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The Cut of Power

Power CutAt sometime during the hour of 3AM a beeping insisted its way from my computer room. It was an Uninterruptable Power Supply. This particular one has given me more grief than it’s worth, in fact the computers attached to it have had a lot more power interruption because the damn thing, it keeps tripping off, than if I’d left them directly connected to the National Grid. In fact I can’t think of a single power failure I’ve had in the seven years I’ve lived here, this UPS has cut out on me at least a dozen times. That rather defeats the object of a UPS. So I turned the computer room lights on, the energy saving fluorescents seem to take quite a while to fully kick in but I didn’t think much of it at the time. I prod the on/off button on the offending UPS but it just bleeps and dies again. Try three or four times, the same. It’s finally died. Probably about time, it’s given me enough grief so it will be good to replace it. I unplug it to stop it beeping until the light of morning. Unfortunately it turns out that the UPS wasn’t dead, it just knew better than I did.

A few hours later the truth comes out. All the buildings power has failed. 9AM on a wet, overcast Sunday morning I’m rummaging through my computer room to find that old corded telephone so I can call out to the electricity company. Digital cordless phones are great (except my living room one that randomly fails to correctly pick up) but they don’t work when there’s no power. There’s been an explosion down the road from you, the fire brigade were called out and it is now safe for our engineers to try to repair the link. Huh? Explosion? Fire brigade? I didn’t hear any of that. The person on the emergency electricity line also added that they expected to have power back up by about midday. About 3 hours. That won’t be so bad. Of course you and I can now see where this is going…

Without power I am, well, powerless. Like Popeye without his spinach or Velma without her glasses! My computers didn’t work. My TV didn’t come on. My lights wouldn’t light (given the overcast nature of the day I had trouble even reading in the natural light!) The hot water didn’t come on. No shower for me that morning. Smelly. So, what could I do? Not much. I read as best I could for a bit and then went down town to catch the shops opening at 11AM. Bought a couple of bits, grabbed some lunch and then returned to see if the power had come back. It must have been gone 1PM. No power, of course. In the virtual twilight, with a bit of help, I fitted a new carpet. It was planned so nothing was going to stop me!

Somehow one of the two local newspapers had gotten wind of the power cut and a rather drenched looking reporter trudged up to my front door. Umbrella and pencil in one hand with a rather sodden notepad in the other, he asked a few questions. I didn’t know very much about the situation. He tried the old leading question of ‘do you feel frustrated by this’ but I gave him a the answer he didn’t want to hear, I said I didn’t mind, lying. He soon went off to find someone else. I was a bit surprised, it hardly seemed like news, especially not news enough to get a reporter knocking on doors on a miserably wet Sunday afternoon. Of course I immediately phoned Hobbit, as known on this blog and works at the other local paper, to warn her that the competition were sniffing around for a story. She couldn’t figure out their interest either.

Increasingly worried about the state of my fridge and freezers (it had been well over 12 hours with no power by this point) I went out for Sunday dinner. It was almost dark by this stage and I had no idea if there would be any power or heat when I returned. I quickly dropped by town again to buy a decent torch and some candles, just in case. There wasn’t only the light and chilled carcasses to worry about, oh no. What about Torchwood? I came so close to buying a house full of HD kit ready for Torchwood and now I might not even be able to see it at all?! Oh the… inconvenience! I’d had a couple of kind offers to see Torchwood around other people’s places so I was, in truth, unlikely to actually miss the historic debut but I still wanted my TiVo to catch it.

The half a dozen or so electricity company vans, and their drenched in a trench crew, came good. When I got home about 8PM, an hour before Torchwood was to start, the power had just returned. I quickly booted up the TiVo and various other bits of essential kit and all appeared to work still! The feared power surge hadn’t damaged anything. That dodgy UPS may have actually saved some of my computers. It gets a reprieve, for now.

As for Torchwood, well, more on that in another place (when I get to it!).

3 Responses to "The Cut of Power"

  1. Purcell Unplugged – avalible on dvd this monday!

    Now the techno mage realises the power of…um..well..no..no power, really…er….

  2. Ian Mc says:

    Foolish Mortal! Curse your dependance on the infernal technology! Bah!

  3. hobbit says:

    Still can’t work out what all the fuss was about. Tch, I leave the company and they all turn into puddings 🙂

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