Off the grid

Our modem died last week, overuse I reckon. Since then we’ve been hot spotting on phones, that is until the NBN died, taking our phones with it.

Thursday night, Glyn left to pick up our weekly treat, gourmet takeaway from our favourite local restaurant, when a ripper of a storm blew through our tiny town.

He probably should have turned around, but he doesn’t have brakes and can’t do a u-turn.  Is it just men? Once he’s on a journey there’s no stopping him. 

The storm was furious, immediate and deafening. It did its best to rip off our new roof. When that didn’t work it threw branches and hailstones and torrential rain until the gutters gave up and the waterfalls started.  Then it blew on by as quickly as it started.

We are surrounded by enormous messmate gumtrees, along the roads, around the houses – they’re everywhere. They’re beautiful, until there’s a storm, then they are life-threatening villains. We watch and wait, praying they don’t fall.

Glyn said later, about his death-defying drive, he thought he was a goner, the wind was chucking branches and leaves at the car the whole way and he was nearly blown off the road. He arrived home, dumped the bags of food on the bench and the power died. It’s been a while since we had a blackout so we were thrown into chaos, fumbling around in the dark, digging out candles and matches from ‘that drawer,’ you know the one I’m talking about. We were thankful at least we had hot food and running water. A few days later, we heard many suburbs had contaminated drinking water. Thankfully that missed us, we wouldn’t have known.

We ate that night by the light of the wood fire, warm and crackling, with a couple of candles valiantly holding back the gloom. Outside, sirens and flashing lights were going up and down the road. The emergency crews were hard-pressed, working in torrential rain, in the aftermath of the storm.

The power came back on the next day around lunchtime, we both cheered! The next day, I had to drive to the next town to see if mum was ok and to call our kids to let them know we were ok, because we had power but the NBN network was still down. A few days later, Glyn saw a house, a few doors down, had been demolished completely by fallen trees, the very thing we all dread, living here in the hills.

Life without the internet and phones was strangely quiet. I felt more isolated than ever. We were off the grid for three days, in which time, I read a book in a day, a real book, hard-cover.  Thank you Kate Grenville for writing ‘A Room Made of Leaves.’ Now, I am two-thirds of the way through another book by Sophie Green, ‘The Fairvale Ladies Book Club,’ lent to me by my dear friend, Naara. Perfect timing. 

I usually read fantasy, on my iPad, to escape, but these were both time well spent.

I have watched hyacinths bloom, picked forget-me-nots and sat in the garden to enjoy the last rays of the winter sun.

Spring arrives tomorrow with its blustery winds and its blossoming blowziness. I wondered, not for the first time, what is this year trying to teach me? I can’t tell you right now, there are four months left and a lot could happen in that time.  

Today, the network revived and our new modem arrived. We are back on the grid. Yay!

I get to keep my, self-imposed, monthly deadline and post something on my blog. Now if only I had something to write about.

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