For the last few weeks our lights have been flickering a little which initially we put down to the weather (high winds, heavy rain) and then to power surges as the heating went on and off. Then we started having little blackouts. I would put a light on in the kitchen and it would immediately go out but then come back on again, we get up in the morning and the microwave time display would be flashing 00:00 meaning the power had cut out during the night and so on. Occasionally it occurred to me that we might be experiencing something serious enough to start an electrical fire – one of those scary fires that starts in the ceiling so that you don’t even know about it until it’s way too late.
So Wednesday I decided to do the responsible thing and email the land agent to report it as a fault. And then around 11am I went to make a cup of tea – switched on the kettle and all the power through out the whole house zapped out. I waited fifteen minutes and still no power.
I went to call the landlord to say “emergency! please help!” but the phone was dead when I picked up the receiver — ahh yes — you need power to work these fancy-pants phones we have. No phone, no electricity, no car, legs that don’t work very well… I almost dissolved right there and then in a pool of self-indulgent misery.
So I put on my walkin’ shoes and hobbled up to our local shops in search of a phone box. I couldn’t find one anywhere and I was beginning to worry that my legs would give up altogether so I staggered into the local butcher to ask him if he knew where the nearest public phone could be found. Brett (“The Incomparable” according to his window blind) who knows me and knows my mum even better cleaned the meat globules off his phone and I got to tiptoe around behind the counter and out the back through the hanging carcasses to call my Mum. Whaaa!
To cut a long story shorter… back at home, after having gone to my parents to call all relevant parties (land agents, electricians etc) I sat around in the cold and dark doing a little cross stitch until I couldn’t make the stitches out as the sun set while various electricians came and went examining switches and metres. Finally we discovered that the cable to the house had melted through and burnt out completely at the point where it meets the house at the meter and it had started to burn away at the wood. No wonder I could smell wood smoke just outside our front door every now and then. The electrician who discovered this told me the “big trucks” would have to come to fix this and that might take another few hours… Big-P arrived home from work and we got take-away pasta for dinner while we huddled around a couple of pathetic little ornamental candles, stomping our feet to keep warm and having a conversation rather than watching TV as we ate. We had to leave for our first parenting and childbirth class at 7pm so Mum and Dad very kindly came and sat in the dark to wait for the big trucks for us.
When we got home all power was back on and apparently the men in the big trucks said that it is a very lucky thing that we don’t live in a timber home, and Mum said she was sure she overheard them saying how “lethal” it was. Scary stuff.
The parenting and childbirth class at our hospital was pretty good – lots and lots of people there all due at the same time as me so I hope I get a birthing suite and don’t have to deliver in a corridor. Big-P and I had to introduce ourselves, tell everyone what our occupations are and what are hobbies are. While everyone around us had hobbies like football, stafordshire bull terrier breeding, water skiing, racing cars, hunting, carpentry and so on, we realised that we didn’t have any hobbies that we could just announce to the room like that. “Ummm, browsing the internet and ummm, writing about my life on my website” would sound a little freaky to this footballing, dog breeding crowd, I’m sure. So apart from looking like the lamest couple in the room it was an informative and even entertaining evening. We discussed how to tell when you really go into labour and saw lots of demonstrations of weird, filthy dolls being pushed through plastic pelvises. There was even a knitted pink womb and couple of purple placentas as props just like in Kaz Cooke’s pregnancy book “Up The Duff”.
We have five more of these classes to go and by then we will be experts. Apparently I should have already packed my bag for hospital incase of early labour. I better go out and get some decent pajamas.