The decision to abandon electricity in favor of gas did not come easily. My father worked for more than thirty years for Northern Ireland’s one (then nationalized) electricity company and always took it as a personal affront when a customer swapped their hotplate for something with a purple flame. “Better things are electric things” was a slogan in our house, and, if memory serves, also the tagline for the Northern Ireland Electricity Service. (I tried to check the accuracy of this but there is very scant internet information on the history of non-profit power supply in Northern Ireland 1950-1980, just lots about stock flotation and share owner returns from the private companies that compete for Northern Ireland’s consumers today. Perhaps I shall write the history of EBNI and NIES–my dad certainly left enough pictures of installations, power lines, and power stations to make it an illustrated work).
Anyhow,I am going for gas. This entails sitting in on a Saturday morning waiting for two men to deliver the stove. Unfortunately, it will be another two weeks until the one gas company that delivers to Itchy Ankle can visit to work out where to position the two one hundred gallon propane tanks that will allow me to have hot food and run a generator during hurricanes. “Why does it take so long?” I plaintively asked the sales person, wondering if I should mention that Christmas is coming, and that plum duff is a dish best not eaten cold. “We’ve been very busy” she briskly replied “Hurricane Irene, Hurricane Sandy and now Christmas. I can squeeze you in on the 20th, but really I don’t have anything until the New Year”. Harrumph. Sounds like they could do with hiring an extra crew or two. At last, a positive side effect of global warming: disruptive weather leads to demand for gas stoves and generators which leads to job creation and thus helps the economy. Get on it Arundel Gas.
You will note that the visit from Arundel Gas is only to think about installing the gas tanks. There is no indication of when the company may actually be able to supply them, but mid-January seems like a good bet. Once they are in place at the back of the house, the Chesapeake Boys will come out in force to make the hook up between tank and stove. There is no telling how long this will take and, upon reflection, it may have been a mistake to buy a bargain leg of lamb and to think “this’ll do for Easter” while stashing it in the freezer.
I am choosing to see all of this as God’s way of saying “Eat out and plan a trip at Christmas” Plus of course I’ll be eating fruit, raw vegetables and bowls of oatmeal in the New Year.
Final note: the new stove has been delivered. It does not fit in the space the old one occupied, despite being (allegedly) the same size. It is now sitting useless, cold, immovable and solid in the middle of the kitchen floor.