No lights #516

Daily painting #516 6"x6" oil on primed canvas panel 

I think this little candle has served well and it's days are almost done! Our electricity crisis continues in South Africa with daily load shedding, sometimes twice daily when the demand is high! Load shedding is when entire suburbs are taken off the grid completely (all electricity cut off) for periods of up to 2 hours in an attempt to lessen the demand on our inadequate and antiquated power stations. Hardly an ideal situation and disastrous for businesses but life carries on as we have no choice! So our houses are lit up with rechargeable lights, gas lights, candles and some have invested in generators to keep things going. It is daily and scheduled (well supposed to be) and so you try to plan your life accordingly and get things done before your power cuts. This must be sounding like doom and gloom to foreigners but it is what it is and we make do!
Last night our load shedding was scheduled for 8pm -10pm, an awful time of night as my husband and I are usually catching up on work, kids are finishing off homework and you are perhaps watching a bit of TV or reading a book when darkness suddenly engulfs you. Last night my son and I were standing on the upstairs veranda which overlooks our suburb and out to sea when the electricity suddenly cut. We were expecting it and so had gone outside to watch as the suburb was plunged into darkness. I was reminded of our last trip to the bush (maybe you remember me telling the story) when on a night drive the game ranger suddenly cut the lights of our vehicle and the pitch darkness of the African bush (which if one is not familiar with it can seem claustrophobic)  sent an American tourist into a fit of panic that broke the silence of the night like a gunshot! She was so terrified of predators that the poor ranger rather than allowing us to listen to the bush which is one way you would track animals at night, quickly put the vehicle lights back on, much to her delight.  I have to admit that I probably feel safer in the darkness of the bush than the darkness of the suburb! It felt awful to watch houses and streets for as far as we could see plunge into darkness and the silence that followed was eerie. Slowly a few houses lit up again as generators kicked into action. I guess this will become a way of life soon and what seems rather ridiculous now will soon be elevated to normal and like the rest of Africa most houses will end up with generators or such like, but for now I am cursing the millions that voted for our current re-elected government responsible for this entropy. 

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