Thursday, April 04, 2013

A night without power

There's still not a lot of warmth, and of course the grass is not growing yet. But yesterday was a lovely day. On my walk I stopped to take a photo of the lambs, and the significance of the guy in the fluorescent yellow jacket did not hit home at the time. I continued my travels without another thought.

Despite the blue skies there's still snow lying on the fells. Here, I'm looking across from the River Annan, over Newton Wamphray, with a train of empty coal wagons heading north to be refilled.

It has been very dry recently and the river is very low. I'm on the east bank of the Annan just north of the Jocksthorn Bridge.

Despite the proximity to the motorway, it really was a peaceful spot yesterday.

This is where I was headed - where the Wamphray Water, coming in from the east, meets the Annan.

This is looking up the Wamphray Water from near where the two rivers meet. It was little more than a wee stream yesterday.

But in winter, and indeed for much of last summer (!), the Wamphray was a formidable river, carving away at its banks. A river has no respect for fence lines.

Whose tracks?

Dandelion-like. Precise identification? Main characteristic - no obvious leaves. (Added later: Turns out that it's Tussilago farfara, commonly known as Coltsfoot. Thanks to my friend Hugh for his email.)

Anyway, having shown that I've no skill as a naturalist...

 ... I returned to the village to find the reason for the man in the fluorescent jacket. He had been a contractor working for Scottish Power and doing a routine check on the poles which carry the power lines. And he had discovered that this one was close to falling down!

It has split, and you can see right through the pole.

The emergency team was called in, and by this morning a new pole was in place.

The electricity had to go off of course. Given an hour's warning that you would have no power for the evening, what do you do? Have an early shower - tick. Have the evening meal early - tick. Look out the candles - tick. Set a battery alarm for the morning, so not to be relying on the alarm clock radio - tick. Fill a flask of coffee for later - tick. Make sure there's enough wood for the stove - tick.

And this was Skip come 9 pm. It was all reminiscent of happy days bothying throughout Scotland in years past. No television, no WiFi, no computer once the battery had run out, no music, no central heating, no cooking facilities. No problem really, it was only going to be a few hours. But the one thing I missed was being unable to read. Time I got myself a Kindle, methinks!

So it was an early bed, and sometime in the middle of the night I was woken by people talking. The television had come back on. Well done and thanks to those that worked into the early hours to set things right!

Photos © Skip Cottage

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