Saturday, 31 March 2012

The Day the Earth Hour Stood Still

Every year, without fail, we celebrate Earth Hour.

I say "without fail." In fact, we celebrate Earth Hour, almost inevitably, with some kind of failure. This year being no different to any other.

In order to be more comprehensive in our energy saving, this year we cut the power at the fuse box. The whole complex - Beaker Bazaar, Moot House, Great House, Doily Shed et al - plunged into darkness. Just the fridges left on.

And so we sat there in the Moot House, in the darkness. Letting the stillness of Husborne Crawley find its way to us, above the roar of the gas-burners we needed to keep warm with the roof open.

The theory was that we all sat there, letting the darkness and stillness seep into our souls - feeling ourselves at one with the Earth that we neglect and loot every other hour of the year, with our electric lights, television sets and computing devices. That we could look up through the open roof and see the wonders of creation, wheeling above us.

At least that was the theory. It was a shame about the clouds blotting out the heavens, of course. But a number of Beaker People had various astronomy apps on their smartphones, and spent a whole hour ooh-ing and aah-ing at what they would have seen on a clear night. While the remainder spent all their time, it turns out, tweeting to their very limited number of followers the events of the night.

Most of which events of the night were indeed provided by Burton. About twenty-five minutes in, and he stands up shouting "Badger! Badger! Badger!"

Well, the Beaker People don't like badgers. They're terrified of them. I try to tell them that they're just friendly old brocks, the last remaining decent-sized carnivores left to us from Merrie England. But they tell you that they can break your nose with one swipe of their wings. I tell them that's swans, and then they tell you they can break your back with a hug. I tell them that's the giant ant-eater, but they reckon that's close enough.

So needless to say, next thing we know there's Beaker Folk running in all directions - never a good idea when you're in a confined space in the dark, and the only lights available are the glow of 50 smartphones. It was all very confusing, and bruising. I managed to keep myself from being hurt using a secret and ancient art - also known as cover drives and swipes to cow-shot corner (let the Reader understand).

Not a badger
When too many people had run into walls, I managed to hit the emergency lighting button, and the truth was revealed. In amongst the battered and terrified Beaker Folk, we saw Rizzo, the Beaker Jack Russell. Now she's got a black and white face, sure enough. But under no circumstances could anyone mistake her for a badger. Well, OK - under one circumstance she could be. That being where an impressionable accountant caught a glimpse of her in the half-light of Earth Hour. He always gets over-excited at Earth Hour. Honestly, he's as bad at Christmas.

I'll be honest, I wasn't that impressed. Burton had kind of spoilt Earth Hour for all of us. I called a rapid end to festivities, and sent everyone off to be bandaged. 

Still, at least all was not totally wasted. Burton, full of remorse and the desire to make recompense, has very kindly gone off to make some emergency doilies. He may be some time.  I may let him come back into the Moot House some time after midnight. Alternatively, I may just slip a badger into the Doily Shed if I can find one.

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