Gransnet forums

Chat

Well, that was a fun weekend …… not!

(81 Posts)
Katek Sun 28-Nov-21 22:45:25

Thanks to storm Arwen we have just had a 3 day power outage! As if that wasn’t bad enough we also woke up to snow this morning. Heating off, no mobile signals, no internet, no cooker/kettle, no showers., We’ve managed with gas fire in the sitting room, camping stove, fleece throws and a little radio. At one point the temperature in our bedroom was only 10.2. The electricity company had ‘welfare vans’ at strategic locations where you could get hot food/drinks. Apparently the damage to equipment has been horrendous and repair crews had to be stood down at times as it was highly dangerous to continue. Wind speeds were around 100mph. It’s strange to think we’ve been part of an event!

BlueBalou Wed 08-Dec-21 17:51:29

Although we haven’t had a power cut yet (keeps everything firmly crossed!), I always have candles, matches, camping lantern, batteries and torches to hand. Luckily we have a gas hob and I’m definitely going to get a camping stove if our next house is all electric.
I remember a hideous 10 days in the winter of 81/82 when I had a 6 month old baby and a two year old with no electricity, gas, telephone or means of leaving the cottage because of 9 foot snow drifts filling the lanes. I was melting snow for water. Luckily I had a wood burner (a must in next house) for cooking and heat in one room. It was utterly miserable.
My in-laws at the farm had power, heating etc and 3 empty bedrooms but my MIL ‘didn’t want crying children around’ - that sums her up to a T🤬😡

Magnolia62 Wed 08-Dec-21 14:36:57

Reminds me of the storms in 1989/1990, living in an isolated farmhouse in Cornwall with 3 young children, 6, 3 and 4 months. Luckily I was breast feeding. The electric was off for 3 days, power cable disconnected so no electric to power the pump for the oil central heating. I stuck baby in a back pack and scouted the out sheds in horrendous weather conditions for some firewood to light the open fire which we had avoided doing before as we believed there were birds’ nests in the chimney. Luckily it was ok. My 3 year old vividly remembers putting on wellies and being told to stamp on any sparks from the damp wood. Phoned husband at work to get him to buy coal and candles on his way home. Brought all the mattresses downstairs and lived in one small room. Had only one small camping stove to cook on. Washing up and sponge washes were a big problem.

Husband, a teacher, phoned work to explain the crisis as my car was off the road having been smashed into a few days before and I had no way of getting to the shops to get supplies and suitable food. He was docked 2 days pay but we fought and got that back!

It was horrendous and miserable. I really feel for all those people without power. Feeling cut off and cold is awful.

SueDonim Sun 05-Dec-21 11:58:45

Ah yes, pumps! One friend used to have a private supply on a country estate but it came down to them by gravity. However, it had cryptosporidium in it one summer. That was fun. hmm

I’m not going to think about next weekend - there’ll be loads of us here with family coming from the US. 👀

Katek Sun 05-Dec-21 10:37:47

The problem with private water supplies is that the wells are operated by electric pumps, ergo, no water! Enough water has fallen in the last 24 hours to float the Ark. We have flooded roads, diversions and closures this weekend after last week’s outages. Wonder what’s going to happen next weekend!shock

SueDonim Sun 05-Dec-21 09:12:25

Eater supply? Fortunately, we didn’t have to resort to cannibalism! grin

SueDonim Sun 05-Dec-21 09:11:39

I think I recall the gas problems you had, Monica. flowers

Part of the issue people in this area had was that there was no water, either. It’s almost impossible to live without both power and water, unless you have a private eater supply. Even then, the authorities were telling people to boil it first, which if you have no power or stove can’t be done. The water company supplied bottled water from a depot but without internet/phones, you wouldn’t have known that and in any case, it was gone within minutes as it’s hard to supply an entire town.

I think councils etc are really going to have to think hard about how we can cope better with these occurrences in future.

M0nica Sun 05-Dec-21 08:02:44

There is a reason why rural properties have stoves of all kinds.

We have not been without electrcity but a couple of years ago we were without gas for a week in the November , followed by a winter of intermittent gas outages.

We were so glad we had a wood-burning stove. It kept us and the house warm and we put a hob kettle on the top and cooked meals on the top in a cast iron casserole. However we did have electricity for all other uses, but we have in the past had frequent power cuts and again survived in relative comfort because we had the stove.

Hetty58 Sat 04-Dec-21 23:26:46

This has reminded me to get a solar/wind up radio - of the sturdy, camping, outdoor type. At least, I can always charge my phone on one.

Calistemon Sat 04-Dec-21 23:10:42

Yes, I'm presuming these are managed forests but the people living beneath them were quite worried.
There have been landslides but thankfully not there so far.

SueDonim Sat 04-Dec-21 23:08:28

Funnily enough, there has been a lot of harvesting of the managed forests round here in recent years. The hillside opposite us used to be like the Deep Dark Woods. They’ve cut down most of the trees and you can now see daylight through it. grin

Another smallish area was harvested a couple of years ago and the following spring the hillside was covered in the most glorious display of foxgloves I’ve ever seen. 🌸 🌸 🌸

Calistemon Sat 04-Dec-21 22:37:26

MayBee70

A state of emergency was only announced a day or so ago!

It should have happened much earlier.
I expect the Army was ready for the call

Calistemon Sat 04-Dec-21 22:35:50

I remember when an enormous swathe of trees on a hillside not far from here was cut down - people were worried there might be a landslide.

It was replanted and the new trees have grown quite quickly so 🤞 they will re-forest in your areas.

SueDonim Sat 04-Dec-21 21:53:19

It’s kind of bizarre here. In some places huge deciduous trees have come down and you can see where they’ve been sawn up and moved away from roads. In other places, almost entire areas of pine woodland have fallen and the trunks are all laid parallel to each other, almost like matchsticks, it’s so precise.

One rural house I saw will have a completely different view from now on, and probably a lot more light as the woods next to it have just been flattened, apart from a few tatty specimens at the edges.

MayBee70 Sat 04-Dec-21 20:21:18

Hopefully the roof will be repaired on Monday. We woke up to the sound of drilling and sawing this morning. There is scaffolding up everywhere. To see so many beautiful trees being cut up and transported away is so distressing. There are still trees resting on other trees that aren’t necessarily dangerous at the moment but could be. The Rookery tree up the road has gone and the Rooks are homeless: I don’t know where they’ve moved to but I’m putting out lots of food for them. I don’t think people understand how difficult it was (and still is) for Northern Power to get anywhere with so many trees down. We spoke to someone from Gretna Green today that said it wasn’t bad at all there. It makes me realise what it must be like living in a real war zone.

SueDonim Sat 04-Dec-21 20:12:50

How are you doing now, Maybee? We’re home properly now though I haven’t yet restocked my freezers. There are still a few hundred souls in this area that haven’t yet had power restored. I cannot imagine how they’ve coped. Today we’ve had torrential rain for much of the day - as if it wasn’t bad enough anyway. sad

I hope there’s some sort of investigation into what has happened. Resilience plans were meant to have been put in place after Storm Frank but there has been not a whisper of them being activated. I didn’t see a single reference to the effects in my area until the Monday, when presumably someone went into the office and caught up on the news. hmm

MayBee70 Sat 04-Dec-21 18:39:48

A state of emergency was only announced a day or so ago!

Mistyfluff8 Sat 04-Dec-21 16:45:59

Just makes you think as we are meant to go green so NO wood burning stove .With the power company saying all places will be reconnected by Wednesday after 8Days What will heat our houses that doesn’t rely on electric It wouldn’t have lasted so long in London

Dickens Wed 01-Dec-21 12:15:08

MayBee70

Our power went off again last night but thankfully came back on an hour later. We’d stupidly stopped topping up the hot water in the flasks. The insurance company have left it to us to find someone to repair the roof. I thought insurance companies had a list of people they expected you to use. Our neighbours company have arranged for someone to repair their damage. The insurance company wanted two quotes but we pointed out that no one has the time to go round giving quotes, they’re too bust making everything safe. The wind and rain has picked up again. I don’t think central government has got the faintest idea how bad it is up north at the moment. Our builder said there isn’t enough scaffolding around to do the work, and they’re having to get it from down south.

sad

Dickens Wed 01-Dec-21 12:13:11

25Avalon

My dad was always prepared for anything and I’m the same. I have an old phone I can plug in the BT socket, but what happens if BT stop doing landlines as it looks like they will?

Good question!

So many people can't get a good signal on their mobiles - how are they supposed to cope?

My neighbour has to go to the end of his garden to use his I'm next door and have no problem.

I suppose it's to do with the frequency band. Lower frequencies travel further and penetrate buildings better, but higher ones carry more data. Ideally mobile 'phone companies need to offer a range of bands. But one of the issues is planning laws (the height of masts, location, etc). Apart from cost.

I think it's too early to stop the use of landlines.

SueDonim Wed 01-Dec-21 12:05:31

That sounds awful, Maybee. I hope your power stays on and that you get the repairs done.

It’s pretty difficult to be prepared to cope with no services at all. Power banks etc are worth nothing when there’s no phone signal. People don’t seem to realise that apart from water, there’s nothing working at all. In town, there maybe places you can get to for food/phone etc but in the countryside it’s not the same. You could be miles from your nearest neighbour. My own village has today been sent a food truck, six nights after this all began.

This morning people are out trying to find someone’s elderly dad, who hasn’t been in contact for 48 hours. sad

MayBee70 Wed 01-Dec-21 11:07:35

Our power went off again last night but thankfully came back on an hour later. We’d stupidly stopped topping up the hot water in the flasks. The insurance company have left it to us to find someone to repair the roof. I thought insurance companies had a list of people they expected you to use. Our neighbours company have arranged for someone to repair their damage. The insurance company wanted two quotes but we pointed out that no one has the time to go round giving quotes, they’re too bust making everything safe. The wind and rain has picked up again. I don’t think central government has got the faintest idea how bad it is up north at the moment. Our builder said there isn’t enough scaffolding around to do the work, and they’re having to get it from down south.

25Avalon Wed 01-Dec-21 10:58:23

My dad was always prepared for anything and I’m the same. I have an old phone I can plug in the BT socket, but what happens if BT stop doing landlines as it looks like they will?

Dickens Wed 01-Dec-21 10:51:34

When the day comes that we are all dependent on electricity, with no wood/fossil fuels permitted, power outages are going to become very difficult to manage indeed.

It is. And from what I can glean, weather patterns will become more unpredictable. I do not think we are well prepared for the effects this will have - in fact, according to government advisors, the UK is woefully unprepared.

There's much we can do on an individual level - and reading the comments on here, it's obvious that there are some very resourceful grans - I've picked up a couple of tips for the future, thanks ladies!

But I am worried, and frustrated at the apparent lack of government action. And not just this government. It's not an 'unknown' issue - previous governments seem to have passed the buck along the line.

The problem of course is cost. Protecting the infrastructure is costly. But if the damage runs into £billions in a relatively short space of time (not to mention the personal cost to the public) then I think it's a total abdication of responsibility.

To me, the future looks bleak. And I'm an optimist.

Have you got your power banks charged? Being without means of communication in an emergency is my worry - my partner is disabled and I - his carer - am semi disabled. Thankfully, we have one or two good neighbours. Not everyone is so fortunate.

Calistemon Tue 30-Nov-21 23:49:08

We've got an LED torch with a magnet so it will stick to the side of the fridge or freezer etc - very handy to find in an emergency.

We had a long power cut a little while ago, not due to the recent storm.
I stuck the torch on the extractor fan above the gas hob so was able to cook something simple.

SueDonim Tue 30-Nov-21 23:00:09

Earliest estimate for power is Weds evening but the word is that the damage to the network is greater than thought and it’s likely to be longer.

Regarding the tips for being prepared, we always are prepared for such situations, having lived rurally for 25years, but there’s a limit to what you can do. We were without a boiler for a month last winter but managed (uncomfortably) with our own and borrowed electric heaters and an open fire, but with no power at all and in some cases no water, and no comms, you’re living on the edge. Also, I wouldn’t use a camping stove indoors, as there’s a risk of carbon monoxide poisoning.

When the day comes that we are all dependent on electricity, with no wood/fossil fuels permitted, power outages are going to become very difficult to manage indeed.