Friday 3 December 2010

There was no electricity

connected to the first house in which I lived. I can remember the house although I cannot remember living there. We left when I was about five or six months old. The house itself was a galvanised iron "shack" on top of a hill just outside a small country town. It had four rooms and a dirt floor. It was also the only accommodation available at the time.
I am not sure what it was like for my parents. I am told that, even then, I had problems with the heat. My parents were then required to rent a fibro-asbestos house in the town itself. There were four of these (they are still there) built in a row. They were later backed by another four. They were occupied by government employees, teachers, electricity and water supply workers.
We had power and running water! My mother must have revelled in it - although we still relied on a Metters no 5 woodburning stove for cooking. The "no 5" referred to the size.
We moved from there to the city where power was taken pretty much for granted by those around us.
Then we moved again. My parents, who both taught, were compulsorily moved around the country many times. The power supply varied. There was no power at all in one place. My parents were bringing up four children under the age of ten as well as teaching full time and studying by lamplight at night. Most people in the district simply went to bed and perhaps listened to battery operated radios with uncertain reception for a bit.
We had 240volt (standard in Australia) in a couple of places but 32volt personal generators were the norm in others. My father wrestled with those things, with "invertors", with batteries going flat at crucial times - or dying altogether. The refrigerator was "kerosene" and once leaked all over the floor. My mother used flat irons heated on the woodburning stove and was the envy of all the women in one district because she had a gas cooktop powered by bottled gas. (That she was working out of the house all day did not cut any ice with them. They coveted that cooking arrangement, especially in summer.) There was no television and radio reception was very poor. It faded to almost nothing at dusk. We did not leave lights on a moment longer than was necessary!
I thought of all this again yesterday when Jane over on How Publishing Really Works was talking about how her husband (marvellous man) was wrestling with their power supply in a remote area of England. Yes, there are remote areas of England. There are still remote areas of Australia too. The remote areas may not be quite as remote as they once were but they are still remote. Jane's family is snowed in at present. We have never been snowed in but I can remember it being far too hot to venture out of doors - and the "cold" water being too hot to put your hands under the tap.
I wish I could send Jane some of that heat right now!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

And some for us as well please! I can't get out the front door - did manage the back door, just.