Dandyism Incarnate

Archive for the 'Blackouts' Category

Yuko Returns – City Blacked Out

This is the Gore Hill Freeway at 6am…

I found myself on the freeway at 6am because Yuko was returning from Japan today. As her flight was due to arrive quite early (6.35am) I was able to pick her up without being late for work (well just a tad). I had coffee and breakfast at the airport while I waited for Yuko to appear from the gate.

Yuko brought me a booty of duty-free gifts. It was very exciting indeed…

Then I went to work.

Late in the morning, we were struck by yet another blackout! The groans in the office when the power failed were even louder than last time. Again it affected a wide area of the city.


Traffic Lights out at Circular Quay

Traffic Lights out at Circular Quay

After work I met Yuko at Aristocrat for coffee. Our plan was to visit Mother, and then go to Delhi Hutt to eat Indian Chicken.

When we arrived at the hospital, there were two doctors with Mother. They were not the doctors treating her for the ailment that she’s in hospital for, but rather they were assessing her heart and lungs to decide if they are strong enough for her to have surgery.

They spoke very quickly (to each other) and used a lot of jargon. Then the older one told Mother that her heart and lungs were adequate and he saw no reason she could not have surgery.

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Blackout at Riverview

I was watching TV at about 8.10pm when there was a blackout! A few seconds later I heard two loud buzzing sounds (at about 50 Hertz) followed by bangs and a bright flash visible through the front window. It sounded like it was just outside in the street. 

I located a battery operated light source and went outside to investigate. At first I didn’t see anything unusual, but within a couple of minutes, a police car arrived. A police dude got out and shone a powerful light at the power lines, revealing that a tree branch had fallen on the wires…

Police dude shines light on fallen branch


After another couple of minutes a fire engine arrived with its siren on (which seemed unnecessary) and parked right across our driveway. As a small crowd of local people began to gather and gawk, yellow tape was strung up around the site to prevent people walking under the suspect power lines.

Danger area marked with yellow tape


A second police car then blocked off the road with a flashing “Do Not Pass” sign on its roof. The police and fire dudes then waited for Sydney Electricty to arrive so that the power lines could be made safe for the removal of the tree branch. It was taking them a long time to arrive, so I gave up and went back inside.

With no TV or Internet, I decided to go to bed early.

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First Blackout of 2009

I have written many times before about blackouts. For example, there was the  blackout 2004. Then there was the blackout of 2005. There were also blackouts in 2006 and 2007 (which was otherwise a lean year for blackouts). And of course there was the blackout of 2008.

Today we had the first blackout of 2009 (if you don’t count Earth Hour). It struck at about 4.35pm while I was still at work. The groan of anguish when the power failed suggested that a few people had lost their buffers! After about 15 minutes, I decided to go home. When I exited the building I noticed that other buildings were also affected with all the nearby shops in darkness. I saw some tourists trapped in the foyer of a hotel, unable to get out because the door was electrically operated. I also heard sirens, so I decided to walk around to try to find the source of the problem. 

All the traffic lights were out, but the trains were still running.


I saw some emergengy vehicles, both stationary and speeding through the streets. However there was nothing spectacular. I later learned that the emergency vehicles were mainly responding to calls from people stuck in lifts.

After not finding the cause, I proceeded to the carpark. The exit gate was open and the pay machine was inoperative and many people were taking their cars without paying. However, I paid the dude in the little glass box. He told me I would have to walk down eight floors because the lifts were out. The walk down the stairs was OK as the stairwell had good emergency lighting. But when I emerged onto my level, it was quite dark and I was disoriented. It took me a while to find my car, and even longer to get the key in the door.  

After exiting the carpark I had to negotiate three busy intersections with blacked-out traffic lights, before getting onto the Harbour Bridge. After that it was a fairly normal trip home.

I later learned that the Harbour Tunnel and “Mr. ED” had been closed, which would have made the SHB a traffic nightmare soon after I crossed.

Overall it was a harrowing experience.

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