29 September 2015

Midnight blackout - the joys of rural living.

In the wee small hours of Friday morning I awoke to total silence and pitch black.  I can sleep through a thunderstorm but anything unusual in the house wakes me pretty quickly.  The bedside light was dead and who had been tidying up because the torch was missing? Turns out ipads are useful for more than emails and e-books; the illuminated screen was bright enough to let me find the missing torch and then I could check it wasn't just us. A quick glance out of the back windows showed the telephone exchange across the way in darkness, and peering through the tall trees in the front hedges suggested the street light at the end of the lane was out too.  The silence was delightful, no hums from the electricity in the walls, all the machinery was quiet leaving only the aga gently bubbling away.  Outside the clear sky was inky black and the stars were bright pinpricks in the darkness.  However,  a few hours later and still no power back I began to wonder about the Weekly edition.  My laptop was nearly out of battery, the useful ipad was at 50% - but no wifi, the router's UPS had been interrupted and I can't remember the last time I checked the generator. Should I stumble around in the dark grovelling in cupboards for the old analogue phone (round here mobiles stop working in power cuts) and report the fault?  I decided against that as I'd probably wake the rest of the household, it could wait until morning proper.
I wasn't the only one floundering around in the dark, AW's children were woken by the lack of the landing night light and had a slight melt down, her nephew was disturbed by the baby monitor bleeping and he promptly woke the whole house, his dad (AW's brother) stumbled across the landing to settle him, switching on lights left, right and centre.  Everyone was calm and back to bed.  Until the power came back and nephew was woken by his overhead light coming on at full brightness!  Oops.  And the rest of the village was disturbed by alarms triggered by the electricity return.  Not a very restful night.
And none of you knew anything at all about it - which of course is exactly as it should be: the office server stayed on but everything else needed rebooting and fortunately by 10 we were back up and running, somewhat bleary eyed and frowzy headed but CJS Weekly went out as usual and we can still say we've never missed a deadline, phew.

But it's only September! And not snowy or windy the usual reasons the power goes out.  Eventually we discovered that it was a lightning strike further up the valley.  Anyway, we're now stocked up on batteries, my torch has been returned to its rightful place next to the bedside light, the jerry can for the generator has been checked and will be topped up at the weekend and we're back to recharging laptops on a very regular basis!