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The power and the glory

Cut off: most residents lost their electricity supply as Hurricane Humberto raged across the island (File photograph by Blaire Simmons)

The power and the glory: as I write this article on the afternoon of the Sunday after the hurricane, I’m inclined to forego the latter in search of the former. We are at this point, some 96 hours in the dark.

I’ve often wondered what island life was like in the 19th century. Today, I feel so much closer to knowing.

But it’s not just a case of what we have today compared to what they had in 1819, that would be interesting but purely academic.

What would be much more useful is prioritising what we enjoy today in list form.

What’s your list?

Here’s mine:

1, Sleep

2, Sleep

3, More sleep

Other than that, life’s a breeze — or stronger.

Okay, to be serious, here’s my top five:

1, Internet availability. Isn’t that a terrible admission for a number one? Am I really so controlled by living online that connectivity is my top priority. Apparently so. I have no idea what’s happening in St George’s or Somerset, far less St Moritz or Somerset, England. My window to the world is closed shut at the moment.

2, Communication with a powerless populace. I received one text from authorities a few hours before Humberto. As I write today, I have had no more. Maybe the storm isn’t over yet. If they had my text details one time, then logic suggests they had it two times — or better still every hour during the storm. A powerless populace is not good. I could have written hundreds of words with questions we all desperately needed answers to during the blow. Twas not to be. Once again in the dark.

3, Air conditioning can be sorely missed especially at night (back to sleep again). During the day not too hard to handle the heat, but at night-time the crunch kicks in. Sitting in the car on my own at night with the engine running, going nowhere, and the air conditioning on is wonderful — apart from the neighbours tapping the window asking if I’m okay and, “You goin tawn?” — and two wee dogs bouncing up and down excitedly in the back seat … “Where we going, Dad, where we going?” It was time to go back in the house.

4, Food and drink. These are obviously essentials, but stockpiling in advance is standard practice nowadays. Although how long to stock for before my fridge, stove and microwave are operational again, is a conundrum. Cold food is perfectly fine. Bottled water is perfectly fine. But kudos to the cafés, gas stations and restaurants that started up again promptly. Much appreciated. Speaking of water, while a shower would be nice, the water I collected in the bathtub allowed many things to happen — the flush, the wash, the hair — but also it allowed me to dip my feet in the cold water to cool off.

5, Last, but not least — patience. I think that after years of experience of power outages, the one thing we must all have is the ability to relax, take one day at a time. Being angry or upset or anxious (or ADD like me!) are all natural reactions and emotions. They are real and we all go through them hour by hour when we are powerless. But shouting off at someone, venting anger is pointless. We just have to chill — which at 2am in the heat with no sleep is no simple feat. May the Lord grant me patience — but I need it right now.

So, there we are. I’m sure your list of hot topics is different from mine — or maybe you just handle them better than me.

Regardless, we all suffer in hurricanes before, during and after. They are sent to try our patience. In my case please don’t send them too often.

Bill Storie is chief executive of The Olderhood Group Ltd, Bermuda and is a CA (Scotland). He is also producer and host of the weekly radio show The Ozone on Magic 102.7FM every Thursday from 9.30am to 11am. For more information, visit www.olderhoodgroup.com