Powerless. That is me today.  For two reasons.

  1. Essential maintenance of the local Electrical transformer and the power will be off from nine to five.
  2. It is also the day when Public sector workers across the UK are due to have a holiday go on strike.  Why?  Because of proposed changes to pensions for public sector workers, and spending cuts. It’s mainly about pensions – as people live longer, the cost of funding public sector pensions is “unsustainable”, so says the government. It wants most public sector workers to:

* pay more into their pensions
* work for longer
* and accept a pension based on a “career average” salary, rather than the current final salary arrangement which many of them are currently on

Unions, however, say the proposals will leave their members paying more and working longer for less.

There will be no buses or trains running, most schools will remain closed and hospitals will provide emergency services, while elective surgeries and outpatient clinics will be cancelled. As well as those working in health, education, transport and the civil service, workers in local councils, the NI assembly, the PSNI (Police), Human Rights Commission, the Equality Commission and the Labour Relations Agency and a host of other non-departmental public bodies are also expected to take strike action.

The private sector should be working as normal, and since my electricity provider comes into this bracket, the transformer maintenance should go ahead. I was notified about the lack of power about ten days ago by letter, and yesterday afternoon I had a phone call from the company to check that I had arrangements made for food etc., for the duration.*

Anyhow, an early cooked breakfast, and a late dinner will be the order of the day,  I have a small single ring camping gas stove so I should not run out of hot drinks and I’ll fill a flask with my own homemade soup for lunchtime.  I’ll not starve by any means.

Weather permitting I’ll walk down the hill, and through the park in the morning.  I’ll have the phone and Laptop charged, so I’ll drop in at some stage to check up on you.

I have decided to toast my toes at the open fire for the afternoon.  Wisewebwoman will know what I mean when I say “I’ll try not to get the ABC’s“!  Worry not, for it is no dreadful life threatening disease. It was a condition way back in the last century, before any, never mind every home, had central heating. We gathered as a family round the fireside and watched the glorious display of flickering flames take half the heat up the chimney.

The older the women, the closer they sat to the fire. By the end of the winter their shins were burned from the heat leaving a series of small dark red rings from knee to ankle.  The men may have suffered in the same way, but since they never removed their trousers, we were never able to confirm this fact.  Houses were not so well insulated back then and drafts whistled under doors and around windows, Our fronts were roasted and our backs were frozen. The bedrooms back then were so cold the frost formed on the inside of the glass and people got dressed to go to bed!  Brrrr!

I have knitting at the ready, and a few sewing repairs that can be done by hand.  I might even find distraction with a book.  I’m hoping it won’t be another dark and dreary day.  The candles are at the ready, so I’ll come to no harm.

* Since I have a heart condition and live alone, I am on the ‘At risk’ register.  It was the electricity company that suggested I have my name added.  They  keep me informed of any scheduled breaks in transmission, and check up on me during unscheduled breaks.  The Water service now have a similar list.  I am not sure if everyone in NI is aware of these lists.

15 thoughts on “Powerless

  1. Baino

    That’s a long outage! Well keep your tootsies warm. At least you have an open fire. I’d have to sit here wrapped in a doona in the winter. As for the public sector strike? IF they’re like ours and work a 35 hour week with Flexitime… can’t see a problem with increasing their pension contributions really.

  2. Ursula

    Today’s set up sounds cosy, Grannymar. Hope you’ll enjoy both the walk and the fire. This minute I envy you both.

    And thanks for the reminder. Had completely forgotten about the strikes. Am now wondering how it’ll affect me. Luckily my short term memory is currently on strike too so will, in about five minutes time, have forgotten what may threaten today’s well being. I take it then that a new rubbish bin I ordered from the Council a few weeks ago is in no danger of turning up today.

    Take care,

  3. Rummuser

    Mayo beat me to the punch. I do hope that you organised that. After all, they too will be on enforced holiday, and, being male, may not have organised themselves as you seem to have.

  4. Mike G.

    I hope the scheduled outage worked out shorter than planned.

    Our power outages are always weather related and we try to be prepared, just in case. Yesterday, I cut down a small tree to add to our stock of just-in-case-we-lose-power firewood. We don’t use our fireplace on a regular basis. It only heats one room well and the back rooms get cold — just like the good old days. 😉

  5. Delirious

    You make a difficult situation sound so inviting! I know what you mean about the dreary day though; we have had fog for the past couple of days, and it really is dreary out.

  6. wisewebwoman

    Oh you are well prepared, GM, as ever! Enjoy the old fashioned lifestyle, I don’t understand those who romanticize it. I remember one of my friends having chilblains (remember those?) she still has scars.
    When I was in my in-laws’ house for the first time (in Cork) I remember being staggered that each and every inside door had a heavy velvet curtain to keep out the drafts. The house was over 200 years old.
    I should write about it, it sounds so gothic now.

  7. Marianna

    Since it’s our interpretation (perception) of events that causes stress, you get high marks from me – Auntie Stress – for dealing positively with events outside of your control.

    1. Blogging and sharing.
    2. Being prepared.
    3. Looking at the day as an adventure of sorts.

    I wonder if our gas and hydro companies offer the same service. That’s something I’ll look into for some of my friends who have many miles under their feet.

  8. Brighid

    Sounds like you have the day covered. The gas ring camp stove though has me concerned. I was always told not to use them indoors. Stay safe & cozy.
    Very foggy here the last week, it burns off for a minute mid-day and then is back. Good ol sunny California!

  9. Grannymar Post author

    Thanks – Girls and boys, I am back on the grid once more. Thanks for your wishes and concern. The work was pretty major. Trees were cut, poles & overhead cables replaced and goodness knows what else was repaired/replaced at the sub station. The guys were on their marks well before 9 a.m., but the power was not cut until seven minutes past the hour.

    I was glad to have the walk this morning instead of taking the car. we had a contraflow all the way down the hill to the end of the road. One pavement was completely out of bounds and even in our estate, there were old cables lying all over.

    The fire was cosy. I had candles at the ready and lit them at three thirty…. maybe the guys up the pole near me saw them and thought I was praying for them!! 😆

    One day without power is really no hardship, but a gentle reminder of how some other people live 24/7/365!

    WWW – Let that story roll, the young folk today don’t know they are living. Now I am off to heat up a plateful of your Chilli recipe.

    Marianna – One of the reasons for this piece was to Hi-light that at-risk service. Diabetes, chest problems and heart conditions can all suffer when power/heat is absent.

  10. Nick

    Glad you got through the day without any mishaps. It was helpful of them to check that you were well prepared for the power cut. As you say, we take electricity for granted but some people have lived their whole life without it.

  11. Grannymar Post author

    Nick – I was fortunate to have everything ready. Being Winter time with short days, meant the men would have to finish before dark.

  12. Alice

    Well I certainly everyone gets their ducks in a row and things get back to a reasonable normal soon. I remember those toasted backsides and frozen fronts (& vice versa) fireplace heating from my Florida days. Even now our house is so old and takes so much to heat it properly (& we refuse to raise the thermostat) that we resort to the gas logs in the evening and I go through the same motions, turning myself as if I were a piece of bread toasting in the fireplace skillet!

  13. Grannymar Post author

    Alice – It all went to schedule and I was back online at the agreed time.

    Tilly – Everything went well, and I had an away day today!


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