Power Hungry

Just before 5:30 yesterday evening, the power went off here. We are lucky not to get that many power cuts, but that also means that when we do, they are all the more unexpected, and irritating. I usually expect the electricity to come back on within half an hour or so, but after about twenty minutes, I received a text message from the power company. It was an ‘unplanned outage’, and I could find out more by following a website link attached to the message.

I was unable to do that using my ‘smart’ phone, as the phone signal wasn’t strong enough to download the information. We have a signal booster to cure this localised issue, but of course that requires power to work. Back to the old Catch 22 of an online life. No electricity equals no Internet. Although it wasn’t unduly cold, it was a dull and dank evening, so the room soon became dark. Candles were an option, but we thought we might save them for later, just in case. Besides, we were planning to go out yesterday, to social function; musical entertainment and a barbecue, organised by the local British Legion. We had bought the tickets earlier this week, and thought it might make a change.

Trouble was, Julie could not have a shower, then dry her hair. The shower is powered by electricity, to make sure it works with good pressure. She could have had a bath, using a jug to wash her hair, but it would then take ages to dry, and would be harder to style. Nothing to do but wait for the power to return. At 7:20, a neighbour called round. She told us that she had been able to contact the power company using an old style phone, and they told her the line was down to this area, and would not be back on until 9:30 at the earliest. So, the idea of going to the barbecue was scrapped, as for all we knew they had no power there, and Julie wasn’t happy to go with ‘mad hair’ anyway.

What to do for dinner then? The cooker is all-electric, so that was out of the question. The toaster is electric, so we couldn’t even have toast. I keep microwave meals for a speedy dinner solution, but the microwave is also electric, so no joy there. We have a portable camping gas stove for emergencies, but best to keep that in reserve for a harsh winter. I decided to drive out in the car, and see what was open to provide a take-away meal from a restaurant. A mile up the road, the local Thai was ablaze with light, so I went in. They were surprised to hear about the power cut, which must have been extremely local to just one side of one road. Our side of our road, unfortunately. I bought a meal, and took it home. We were very happy to demolish the food, as it was well over an hour past our usual dinner time.

As it was now almost dark, a few candles were alight, and we wondered what to do with the rest of the evening. Reading by using a torch or candle is not an option with my eyesight, and with no TV or computer, it was actually quite pleasant to just sit quietly for a while. I had the brainwave of using one of Julie’s tablets to read a Kindle book. None of them had enough power left to operate, but even if they had, I would have needed the wi-fi to be working, to be able to log on. Then I remembered the laptop, tucked away for computing emergencies. We could watch a DVD film on that, to while away the last couple of hours of power cut time. No chance though, as it hadn’t been fully charged, so wouldn’t stay on.

As promised, the power returned at 9:30. Lights came on, the TV restarted, and Julie began to plug all her devices into the assorted chargers around the room.

Life had returned to the 21st century, once again reminding us that without electricity, we are as good as helpless.

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86 thoughts on “Power Hungry

  1. I think everyone needs a weekend camping without anything, or a day of no electricity. It’s a good reminder, and we really do need to know the basics. Good thing hubby and I have a gas stove. Have match, will fire. No electricity required. Best to you, Pete.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. It’s funny when you lose the internet at work too. When I started back in 1999 it would have been troublesome but there would’ve been work to go on with. Less and less so these days. Well told story Pete, glad you have power back now.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I recently attended an induction for my new job where there was an exercise where we looked and scenarios where there was no internet or phone lines. (I now work for a telecoms company). The answer was surely absolute anarchy. Some members of the group seemed to relish the prospect. It was an interesting discussion. The reality is we are just not set up to operate without some of the systems we have become used to… I guess at every period of history there are systems without which there would be chaos but probably never more than now.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I’m reading the latest book in Terry Tyler’s Renova Series, about a dystopian future where everything goes down the drain due to a virus, and there’s no electricity, no running water… The characters seem to get on with it quite quickly, but one has to wonder, indeed (my mother’s cooker runs with gas, so there’s that. I love salads and fruit, but there’s always the worry of the food in the freezer. It would take a lot of adjusting, for sure). It’s scary to think.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Olga. I doubt human nature would cope well without electricity, and running water. I would envisage a world where violence ruled, and the strongest took whatever they wanted from the weak. A return to wood as the main fuel would soon deplete local forests too, and the ability to cut down trees and move the wood around would become the new ‘super-power’. πŸ™‚
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Like

  5. At least it was in summer time. You should have gone for a nice evening walk together. We don’t have gas either ☹ One of the many delights of country living! Fortunately I don’t bother with hair dryers and all that malarkey, I let my hair dry au naturel πŸ˜€ and as for the OH he doesn’t have any to worry about…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Although it was not cold, it wasn’t nice enough for an evening walk, Jude. Damp and dull, and getting dark early as a result. Julie would be unlikely to go for a walk without doing her hair anyway. πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚
      Best wishes, Pete. x

      Liked by 1 person

    1. I do too, Marina. I worry that it’s all to late though. Short of building a huge fire outside, I am at a loss to know how to manage in that situation.
      Best wishes, Pete.

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  6. It is amazing really how much does depend on electricity. We have had several storms that power was out for several weeks! It took all day to ash and line dry clothes. Coffee and food was made over the grill-dishes took a while too. A waterhose tossed over a fence, became a shower and we became quite efficient-but when the power came on the whole community cheered and celebrated.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Had to laugh at this post because yesterday we had one of our usual monsoon “showers” and the electric went off 3 times. My computer (of course) was down and when it finally came back on, the mouse was dead. I had to shut everything down again to to get it back. I grabbed the notebook and was about ready to notify you all that I would off-line through the afternoon – when Lo and Behold, it all went back to normal and I set out to reset the clocks on the appliances.!! Like you said, such are the perils of an on-line life!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I am luckier than you, GP. Power cuts have become a rarity here. Three times would be a real pain, having to reset all the digital clocks and timers, and dealing with blown bulbs! πŸ™‚
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 2 people

  8. Yes we are so dependent on electricity! I often marvel at how people lived such simple lives not so long ago… according to the hours of daylight, cooking their food on huge fire stoked stoves… reading by candlelight… contented I assume as they knew nothing else!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. A harder life indeed, but electricity did make things a lot safer in the main, and of course more convenient. Imagine how much wood we would need, with today’s increased population! πŸ™‚
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. In the land of beavers, plus everyone and his goat having a chainsaw, we are prone to the odd power cut, especially in winter. Luckily I bought a generator when we were building the house and it gets dusted down at least half a dozen time a year. Three extension leads keeps all the important stuff going, including the internet πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I am wondering what made the tree dangerous? Did it develop a taste for children?
    Warmest regards, Theo
    (Yes, I realize from the power company’s point of view, it developed a taste for electric wires and their supporting pole πŸ™‚ )

    Liked by 1 person

  11. When I was in Ecuador this type of thing happened quite often. Luckily for us, we had a gas stove but we were rarely told when the electricity would shut off. At the time I lived fairly close to a large mall so the outages rarely lasted longer than an hour (and usually less than a half hour) but I often took the time to go for a walk as long as the sun wasn’t beating down. While we may not always notice it when it’s on, when the electric goes off everyone can appreciate the value of what it can offer.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. You make a number of great points, Pete…we live so much of our life on the power grid, it’s difficult to function without it…I live in Southern California, where everyone is expected to have an emergency earthquake kit, with water, food, etc. I’m fairly sure almost no one does…

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  13. Power outages are not that rare in our remote corner of the world, especially in winter, when storms topple tree and make them fall into the power lines (should I call them life lines?). To have no power for a few hours is inconvenient, but for for two days is a disaster, when it is minus ten. Candles do not give much heat. Have a nice weekend, Pete!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Not so far, John. We have only had three short power cuts in six years, and this was the longest. It was a regular issue here once, and the previous owner of this house had a petrol generator in the garage, when we viewed it. It would have to happen more frequently to warrant a generator, I feel.
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

  14. Amazing…I lost power yesterday also…are we on the same grid? Ours lasted two hours….the one good thing is when you live in Hurricane Alley you have “provisions” stored for emergencies…..now enjoy a good meal chuq

    Liked by 2 people

  15. I remember when Ted Heath was Prime Minister and power cuts were the norm, he was useless of course, he also lied about what taking us into the Common Market would entail. We would sometimes go to work at 11.00 pm as that was the time β€˜allocated’ for us to get power.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Miners’ Strikes, 3-day week, and the six-day war. I remember it all well too. πŸ™‚
      And I lived in Bexley at the time, so the useless Heath was also my M.P.!
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Like

    1. I could have happily stayed in the Thai restaurant, (which has a bar at the front) but Julie wouldn’t leave the house without being able to ‘do’ her hair! πŸ™‚
      Thanks, BF.
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Michael. I am told this morning that they had to disconnect our power line to cut down a ‘dangerous’ tree. Perhaps they should have left the tree alone, and moved the line? πŸ™‚
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

  16. Oh my, sometimes we depend so much on electricity and those gadgets that we somehow forget how to function normally without them. It is so irritating at times when brownouts are not even scheduled. I smiled at your last line, “Life had returned to the 21st century, once again reminding us that without electricity, we are as good as helpless.”

    Liked by 2 people

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