A Slow Recovery

Well, it has been an eventful time, but certainly not a productive one. I couldn’t even work on books or covers for most of it and I haven’t been able to work out author payments for this quarter yet.

The storm hit us on the evening of November 26th. The power went out but that’s not at all unusual during storms here. We lit the fireplace, lit candles and settled down to wait. It usually comes back on in a few hours.

Not this time. This time, it stayed off. The landline phone was dead, my mobile had no signal and CStM could only get a weak signal on her phone by standing at the door to the greenhouse. Seems it was time to party like it’s 1699.

Doing this, she was able to determine that the power outage affected most of Scotland north of Edinburgh. And that it was likely to last some time. We had just had a food delivery a couple of days earlier so the freezers were well stocked. As the ‘estimated repair time’ shifted back further and further, the freezers were getting up to the point where they would start to thaw.

At this point I was very glad I bought that generator. Considering how much was in those freezers I’d say it’s now paid for itself. It also allowed us to get the water pump going again.

Of course, there was no writing/editing/emailing during this time since computers don’t really work that well with no power, no matter how loudly you swear at them.

The power returned for a while on Sunday afternoon. It went out again on Tuesday for another 12-hour blackout, then came back again.

Still the landline was down so no mains internet. My phone still had no signal so I couldn’t use it as a hotspot. CStM’s phone was our only link to the outside world so it would have been unwise for me to use up her data by sending out a ton of emails containing book/cover attachments.

Here is the landline problem. This part of the garden looked like this in March 2020. The little yellow arrow points to the phone line which links the house (out of shot to the left) to a post that’s on the other side of the trees. The line goes through the trees.

On the morning of November 27th, it looked like this. The phone line is gone. So is the one linking to the next pole in line. I have no idea how far the line is down but this isn’t going to be a quick fix.

By December 3rd my phone was beginning to pick up a little bit of signal. Intermittent, but it was there. I tried setting it up as a hotspot but the connection was far too unstable to be any use. Anything from a brief and hopeful 4G to ‘no signal’. I have a feeling the local mast was down. Today it seems stable once more but I’ve taken the precaution of typing this offline so I can just do a quick copy/paste.

The weather continues to be appalling and I can quite understand why nobody would want to work at the top of a pole or with anything electrical in these conditions. At the time of posting this, it does not look like the landline will be back in action any time soon.

So I have only one option. I have taken out a further mobile contract with one of the few providers still covering this area and will be using that as a data link. It’s 4G, it’s fast, but I do have a monthly limit and I really have to prioritise the books right now.

So if I don’t immediately answer emails, please don’t get upset. I was behind with the books before all this happened and I’m way, way behind now. If I’m going to get Christmas day off, it’s all work for a while.

Sorry about the low quality photos. I can’t waste data on the good ones right now.

12 thoughts on “A Slow Recovery

  1. I currently have unlimited mobile data on my phone, a hangover from my previous business contract, which is normally about £30/month. We recently switched broadband provider, and that includes 4g automatic failover (switches to 4g when the landline fails) at £28/month. My use case is different because I have a full time remote job (i.e. always on, fast internet is mandatory).

    For somewhere truly remote though, I’d be thinking about Starlink or something (not a cheap option).

    But like everyone else who uses computers, I’d be completely stuffed without power. Don’t have a backup for that.

    .

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Old fella and CstM, I am beginning to think that, while your phone and lekky are subject to the whims of random trees that got there before you did, you might consider “colonising the spaces”, or some of them, that the “indigenous” trees had temporarily made their own?

    The Planet is For Man; Man is not “for the Planet”…that Planet which is not even aware of the slight and shifting micro-patina of moist biospheric greensmear and brownsmear, nowhere more than a few feet thick anywhere, upon its surface at any instant of time.

    If certain trees have to go to firewood, for you to have lekky and a signal, then those trees have to go.

    It’s a shame about a few trees, but we need you two to keep us sane and to keep us informed and to publlsh books. As Meghan Markle said about trashing the Daily Mail…”I’m not doing this for me, but for all those who are scared…” I’m saying the trees will have to go because we’re all scared that we can’t hear you.

    And you can put them in the woodpile anyway.

    Liked by 2 people

      • If you’re getting a house built these days, I would recommend having at least one chimney and flue put in, but built so that it does not emerge above the roofline. Call it a ventilation duct space on the plans, to hide it from the planners’ eye.

        A chimney-in-waiting, if you will, which at some future date can be turned into a chimney by extending it above the roof, a thing which will not require planning permission. Green planners are a plague and a pestillence on the world and should be thwarted at every turn; just because a common housing feature is not needed right now does not mean that it may not be needed at some point in the future.

        Liked by 2 people

  3. I suppose I am a good deal luckier, being fairly close to biggish cities and due to proximity to a couple of now-defunct power stations where I am has fairly decent power connectivity. Similarly the broadband here is fairly good.

    If I moved further out into the hinterlands, I would look very seriously at Starlink. For all its flaws it has one good point: it sets a baseline level of service which an entirely terrestrial supplier must meet in order to have any business at all. Even living here, I am thinking seriously about bringing one of this terraced house’s fireplaces back into use (the downstairs ones have gas fires, the upstairs and cellar ones are blanked off) as somewhere to site a wood burner, and as an exhaust for a small generator. That would give me an additional heat source when power and/or gas supply failed.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Yes Guess who felt a bit housebound and had all these cardboard packets hanging around On the fire they went, I couldnt be arsed to recycle them Let me get a bit of calorific heat from them. Sorry to hear youve had such a bad time I hear it was off for a week . Thats wholesale nightmare. If that had happened in the whole of Britain people would have gone crazy. Really crazy.

    Like

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