Thursday, 29 September 2016

We were without power for almost

twelve hours. The main connector from the power station in the north failed in the foul weather and plunged the entire state into "darkness" - or, more accurately, a state of chaos.
I had a friend here. She was on her way home and had, as she always does on Wednesdays, called in for a "proper cup of tea" with the Senior Cat. 
I wasn't sure she would stop but she did. Her daughter called her while she was here and warned her that the traffic lights were out across the city. Everything was at a standstill - including the traffic. I hope she did eventually get home to her little unit on the southern side of the CBD. At least she didn't have to cross the entire city.
There were no trains - all the signalling is dependent on electricity and one line is electrified. The buses could not get through. Shops had to shut. Entire shopping centres had to close. I am trying not to think what might have happened to people stuck in lifts.
Middle Cat was at the surgery. There is a dental surgery next door and two dentists were in the middle of procedures. The automatic doors were not working in the building.
A magnificent tree came down in a street not far from here - and blocked the street for hours. The emergency services time line I sometimes have to monitor was a sea of red "tree down" notices this morning, along with "flooding" and "salvage" and more. At least it is back up and running and able to warn people. 
The phone lines were not working and the mobile phone towers were out of action as well.  (It also meant that the Senior Cat's emergency pendant would not have worked because it needs the phone line as well.)
In all this chaos we actually coped quite well. When this house was built my mother insisted on a gas cooktop. Her reasoning was that you were unlikely to have both a power outage and a cessation of the gas supply. It meant that you could always have a hot drink.
Yesterday this proved to be true. I put the kettle on when my friend arrived. I filled the thermos flask for her to take with her. If the power had still been out this morning I would have been able to get another hot drink and give the neighbours who don't have gas one too. 
But the weather is still wild, very wild. We will be lucky if we don't have another power outage  - but it is likely to be local and of a shorter duration. I know we are fortunate being on the same "grid" as the local hospital - because they get priority in an am emergency. 
And it all made me aware yet again how dependent we are on power. We had torches and I brought out the emergency candles.
We had soup - but no toast - as a light supper. The Senior Cat watched a DVD on his battery operated player. I knitted and went to bed early - and was up at 4am to deal with some essentials. 
This morning I went out briefly and surveyed the damage. Things have been blown around - and will get blown around some more. There are some branches down in the street and there will be more elsewhere. 
I came back in as quickly as I could.
And I have finally found a use for those pewter mugs I was awarded all those years ago. They make great candlesticks! 

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