Thursday, April 3, 2008

No Power for 48 hours!

We've just got the power back on this afternoon after the big windstorm on Wednesday. It's been a freakin' nightmare, so tonight I'm going to put the electric light on, cook my dinner on our electric stove, and watch the electric television, and chill out.

We've had no water (electric pump driven), so no toilet flushing, hand washing, or showering via the tap. Buckets-full have been acquired by climbing on top of the tank, scooping it out and positioning one in each area of need.

Cooking has been on a rusty old gas bottle driven portable ring, which was banished outside when the leaking gas smell became dangerously overpowering.

No light, apart from my man's fire fighting head torches and some weird half melted candles. We looked like miners, walking around with our head lights. I bought a $9.95 kerosene lamp from Aussie Disposals this afternoon, so we don't have to go through that debacle again.

I dropped my glasses in the dark, and stepped on them, cracking the lens and snapping the frame. More dollars down the drain and I'm stuck with my old glasses for a week, which don't work nearly as well.

It came on yesterday for ten minutes, and my pre-programmed celebratory dishwasher and washing machine heralded its arrival, only to grind to a halt as it broke down again.

Our mood has been seriously gloomy, though we did get out to see a movie last night, 'The Kite Runner', which was wonderful. We cheerily came home to an expected repair as we had been promised, but not a light to be seen as we climbed the hills.

For practical people who believe they are fairly adaptable, our routine was badly shaken up, and we were overwhelmingly relieved when we got all our services back.

How did this happen? For those overseas who were not part of our storm, there had been a cyclone up north, which sent high winds down across the south. Some of those winds were clocked at 170 k.p.h , and they were pretty impressive here at 'Hell On The Hill' (called such for obvious reasons).

That morning, I had spent a couple of hours socialising maybe 10 kms away, and noticed the trees outside the window really thrashing around. I went to check on my car, which was parked under the gums at the front of the house, and there was a branch across it. A light one, fortunately. Eucalyptus trees drop branches regularly as they grow, and have been known to fall on tents and caravans in the night, and killing people. I decided to get back home, and discovered the road back was littered with loads of forest scraps, requiring quite a lot of dodging about the road to avoid scratching the car.

Back home, we had a serious gale going, with heavy verandah furniture and nick nacks tossed 50 odd feet away. I heard the dog bowl go skating across the concrete, to disappear miles down along the fenceline.

Then the power went out, and stayed off........................

It turned out a neighbor had rung the services to report the fault, and was told he was the only one to complain, so it wasn't a priority (and not the eleven plus kilometres of residents who were also in trouble!). With that, he gave the operator a nasty serve as he is prone to do, meaning the notice was pushed onto the back burner. By the time I rang through, the phone line was in meltdown, and there was just the engaged signal. They said later, that they usually had about 200 calls per day, and were fielding 70,000!

You get more with honey that you do with vinegar.


Andrew said...

Wow, welcome back to the real world. How hideous. As I said in my ill thought out post on the matter, it would not have been so long in the days of the State Electricity Commission.

I did have a vague thought that you weren't around of late but I did not consider that you were a storm victim.

BlissHill said...

Yes, Andrew, I like 'hideous'. It described that event well. We are still recovering.

Colin Campbell said...

I always get great satisfaction in serving up unsuspecting customer service trolls. Worst of the bunch at the moment is Optus. Don't even consider it. Great when things work. Disastrous if anything goes wrong.

When I was in Scotland we used to have days like that. Here in Adelaide it is usually no more than a few hours.

It was ironic that it was so close to Earth Hour. Most people have no idea just how dependent we are on the grid. There is some sensitivity here in South Australia, because the power utility was sold to foreign investors by the previous liberal government. The current Labor Government loves to pull their chain if they don't deliver during weather events.