Saturday, 17 January 2009

Blackout and A Sleepless Night

Had a power cut last night. Although they happen every day, it's unusual in the night. It means that the ceiling fan stops working and so the mosquitoes start appearing, I hide under the sheet and everything gets hot and sticky. And the fan's noise no longer masks out the cockerel's crowing, the goat's bleating, the noises from the temple, the horns, or the noises from creatures of the night. Needless to say, I didn't sleep much.

It was a little odd: last night a group of shouting men had gathered around the electricity pole outside my house maybe 30 minutes before the power cut. And this morning, at eight o'clock, when the power was restored, I heard a loud bang and saw huge sparks followed by a cloud of smoke come from the top of that same pole. It may be my suspicious mind but I just wonder if the men were up to no good. Or perhaps they were working at 11pm, in the pitch black with no torches? That would account for a connection cock-up! Anyway, I like this kill-or-cure technique of fault-finding - if the circuit breaker opens because there's a fault then close it again and hold it shut until the fault goes away. The fault exploded in a shower of sparks but I got my power back!

At six this evening, two guys appeared on a motorbike, looked around for a bit and then pointed up at the pole. They went away, turned off the electricity again and then returned with a tool - a short rope through a small piece of wood. One guy climbed the concrete post just using his bare feet and arms, wriggled through the maze of phone, electricity and telecomms cables, and then wound the rope around the pole to make a footrest. That supported one foot - the other foot he propped against the wires. He then proceeded to separate out the wires by hand and snap off the branches of trees which had also got entwined in this bird's nest of cables. I admired his confidence - he didn't test first to prove that the cables were dead before climbing amongst them. Quite amazing! The power eventually came back again, just in time for the scheduled "load-shedding" rolling blackout.

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