Two nights ago, Israeli forces bombed the only power station in Gaza, knocking out power to thousands of homes and offices. Anyone who's had a fuse blow knows the inconvenience when the lights go out. But factor in 35 degree temperatures, the need for air conditioning, and the loss of water pumping and communications networks, and you begin to have some idea of the difficulties facing everyone living and working in the Gaza strip.
The BBC is the only Western broadcaster to maintain a permanent presence in Gaza. It's on days like this that the expertise of people like correspondent Alan Johnston comes into its own. He and his colleagues from the BBC's Arabic Service live close to our bureau in Gaza City, enabling them to draw on the context - and contacts - gleaned from literally living the story.
It's that imperative - of eyewitness reporting - that goes to the heart of what we do. It's why we maintain a network of more than 40 bureaux around the world. So in addition to Alan in Gaza, as the crisis over Cpl Gilad Shalit deepens, we now have reporters with the Israeli military, in Jerusalem, in Ramallah - and in Syria where the Hamas military leadership is based.
But deployments - who goes where - are only part of what we've been wrestling with. As ever in reporting the Middle East, language - and the choice of words - is incredibly important. Was the soldier kidnapped or captured, were the Hamas politicians arrested or detained?
Our credibility is undermined by the careless use of words which carry value judgements. Our job is to remain objective. By doing so, I hope we allow our audiences on radio and television to make their own assessment of the story. So we try to stick to the facts - civilians are "kidnapped", Cpl Shalit was "captured"; since troops don't usually make "arrests", the politicians were "detained". Doubtless some will disagree. But that's, in essence, the heart of the story - two competing narratives.