Sunday, January 10, 2010

Power 'off-ages' and 'on-ages'

I started writing a post yesterday, to share our marvelous rainy day picnic adventure with you all, but was beset by the Electricity Pixies... not a new girl band but rather the little mythological creatures that toy with the Greek Electrical Power Grid, and will, with no apparent reason, flick all the power off for as little as 10 seconds to as long as 5 minutes.

(For many years, T was convinced that it was the cleaning ladies doing the vacuuming after the staff left, unplugging the power to the city while they plugged their vacuums into the socket, then when they were finished, plugging the city's power back into the socket. I however believe rather that it's the mythological beasties of the island at work.)

As we are also blessed with power cuts that can last up to 6 hours, candles and matches are placed in key locations throughout the house and used regularly.

Unfortunately, when the power goes, the internet, the cordless telephones and my USB back up battery power supply are also affected.

My current USB backup instead of giving me 1/2 hour of electric cover, is so worn down by the constant abuse, I am lucky to get 5 minutes to shut everything down and unplug! (all the while being serenaded with a loud "BEEP---BEEP---BEEP...")

So no internet, as after the fifth time of sitting in darkness for 2 minutes [Me, slowly getting up and lighting two or three candles, while starting to save and shut down programs on my laptop- POOF! The power would come back on! Ha-ha. Me, remembering new years resolution made less than ten days ago, trying NOT to laugh cynically here...] So, I just decided, "enough is enough", and just shut everything down, got a book out and read.

(I read VERY well by candlelight.)

Today I have several times started to write this post only to be plagued with thunder and lightening - and had to stop.

Yes, I know, that probably got a blank look from many of you.

Here on Corfu, when we have thunder/lightening we can have MASSIVE power surges, for why, we do not know. Over the past 10 years, personally, I have had 3 stereos, 1 answering machine, 2 sky boxes, 1 VCR player, 2 televisions, 1 USB back-up power battery, countless cordless phones and 2 laptops murdered by those "thunder/lightening surges". And that was even after we had the whole house grounded!

When we moved in, all the power points (plugs) looked grounded - how can you tell??- but we would get nasty shocks turning on lights or, particularly in the kitchen, doing anything with an electrical appliance and having damp hands and bare feet... (personally I'm convinced that all those little shocks did my heart good, keeping me pumped with tiny surges of adrenalin to regulate my heartbeat!) We had each and every electricity point grounded over the course of 4 full days with an electrician several years ago. We have never regretted that particular expenditure!

We were told once, by someone who also had fried a lot of expensive electricals, that you must be wary of electrical things tied to your telephone line (for instance: your laptop!), as the telephone lines are not grounded and will zap directly into whatever the phone lead is plugged into. (Yet another reason not to dawdle on the phone when it's raining!)

We do not sneer and shake our fists at the sky come storm time.

[I will post more tomorrow, or whenever this little storm front moves out of reach! Of course as I am finishing this short post, the sky appears to be clearing.

My "trying and failing to make herself into a very small" weather-vane dog however continues to cower with her face tucked under my bed (well til I took the picture), so she obviously still hears faint rumbles coming from some far off 'somewhere'.]

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  1. Well of course this is all so familiar to me tyou will remember from your time in Turkey. I can almost tolerate a proper powercut for hours, but this on-off-on-off thing really irritates me.

    We've had gale force winds since yesterday and it now seems that your storm is heading this way too. Strangely the temperature is still 66 degrees F. It's been an odd winter...well winter doesn't seem to have arrived yet.

  2. Oh, I feel your pain! Had the same experiences living in Ghana and Armenia. The SB bleeping, me trying desperately to shut everything down.

    The stupid thing was, that often when the electricity went out once again and I had stop my writing on the computer, I'd say to myself, "oh, well, I'll just watch TV . . . "

    Miss Footloose, not so bright in the dark ;)

  3. Such a different world... Makes one very tempted to shake off the whole dependance on electricity thing for good! Or at least for a holiday on Corfu...

  4. Greetings from what seems like another planet sometimes...! The internet was knocked for a loop and only just now seems to have come back after a small hiccup. (who knooowwws??)

    yes dear Ayak,

    this weather is not typically "winter" as we have come to know it, more like an extended autumn. storms have been very violent though. it would seem that things have cooled off a bit from last week- temps seem to be setting into the 50's (F) and the nights are going to be colder as well, so maybe THIS is winter now.

    dear Footloose,

    that thing about watching tv? I've done that! my favorite "duh" moment is generally when I go from one room to the next and flick the light switch obviously figuring, "well maybe THIS one works..." [that bright/dark thing seems to go with the territory.]

    The silliest thing with the off/on/off/on power cuts is that you feel so dumb reading with lighted candles when the power flicks back on, and not wanting to blow them out in case it cuts again!

    dear Lewis,

    yes, sometimes this does feel like another dimension - maybe in the same world but "not quite" the same plane of existence.

    For sure there's a certain pioneer spirit unleashed in the wake of the realization that the electricity (or for that matter ANY of the public utilities) can't be taken for granted.

    Overall it makes you feel quite proud of yourself for the marvelous feeling of self-reliance it engenders!

    But don't believe me... come for a visit!

    (Seriously things seem to work much better in the summer when it's the tourist season. Odd things happen of course, just not THOSE electricity odd things...)



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