Backing Up

Friday, March 22nd, 2019


Two weeks ago, during high winds, we had a power failure that lasted all morning. My friend, who was staying here, came downstairs and said, “What do you do about grumpy guests?” I replied that I never have grumpy guests. The implications of the power cut hadn’t really registered with me, as power failures are frequent here in winter, but tend to happen in the afternoon. And then it dawned on me. What if I’d had paying guests that morning? How would I have prepared breakfast? With a non-functioning shower pump, guests probably wouldn’t have been able to have a shower, which would already put them in a bad mood. Their bedroom kettle wouldn’t have worked, so no hot drinks. Then they’d have come down to a cold breakfast without tea or coffee, let alone the cooked English breakfast they’d have been looking forward to. They would have had every right to be grumpy. Such a scenario would have been nightmarish. Complaints on would have lowered my score dramatically. I would have had to give refunds. I decided that I must have a backup system in place. Ironically, there have been articles in the press recently about how gas cookers were to be phased out as gas is not a “green” source of power.

My plumbers found this model for me — one of the very few available whose hobs, grill and oven can all be fired up manually during an electricity outage. I have installed it in the small kitchen, which doubles up as a guests’ kitchen. It replaces an electric cooker that occupied the same space. Soon a group of friends are coming to stay. I shall ask them all to pretend to be grumpy guests for one day so that I can rehearse cooking breakfast for six people on a tiny cooker at the other end of the house from the dining-room.