'I'm always looking for the Hows and the Whys and the Whats,' said Muskrat, 'That is why I speak as I do. You've heard of Muskrat's Much-in-Little, of course?'
'No,' said the child. 'What is it?'
- The Mouse and his Child. Russell Hoban.

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Saturday, 19 May 2012

The Big Bang

http://www.thegreengoblinshideout.com/
What an eventful day it was yesterday.
To set the scene: I awoke early and went for an hour-long walk and was back home before the sun had risen.  It was rather windy, but not remarkably so. We put a couple of loads of washing on the line.   I worked all morning painting in my little outdoor studio. An odd rain (light as feathers) began to float down from an almost cloudless sky so we got the washing in again.  I think it was about 100% humidity.
  Just before one o'clock I came inside to scrounge something for lunch and that was when there came an almighty 'BANG!' - a sharp crack which seemed to emanate from everywhere in the house at once, and which was followed by a small explosion and sparks in the vicinity of the microwave.  My son emerged from his room and said "I think that was a power surge!  I heard it through my speakers and on my computer."  We went around the house checking on things.  There was a loud, ominous hum from the television, so we switched everything off and pulled all the plugs out from the walls, except the fridge, which seemed to be still going, indicating the power was amazingly still on.

The charger for the modem blew itself up.


The casualties:
James's laptop charger was smoking
His Laptop, despite showing fully charged, won't start up properly.
His stereo won't go.
The wireless modem's charger had blown itself apart (that was the kitchen fireworks). But the modem itself was, amazingly, ok, when we plugged in a spare charger.
The surge protector on the TV/DVD player/stereo/Apple TV was smoking.
The Apple TV itself is kaput.  (The TV, stereo, and DVD player are all ok).
There's no power in my studio.  (I'm not sure why this is.  I think there must be another trip fuse somewhere that I need to reset).

Everything else seems to be ok, although on showering last night, I wondered about the hot water cylinder. But there's plenty of hot water this morning.  Phew.

The reason for the excitement was that the lines to my neighbour's and my house pass through some trees (on the road verge) that my neighbour hates to trim.  In the past when the council have approached him, he has kicked up bobsy die, and claimed that as he planted them, he doesn't want them touched (his house is very close to the road and they do provide a good screen).  The wind yesterday was obviously the last straw for them.  The lining wore off the last one, they touched, and bang!  Half the road had to be blocked off in rush hour yesterday while they trimmed the trees (no choice for my neighbour) and mended the lines.

Rush hour traffic diverted for only two homes

We spent the evening looking for receipts and original boxes.

Thank goodness for insurance. It's a pity I'll be down the $250 excess, however.  I'll just have to sell an extra painting.


18 comments:

  1. Goodness! Right, all the stuff I'm not using, if I can, I'll unplug it. That does sound rather exciting..

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    1. Yes Emily. And maybe get surge protectors on big items. Although it seemed to 'jump' one of ours, just the same...

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  2. Or send your neighbour a bill! Oddly and coincidentally (I've just used those two words in another context too) we had a power surge here which set off my carbon monoxide alarm (wow is that loud!) and neutralised the timer for the central heating. All my other equipment seems to have escaped. Glad Game though: your house didn't go on fire.

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    1. How odd and what a coincidence Geeb. I hope all your things are back doing what they should now.
      I idly thought about finding someone to pay the excess. I suspect the council should probably have served him notice and gone ahead and kept them trimmed anyway.

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  3. To me it sounds as if it was a damn good job that your house was occupied at the time - otherwise there might have been a disastrous fire. I hope your neighbour realises the trouble his obstinacy has caused you. BTW electric power in Blogland remains 100% reliable.

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    1. I don't think there was too much fire danger YP, but we will never know. My neighbour is ... a difficult chap to persuade if he sets his mind to something. To put it mildly. Maybe I'll do a post on him one day. Perhaps the day I find my wallet $250 lighter due to the excess being paid.
      Unfortunately I can't find it in my heart to be very angry with him, as I think he may have cancer. He has lost about 2/3 of his body weight in the last six months, from what I can see through the kitchen window. I've been giving him avocados over the fence, but we don't talk about the important things. Pity.

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  4. Ouch, that must have been a bit of a scare. Usually causes enough trouble when one appliance at a time breaks down!

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    1. Dawn - yes, a little scary, but more exciting, really. Not much phases me (ha ha).

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  5. I had one here a few years back. A huge outside explosion, sparks, smoke, etc. Then no power. I lost all the spot bulbs, part of my music centre, and our Fax machine. The worst bit was having eight dinner guests arrive just five minutes later!

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    1. Cro - Was yours through having too many appliances going when cooking up large? The good thing about people turning up is that it changes a regular dinner-with-friends, to an unforgettable dinner-with-friends, I think.

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  6. Bummer! is your neighbor wearing egg on his face? So sorry for you. We've been through several electronic blowouts from lightning. Right your are...thank goodness for insurance.

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    1. Judy - If my neighbour is embarrassed, you wouldn't know. Unfortunately he doesn't do humble or sorry.
      We used to lose power regularly on the farm. But because we had a well with a submersible pump, there'd be no water as well. AND if it was an on-farm problem, we'd either have to fix it ourselves or wait for an electrician to come all the way out from town. Help's just a phone call away here. Luxury!

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  7. Buggar! Not only for the money but the inconvenience. Silly man, now they'll really butcher his trees.
    Cheers

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    1. Yes Helsie. My son really depends on his laptop for his web design business, so we will go into the Apple Centre first thing tomorrow. All the damaged equipment has to be 'fried-verified' by a technician who will report to the insurance company, and then we have to get quotes, and then wait for the go-ahead to purchase the things again. I think they'll make out a cheque for the lot once they get our quotes. Luckily he can use my lap-top in the meantime.

      It makes me think of the people in Christchurch, some of whom have been waiting over 15 months (and are still waiting) to find out if they can go ahead and repair their homes.

      The trees do look rather messy. I hope they keep them cut now.

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  8. perhaps given the circumstances your neighbour would be good enough to stump up the excess payment on your behalf..... I'd certainly ask for their opinion on it!! It DOES make you think about all the things we leave plugged in all the time even when we're not using them. I know from past experiences that modems and associated power adapters tend to get the burn quickest 'cos my mum's house is quite susceptible to thunderstorm surges and this usually results in them doing a quick housewide hundred metre dash unplugging all the essentials!!

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    1. AFox. Given my neighbour's circumstances, I don't think he'd have $250 to spare, unfortunately.

      I know what you mean about the house-sprint at the first rattle of thunder. We do that too! I had a friend in our farming area who was on the phone at the time of an electrical storm. A direct strike threw him across the room and melted the phone. He was lucky and only had bruises. All very exciting!

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  9. In the midst of your scary, exciting week, I can report that the trans-Pacific mail service is working fine. Your package arrived today. Good things do come in small packages. Thank you!

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