Always full of drama

Wednesday, 10 August 2011

Someone’s blown a fuse again

In 1974, in the London suburb of Carshalton, there was a power cut. I was quite young at the time but remember it being about some blokes striking because they wanted to keep their jobs digging out dirty black rocks deep underground. I think it was the same reason my mum had to queue for an hour to get a bag of sugar. Anyway the power was off several hours. The same thing happened in 1987, but was only off for about two hours. Apparently the cause this time was that some storm had annihilated most of Southern England causing hundreds of millions of pounds of damage.

The weather is pretty good here, hot sunny, barely breeze above a mouse’s fart yet so far in the last three weeks we have lost power three times. The last time was last week, whilst I was sat at my computer typing some inane and boring blog that I do to fill my days. All of a sudden the screen went blank, Duran Duran disappeared from my headphones and the fan suddenly circulated even less air than normal.

Fortunately my laptop was charged so I concluded my inane scribing on that, then watched a couple of TV programs I had downloaded (dont mention that to anyone). 

Odessa with electricity

That took a couple of hours and the end of which the power was still down, as of course was the internet. Boredom drove me back to the laptop to watch some more TV until the battery ran down on that. Ever resourceful I picked up my iPad and started to read some books on the Kindle app. For me, time disappears when I am reading, unless of course its this blog, and when the fan suddenly started to push tiny puffs of air in my direction again, six hours had passed. An entire six hours without electricity and not for the first time.

The following day with copious amounts of electricity coursing through our Soviet wiring loom, the internet went down. This happens anywhere so at first I was not concerned. After an hour of incommunicado I had look at what was going on. No Ethernet connection. This was unusual because if it was the internet service provider, the Ethernet would generally still be connected. Tania called them and they said that the line must have been disconnected somewhere. They would send someone out to check. They didnt say when.

So without my cyber lifeblood I decided to take a cooling bath cleanse away the sticky humidity. Relishing the cool refreshing water I turned on the tap to the sound of echoic gurgles and very little else. The tap was notable by its absence of activity at either extent of its rotation.

Better in the old days?

So in the space of two days we had lost three services, two of them essential and the water. The water was down for about two hours but it took until the following day for the internet to return.

Fortunately, its all up and running now, until the next time somebody trips a fuse, digs up a water main or cuts our internet cable. Still I wouldn’t have it any other way, its the unpredictability that makes living in this country so interesting.  So if this article suddenly stops you will understand exa



  1. Friends in Zimbabwe (you've probably met them) live with rolling blackouts - they even have a pretty good idea when they'll occur. Now equipped with a big UPS system that'll run the internet gear, TV and computer. Most outages are in the daytime so lighting isn't that much of an issue. Life goes on.

  2. I think they are rolling blackouts here, the problem is that no-one knows which way they are rolling. My suspicion is that they are caused by the huge amount of air conditioners here. The cuts seem to happen on the hottest days