Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Appreciating Power

Down our street stood many knobbly power poles. They poked up out of the ground, covered in peeling layers, hideous red-brown paint, and resembling nothing so much as old fingers.

It never occurred that anything would be done about our old poles. But, checking the post one day, we found a slip of paper informing us that the power would be turned off while the power poles were replaced.

At 8:30 the fridge's buzz ceased. Sophie flicked at the light switch. The power was gone. We sighed, and settled down for a day without power.

Sitting by windows, squinting in the dim light of an overcast day, I soon grew tired of our powerless situation. No light. And no internet! How could I check blogs, moderate comments, write emails?

While we amused ourselves without electricity, a great operation was taking place down the road. Three work teams were yanking poles out of the ground, drilling new holes, and putting in the new poles. Well, some of the men were.

Three men worked one cherry picker, seeing to one of the poles. Two men with road signs stood at either end of the roadwork zone. The rest of the men...sat around in a perpetual tea break. Occasionally the tea group would break up, each man picking up his chair and walking along the side of the road. A few metres on, they would reform the circle and continue their break.

As the day grew darker and longer, we all wished heartily for the power to come back on. But alas, there was still another hour to go.

My eyes followed the clock. 3:05. 3:10. 3:15. Beep, beep, beep. The washing machine buzzed back into life. We were free! At once we set the kettle going for coffee, opened out netbooks, and resumed normal, electricity filled lives.

I never realised how much we really do rely on power for everything. I knew we would miss the cooking appliances but until we had no power, I never knew how much I rely on power for everything else. Now we have power again, and I hope that we shan't lose it again for a long, long time.


  1. We really do rely a lot on electricity! Sounds like a good time to break out the ol' board games.

  2. That is really funny. You could write a satire of power workers. It might be the same here, only the perpetual resters are hiding...:D

  3. Actually, I love it when the power goes out! It never happens very often, so we all get pretty excited when it does go out. I think it's freeing. I like the feeling of having to depend on myself and nature for everything. :)

  4. Magdalen, my mum and two younger sisters broke out the sewing and had a sewing day. I'm not as crafty and ended up helping Charlotte design (ruin) several lovely pictures of characters for a story I'm planning.

  5. JT, you've given me an idea for a bit of writing. Perpetually resting workers. Hmm... Sounds like your workers are cleverer than our. Ours never bother to hide.

  6. Victoria, the thing I really didn't like about losing the power was that, although we had bread in the freezer, we couldn't defrost any for lunch. There were no lights. I'm just glad it wasn't winter or we would have frozen to death. But it is nice to know that we can survive without power for a day and not suffer for it. I broke out the books and drawing for amusement.