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13 hours without electricity: Personal hell

If you're lucky enough to live in South East London you'll have had a nasty shock yesterday morning when you woke up to no power. This sort of thing only happens north of the river, surely?

If you're lucky enough to live -- like me -- in the best place in the world, South East London, you'll have had a nasty shock yesterday morning as reality intruded on our balmy Kentish paradise. Waking up to a leisurely Sunday morning of coffee, toast and Something for the Weekend, there was the rude realisation that there was no power. The electricity was off. This sort of thing only happens north of the river, surely?

Now, apart from not having to watch Something for the Weekend -- come on, you know it's awful -- this fairly ruined my Sunday. I was planning a few hours of GTA IV before lunch and a jaunt to the park with friends. Now the 'great' outdoors was going to have to amuse me for the entire day. It failed, miserably. No gun battles, no high-speed chases, not even any bowling. Real life is way overrated.

It turned out that a substation in Sydenham had caught fire, leaving thousands of people without the leccy for most of the day. (Props to EDF, by the way: you ring up, even from a mobile, and they know where you are and play a recorded message giving detailed information about what's going on and when you can expect power.) Returning from the park, I was itching for some automobile-related hyperviolence. There's only so long you can read a book, for heaven's sake. Even one with James Bond in it.

By the time it came back on, 9:30pm, I was going out of my mind. How the hell did people live like this, in the dark, with only their brains and vocal chords for amusement? No wonder they died so young. There was nothing else to do.