has confirmed in my mind, that we as a country would be well and truly tested if put in this frightening situation. From the story of a Mum and her 10 year old daughter traveling from Hampshire to her Mums in Sheffield right through to the self sufficient Dad and family who resorts to looting Kwik Safe and leaving a guy for dead, it makes edge of the seat viewing.
It is because of this, that as soon as the final credits rolled up our TV screen in a darkened front room our collective minds got thinking WHAT IF?….. It is because of the hard hitting writing and production of this drama that you can’t think about doing anything else. What would we do if we were thrown into this scary and realistic situation? What if cyber terrorists disarmed our National Grid and we were stripped of Electricity? It’s quite an interesting topic of conversation and by the end of it, some quite constructive and devious plans were formed.
These plans were based on prior knowledge of the length of time this Blackout would last for. I know if thrown into this situation we wouldn’t have this benefit, however after 10 minutes of a Power Cut it would seem rather dumb and cavalier to be launching an attack on Waitrose behind our house and raiding their fridges and legging it out without paying just to see the power restored and the normal world carry along as before. We drew up a list of things that we’d do if put in a week long Blackout situation, it goes something along these lines:-
Day 1 – Go to Waitrose and use the money in our food jar to stock up on bottled water, tinned cold food and a bottle of Jack Daniels (the latter is my wish!) Remember the cash machines will have shut down! Strip our camping box of Gas Stoves, Pots, Pans and the cans of gas we have and move all of this to our top floor. For those not aware of our house layout we have 3 floors. Drive to the Christian Builders Merchants in our town and convince them that The Lord would want this and “borrow” 18mm sheets of Ply and nails to board up our ground floor windows. This would be done on both sides. Put big lock on our side gate in garden and prepare to head into lock down mode. Get through the night and hope that everybody else thinks this is still a novelty.
Day 2 – Head out into the world and see what’s going down. I’m pretty sure that our High Street would be intact but it’s worth using this opportunity to see what else could be purchased or bartered for in our local Hardware Shop. Return visit to Waitrose and see if there are any Ian Rankin Irish Soda Farls remaining and sneak them out whist distracting the Security Guard. Under no circumstances will I be having a BBQ and inviting the neighbors, nor disclosing I have a wind up generator that runs on Beetroot Oil in our cupboard. All Beetroots, Beans and tiny potatoes will be harvested and stored under the bed upstairs. Toilet will comprise of Poo Bags from camping trips and the bath will be filled with water for emergency. Survive the night taking it in turns and hoping the distracting noises outside are nothing more than the local drunks, blissfully unaware of what’s happening in the world.
Day 3 – A few noises and an obvious visitor in our garden suggests they were hunting for our Beetroot. Nothing is broken however it is evident that Waitrose is now populated by the local youths of our town. No longer an option it’s a relief I didn’t open up the Soda Farls. Temptation to venture out is still there. Wander down to find the Town Hall is open for a Book Fare confuses me, but what am I to question. Morale seems ok and it won’t be long before the novelty of reading wears off. Discover my cars still where I left it minus two dust caps, strange! Mobile Phone main battery is dead after watching You Tube videos last night, onto back up charge pack. I think we will play Scrabble tonight under Candle Light. Disruption outside and a broken window means we will block up the doorway and stairs to our first floor in the morning. Just got to survive the night yet again. Strange note to self, the sparrows have stopped singing in the evening.
Bizarrely as I tried to upload this photo our Broadband stopped working, slightly eerie!
Day 4 – We’ve had a break in and our Seed tin has been stolen. It’s also evident that someone has swiped our Magnet collection from the fridge. It’s not safe anymore. We board up the back door best where entrance was forced and roll the fridge against it. Apart from this everything else is intact. We have inherited a copy of All Creatures Great and Small, which suggests to me that this intruder was at the Book Fare yesterday. I shut the door on our staircase and block up the stairs with furniture and various bulky items. We are not leaving the house anymore, Poo Bags thrown out of our windows and the Ian Rankin Farls devoured, we set out to check our security efforts. It looks good but we just can’t get comfortable. There is a strange air of unrest outside, a trolley somehow sneaks past the metal security grid and rolls past our house. It’s not nice and as the dusk settles we think to ourselves, only one more night to survive! Of course we don’t really know this, but it it gives us an edge over everybody else.
Day 5 – We’ve survived the night and are relieved to find our secure doorway and staircase blockage is still blocked. Noises come from down below us but it could be anything. Noises appear amplified from around and because of this it is near impossible to identify where from. Gas is running low and water is down to what’s in the bath. It’s at this point I really shouldn’t mentioned I cleaned myself in it! The days goes slowly as every second a new threat appears. This bizarrely includes a Traffic Warden checking the cars opposite our house. God they work every hour including the Bank Holidays! Good to see our Councils trying to make some money in these challenging times. As this thought passes I realize it was a looter wearing a uniform, that’s more like it! Final night tonight, just gotta keep on going. Blog is updated and as I prepare to see through our final night I think hurry up please!
And there you go, the dawn of a new day appears, the sunshine glows red and the sparrows are singing. My phone lights up and a network signal appears. The lights outside our house spark up as if to tell us, fear not this ordeal is finally over.
It was pretty fun creating our diary and plan to survive this ordeal if presented with it. On a more serious note though, it’s scary just how quickly human nature changes and how public services we rely on heavily will start to falter if this situation happened. Please watch this Drama if you haven’t already done so, it’s easy for me to make it sound light hearted but it drives home some scary facts and truths.
So what would you do if you were in the same situation? I’d love to hear your stories.