Monday 26 December 2011
This was the view from the house up towards Windbreck this morning as the sun rose (Sunrise 09.04 and sunset 15.18). The "hydro poles" (electricity poles) rather appropriately silhouetted against the rising sun. I was still anxiously awaiting the return of electricity at this point!
The electric came back on about 11.30. Apparently some houses in Stenness and Orphir, across the water on Orkney Mainland, were also without power. The island of Shapinsay had a power cut this morning too. It seems that hydro poles were catching fire around the county due to the high winds. (Shetland recorded winds of 101 mph last night! Not heard what our highest recorded wind speed was here).
Let's hope the power remains on now - more high winds are forecast for later in the week and it's still a bit breezy out there - gusting to about 50-60 mph.
I have plenty of food (and if the power goes off for any length of time I may need to eat it all pretty quickly!) and can keep cosy under blankets and with hot-water bottles (Hotties) if need be, but it does get a little boring. Fortunately I have a battery radio for company, but it's been so cloudy that it was very dull and dark indoors and not easy to see to do things without carrying a lantern around.
I was thinking of the families who had lived in the house in the 19th Century, with just candles and Tilley Lamps (oil lamps) for light. And the light of a real fire too of course - which I no longer have.
As it was the gas ran out while I was cooking my Christmas dinner yesterday! There is no "mains" gas in Orkney, so everyone uses bottled gas. I have two cylinders outside so when one runs out I just need to turn a switch to put the next one on. However, it always runs out when it's dark and wet! But fortunately the wind had died down a bit so it wasn't too bad going out to sort it out. Though I did manage to skin my knuckles trying to turn the rather stiff switch. But all was well and I got Christmas dinner! But poor Button managed to get shut out for about half an hour in the wind. I didn't hear her yelling and it was only when I sat down and wondered where she was that I missed her. She was jolly glad to be let in and told me off in no uncertain terms - she has a mouth like a fish-wife ;-) She was still sulking during the night and didn't come up to bed at all. Mind you, given another half an hour I'm sure she would have moved the bricks blocking up the cat flap and fought her way in!!