If like me you tend to burn the midnight oil at the best of times – and you live in Warwickshire, you will have noticed something odd, dark and a little sinister in recent months.
No street lights!
Well, after midnight of a week night, and 1.00pm at weekends.
That’s right, for those of you not local, Rugby in the main – and also large parts of Warwickshire, does not have any street lights on and light in most of its residential streets as such until the sun rises.
In doing so, compromising our safety at night time.
And the result of it all; well, to be honest, 1. It is a strange sight, 2. Generally a bit unnerving.
Seeing my street shrouded in pitch darkness has been strange.
And two instances in recent weeks have really demonstrated what a bizarre and unnerving situation this is.
Walking home a party the other week, you lose track of time and although I was five minutes or so from home, I suddenly realised the witching hour had arrived and the lights were off. Spooky. Ok, so the last few streets were ‘lit’ it seems every six houses by light sensors on front porches and moonlight from a relatively clear sky, but still, you are walking in darkness in a residential area; whether it is known as being safe or not.
The second instance: just the other night, when I was calling one of our two cats in. Literally one moment the lights were on; the next they weren’t and street was plunged into darkness. Someone had literally flicked a switch. Good night!
Talk about progress? This is very much going back in time. Ever since Victorian times has there been street lights (street lighting by gas was first introduced in London in 1807 I believe), even if back then it was fraught with danger.
Amid some public anger and discomfort, there have been calls to bring back street lighting, and the local political parties are championing the cause as part of their manifesto for the local elections; Labour saying they will reinstate street lights throughout the night if they get in.
For the moment though, as with most things, most of us continue to be left in the dark. And to be honest it is not good.