Back in 1973/74 we had the Arab oil crisis which hit Britain as it hit the U.S.A. Fuel prices soared, lines formed at the gas pumps, and here in the U.K. some industry was forced into shorter working weeks. Power blackouts started to become fairly common.
It wasn't just the oil crisis though, because we also suffered major strikes by power workers and miners at the time (Britain in general was plagued by strikes throughout the 1970s).
At one point it got so bad that the "electricity boards" (as they were called then) started to issue weekly announcements in the form of a printed table. It was divided into rows of squares for each day of the week, with the hours printed across the top.
Each square was printed white, gray, or black to indicate low, medium, or high probability of a blackout ("power cut") in that period.
Now, as the 8-year-old boy I was at the time, naturally I looked forward to the periods marked in black with a certain anticipation and sense of adventure! The few times (very
few as I recall) that a black period came and went without the lights going off was sheer disappointment! Then there were those pesky gray squares: Will it or won't it?! And yes, there was the occasional bonus of a blackout during a white period.
If the blackout lasted into the evening, it meant dinner cooked on a portable gas camp stove and sitting around with candles and flashlights. If we were really
lucky, it might mean a day off school!
Of course, my parents probably didn't see it quite the same way, and after a while it led to my father buying a couple of RV-style 12-volt fluorescent lights and running wiring back to a spare battery and charger in the cupboard under the stairs.
The battery also served to run the little 12" portable TV that came up from our holiday trailer. (Many times the local transmitter was off as well, and it meant watching a somewhat snowy picture from a more distant transmitter, and sometimes that was off too!)
The camping stove continued in fairly frequent use until the crisis was over.
If it all happened again today, I wonder if I'd still be able to see it as the great adventure I saw it as back then. Probably not.