Imagine someone who jumps at the slightest thing. Who absolutely cannot watch horror films, and sometimes even has to hide at the more tense bits of Midsummer Murders. Ok, ok, and some adverts.
Now put that person in the middle of nowhere, on their own, in the gathering darkness. And then throw in a power cut for good measure. Yep, not how I saw my first week of my latest pet sit going.
I was just drifting into a nice jetlag induced nap on the sofa, when I was startled awake by the sudden lack of sound from the TV and the heater.
A quick check of the fuse box revealed nothing amiss, but I wasn’t sure if it was just the house I’m in or the whole bay. So, unable to use the phone and with two canines looking at me quizzically, I set off into the dusk to see if the neighbours could shed any light (heat, etc) on the matter.
It was a little bit further than I anticipated, and without street lights, in the rain, and with the wind howling, it wasn’t the most fun stroll I’ve ever taken. I made it up the neighbours’ steep driveway to a tall house with a garage underneath, all in darkness. As I got closer though I could see through the huge windows facing the bay and there were people walking about with head torches on, lighting candles.
The neighbours were lovely, and after welcoming me in and providing snacks, a torch, and spare candles it was time to return to my little charges. All the neighbours could say was it was just a case of waiting for the power to come back on and it usually didn’t take long – usually about an hour or so.
The walk back was worse. Fully dark now and only the light of a weak torch to go by, on a winding road flanked by tall ferns and waving bushes, no street lights, the patter of rain and the sound of the wind whipping around for company.
As I said, I’m a self-declared wuss. I can’t even try to pretend otherwise. My imagination absolutely takes over and I become irrationally afraid. Heart thumping, adrenaline up, ready to run. Totally out of proportion.
But, is there any situation you’ve read about or watched (Midsummer, I’m looking at you again) which involves someone walking by that small yellow circle of torchlight in the dark, and as it bobs about with the momentum of them walking, they don’t happen upon something gruesome, get clunked over the head, or get startled out of their wits?
I spent the whole half mile walk back, getting in the house, and checking the garage for another torch (brave points) trying not imagine that every leaf, bush and chest of drawers was about to attack me. Talking to the dogs helped. Them barking manically and randomly at nothing in the darkness did not.
I lit all the candles I had, then blew some out in some weird siege panic, as I didn’t know how long the power would be out…I snuggled up on the sofa with both dogs and a blanket and pretended I was fine.
The hour turned into two, and then into the whole night and much of the next morning. It was a long dark night, and while I don’t want to repeat it anytime soon, I don’t think I did too badly. In fact, seeing as there’s no one to contradict me, I’m going to say I was really brave and just took it all in my stride…
The week also included not one but two birds getting into the house. Both of which ignored all open windows and doors and smacked into at least two glass surfaces on their way back out. One of which sat stunned with its gob open looking back up at me through the patio door for a fair few minutes after I shunted it outside. It had a pretty baleful look in its eye but it may just have been concussed so I didn’t take it too personally.
All in all, left me feeling a bit thrown in at the deep end with this rural pet sit!