Friday, August 21, 2009

let there be light

In April last year we were catapulted into the 21st century with a power connection. For two seasons we lived in a building site, with one lantern and a head torch each, cooking over an open fire and hauling water from the well - like camping with a comfortable bed. The idea of cold water and task lighting felt like a distant dream.

To keep our vegies reasonably fresh, Tom built a "Coolgardie safe" - essentially a hanging hessian box with a water reservoir on the top. The hessian wicks the water, and the action of wind blowing through the moist fabric cools the internal space, albiet slightly. Increased humidity inside the safe preserves the greens longer than sitting on the bench, but it sure doesn't make ice-blocks.

The day of connection was long awaited :

One would think that when buying a service from a national company the price would be fixed for all customers. Think again. Wellam, the PLN (power company) boss is making a house call to discuss our needs - and the needs of his hip pocket. The quote for supply and instillation of 2 power poles, 1300 watt meter, two lights and one powerpoint begins at 7 million rupiah. We counter offer 5 million, and with patience and smiles we agree on a price of 6 million, including the installation of all powerpoints, switches and lights throughout.

The electricians arrive to install the power, and we have quickly ascertained that to be a contractor you simply have to have a heart beat, and be prepared to lose it in an electrical disaster. The offsider is about 16 years old and is keeping us entertained with soppy love songs played through his mobile phone. They string the main line from the road with two temporary sticks and the odd bit of string tied to a coconut tree. Then they attach the meter to the house with three rusty nails and pull the wires through the roof and into the gudang. The “free” switches and powerpoint come mounted on a scrappy old piece of ply that they nail into the brick wall. If this is the official electricians, I’d hate to see the dodgy backyard operators. Now that I am making lunch, the offsider has abandoned his post and is playing paparazzi with his mobile phone camera. Had I known 'Vogue Living' was coming to do a photo shoot I would have made an effort with my hair and makeup.

Let there be light…and there was. At precisely 5.54pm we are enlightened with the cold blue glow from our first fluorescent globe. The switch is providing great entertainment; on, off, on, off. Oh, the simply joys in life.

We are now proud owners of a fridge/freezer. At night, when the power is on, we freeze bottles of water, then each morning we switch them into the fridge compartment to act like an esky throughout the day. It works well, providing you minimise opening the door and never do the "stand and stare and hope to find something delicious lurking in the back that you had forgotten about." Trust me, there is nothing in our fridge worth lusting over.

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