Monday, 14 January 2013

The Day Darkness Fell On Paradise

Darkness falls.  Eerie Lake Shot.

This morning at 4:45 am the power went off.  At the time, we were all sleeping soundly in our little beach house thing, with the air con going and the fans in both bedrooms on high.  So when the power failed, it created a sudden absence of noise so loud, it woke up Mike (who fondly believes himself to be a much lighter sleeper than me but who also managed to pretend to sleep through his crying babies and toddlers for their entire baby and toddlerhood). 
Perhaps he is a selective light sleeper.  

Anyways, he checked the time before going back to sleep, so as to better tell me in the morning the latest amazingly loud noise I have slept through that isn’t a crying child.

Two hours later we all awoke to a powerless holiday house.   A check of the fuse and a quick text to another family (who live less than 15m away) informed us it wasn’t just our house, but the whole complex and local neighbourhood.  A cool change had brought heavy thunderstorms, big winds and presumably, these had combined to stuff up the power source in the surrounding area. 

My first thought?  But I need a coffee!  Can you blame me?

At about 9am after cereal for breakfast, no tea, no toast and lots of shouting at anyone who dared open the fridge for more than 1 second, we all lost Telstra service.  This final injustice put us firmly in the dark ages.  Frightened and isolated, we huddled together, lamenting the lack of TV, internet and caffeine. 

Sorry kids, no TV.  
The office had no news.  The official word was: No idea, sorry.

The wind blew, the trees dripped, the power stayed off.  Our Nespresso machine mocked us in the corner.

Then Mike started making noises about leaving late this afternoon.  We are due to depart at sparrows tomorrow and drive him straight to work and I had to agree it made sense on a practical level to leave early, especially if the power remained out.  We would miss our final dinner with our friends, so I wasn’t keen.  But he was right, dammit. 

I negotiated a timeframe, if it wasn’t on by 3pm we would go at 5pm.  And I started packing up anyway as our stuff wasn’t going to pack itself, no matter when we were leaving.

One of the families we are holidaying with couldn’t stand the primitive conditions any longer and decamped to Forster, which remained in the 21st Century with light, power and coffee machines.  There they sipped espresso coffee and juice, while back at Boomerang Beach we continued to shout at the kids not to open the fridge, fiddled with our useless technology and asked reception (again) when the power would come back on. 

Answer: No idea.  “They” were working on it. 

Gosh they were miserable. They had to play outside and swim, poor little things. 
The weather was windy and cool, but the pool was warm and empty (quite a weird sight after the previous week’s multitudes).  The kids went for a swim and had loads of fun, and we discovered from reception that both power and Telstra lay tantalisingly close, in the nearby hamlet of Smith’s Lake.  A rescue party set out, to secure takeaway coffee from the Frothy Coffee Boatshed.  

As we sipped our coffees by the pool a man ran up to us, and demanded to know where we had hunted and gathered our coffee.  We told him we had sourced it not 5km away.  He ran to his car and sped off, beside himself with excitement. 

Desperate to entertain the kids, I drove the car 3km away to where the Telstra service kicked in, and picked up the signal long enough to locate cinema times.  We prepared two cars to return to civilisation in Forster to watch Wreck it Ralph.  Tempting as this adventure was, I offered to stay behind and play on my laptop, which still has plenty of charge pack. 

And then, at 1:10pm, the gentle melody of the washing machine talking to itself and seconds later, the blast of the air con restarting, announced a return to power. 

We jumped for joy.  We high fived each other.  The kids ran around everyone’s houses shouting the news.  Our tennis mad friends immediately turned on channel 7 to watch Sam Stosur actually win something.  The movie convoy left for Forster, and I sat, listening to the hum of electricity, and thanked the powers that be that I live when and where I do.

What a weird bubble of privilege we all live in.   What a bunch of soft touches we are.