Midnight ‘switch-off’ was a shock

A personal view
A personal view
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Suddenly plunged into darkness on an isolated footpath in the pouring rain, it was one of those moments I severely doubted the wisdom of my actions.

It was Saturday night and, after an evening at a friend’s house, I was unable to get a taxi home. Having consumed a couple of glasses of wine I decided walking the two-mile stretch was a good idea and set off shortly before midnight.

I first realised I might have been hasty when I crossed the footpath in a desolated field between East Close and Shaker’s Lane. During the day it is a lovely walk but at night I felt exposed and vulnerable, especially when I heard footsteps behind me. Despite assuring myself I had nothing to worry about, my strides immediately became longer. At Symonds Road I turned up the secluded foot and cycle path, confident the footsteps seemed further away, but was not prepared for the disconcerting moment the lights went out.

Stumbling slightly in the darkness, I was glad to see the streetlights still blazing on the other side of the road. Walking as briskly as is possible when you can’t quite see where you’re putting your feet, I raced to reach a cutting through the woods and cross over to the perceived safety of a well-lit path.

By 12.20am I was safely home: cold and wet but mostly relieved.

I was aware many streetlights in Suffolk were switched off between midnight and 5.30am since 2011 – to save Suffolk County Council £550,000 per year – however as I don’t make a habit of walking from one part of town to another in the wee small hours it still came as a shock.

n Last week Graham Turner talked in his column about the 70s being in fashion. I beg to differ: I think the 90s are back in style. Lately, every time I walk into a clothes shop I regret getting rid of anything I owned in my teenage heyday. ‘If only I still had my long-sleeved white crop top’ I mused at the weekend. But it’s probably not a bad thing all those clothes were consigned to the charity shop decades ago, as what looked good on a 16-year-old is almost certainly NOT appropriate attire for someone 20 years older.