Even as a child I was a fan of camping. The whole getting away from the city, exploring the wilderness and spending nights by a fire, toasting marshmallows and gazing at the stars – my idea of bliss.
Power loss at ones home on the other hand is not.
You don’t think about everything in your home that requires power. That is you don’t think about it until you no longer have it. Not only did we have no way to refrigerate food, watch TV or get on the WiFi but we had no mobile reception either and thus no way to call anyone. Just wonderful.
On the day following the cyclone we assessed our place for damage. Overall we were fairly lucky and although one of our empty rain water tanks took a bit of a tumble, our biggest loss was our garden shed. The roof ended up in our neighbours block, 150m away.
Whilst we had daylight Mr X used it to move all the valuable equipment from underneath the tarps to the other shed where we house our cars. It was already stinking hot thanks to the humidity and the high Summer temperatures so I hid in the house, away from the sun, with a good book and plenty of cups of water. I was a few chapters in when Mr X entered the house carrying a car battery and a towel flung over his arm.
“Can you grab that towel and fold it up on the floor for me?”
I did what he asked and he placed the battery on the fabric and disappeared out the door again only to return a moment later with another electrical item, an Inverter.
“I was listening to the radio in the car and heard that the phone lines were still working so I thought to hook this up.”
After a few more moments the Inverter hummed to life and Mr X connected the phone and modem to the power board and next thing we had internet. I immediately jumped online and discovered that we were on a very long list of people and business who had no power.
“Lot’s of power lines are down just about everywhere and debris all over the road. They are warning people to stay off the roads so emergency services can get around but there are still idiots out there driving around with live wires on the ground.”
Mr X nodded his head and flicked at his phone screen.
“We should source some ice tomorrow and maybe some fuel for the 4WD. I’m not sure how long it will last charging this battery…”
Like the day before it, the next day was ridiculously hot and sticky. Mr X had spent the morning tarping people’s homes and cutting up fallen trees whilst I tried not to die of dehydration at home. Normally I’m ok with the heat as long as I have air blowing on me but there was absolutely no breeze and because we had limited power I couldn’t procure one. I passed the time surfing the net and reading my book.
After lunch we headed into the city and it was just as crazy as I imagined it would be. There were limited petrol stations open due to the power outage and the ones that were people and cars were lined up outside them – each waiting their turn. In hindsight we probably should have brought our own jerry cans but since we had limited fuel we decided to use it procuring ice and some more candles. We tried for a generator but everywhere was sold out.
“They are talking about getting another shipment in tomorrow so I’ll get here early and get one, k?”
Mr X knew I was suffering. Not so much from TV or electrical lighting withdrawals but from the heat. What I would give to have an operational pedestal fan.
“Thank you.” I said, squeezing out a small smile at his suggestion.
Mr X hugged me tight in reply.