And then the lights went out!
This was the second bout of power cuts as part of industrial action in the early 1970s, and it was a nuisance. But not a knock-out blow, as we - and most people we knew - cooked with gas. I was a kid and found the power cuts exciting - with the candles showing up patches of nicotine-stained ceiling ('Doesn't it look yellow, Mum?!') and I'd gaze out at total blackness outside, all the street lights off, just pinpricks of candlelight showing from some windows. Well, how thrilling could you get, I ask?
Cooking by candlelight was a novel experience - as was making tea.
And I came seriously unstuck doing that.
One late afternoon/early evening in late autumn, the lights went out while we had a visitor. I think it was Doreen from next-door-but-one, but it might have been my Auntie from Verulam Way.
The metre didn't need feeding, so we knew it was a power cut.
My mother had forgotten to get tea while we were at Arbury Court earlier in the day, so I was dispatched to Yarrow's ('Yarrer's') on Carlton Way. We had loose tea then. My mother thought that tea bags added an unwelcome taste to the brew.
Well, I set off intrepidly into the blackness outside - up Cunningham Close - the windows with unclosed curtains showing flickering candlelight - and the same in Brimley Road and Carlton Way.
It was all familiar and yet unfamiliar.
I was heady with excitement.
And Yarrow's that day was thrilling!
Now, Yarrow's, the grocer's and butcher's, was quite a small shop. You went in one door and there was shelving all round the walls holding cereals, bread, soup, mixed veg, etc, and, as you went in, on the right, was a small display of paperback books. There was double-sided centre shelving, which formed two narrow aisles, up one aisle, down the other, and the till was on the left just inside the exit door. Just one till.
Usually, trips there tended to be mundane but, for the power cut, the staff had distributed candles around the store, which made everything look very intriguing. The familiar scenario became something out of a fairy tale - candlelight picking out Weetabix boxes, tins of oxtail soup, or jars of pilchard and tomato paste as you passed - all gleaming or shining in patches, offset by eerie flickering darkness - and very different to usual.
There was quite an embattled atmosphere at the till (manual, of course), as the woman wearily served me.
'Get on your nerves, all this, don't it?' she said to me. I wanted to disagree, but I nodded politely.
Back to Cunningham Close, and Mum asked me to make the tea. Well, I was so carried away with it all that I emptied the whole box of tea into the pot and poured on the hot water, oblivious.
Thus was brewed probably the strongest pot of tea in the history of North and South Arbury - and perhaps even East and West Chesterton, too!
Maybe even in the history of the whole of Cambridge.
Anyway, Mum and her visitor were disgusted by my efforts - and boy did I get a telling off.
Very soon I saw the inside of my bedroom - minus the excitement of candlelight.