petite anglaise

September 24, 2004

danger! low voltage

Filed under: city of light — petiteanglaiseparis @ 1:34 pm

We had two power cuts in our appartment building yesterday.

The first at 4 am meant that we failed to get up for work in the morning – the battery in the alarm clock which is supposed to act as a safety net in such emergencies being helpfully flat. Much bleary eyed fumbling for candles and matches and colourful swearing and ensued. Neither the Frog nor I has the faintest idea how to light the pilot light in the boiler, so I was reduced to heating a pan of water on the gas stove for washing purposes and resourceful use of Huggies cottonsoft wipes. I suppose that’s how people washed (minus the Huggies) in the ‘good old days’ when our appartment building was built, as originally there were no bathrooms.

A great start to the day, all in all, arriving late to work, then praying that all would be well when I got home and that the contents of the freezer would not have to be binned. It was thankfully all sorted, so I set about setting every clock in the flat to stop them blinking at me.

Returned home tipsy later that night after a girls’ night out. Ten minutes later the power went off again. As most of our neighbours appear to be pensioners who go to bed at 8pm I doubt any one else noticed, so a drunken conversation between petite and Electricité de France followed, whereby I tried to convince the rather sceptical man on the other end of the line that the problem concerned the whole building so a technician was NOT to come hammering on my door in the middle of the night, but instead should proceed straight to the cellar where the fusebox for the building is located. Under NO circumstances was I willing to go down there in my nightie with a torch – even if it might be a question of just to tripping a switch – it’s a spooky dungeon-like place with earth floors and stone vaulted ceilings and several catacomb like corridors. I always feel like something is lurking in the shadows watching me. And I have no desire to see what nocturnal wildlife it may harbour.


It occurs to me that had the power gone off ten minutes earlier, knowing my luck I would have been stuck in our miniscule lift between two floors until 5am when the power finally came back on, as this does not appear to have a backup supply of any kind. It measures about 1m by 50cm and has floor to ceiling carpeting which smells of dogs and old people, so I had a very narrow escape.

My worry is that I wasn’t around to quiz the man from the EDF on either occasion and he probably just tripped a switch without caring what the cause of the problem might be. So this will probably go on happening twice a day for the foreseeable future. In the middle of my favourite tv programmes, halfway through publishing a blog post, when it’s freezing cold outside…

I’m a pessimist by nature. In case you hadn’t noticed.


  1. Love the new site layout. Slinky colours.
    But is it personal? I link to your site and 1 day later you announce a move. Ho Hum !!

    Comment by Hairy — September 24, 2004 @ 4:05 pm

  2. I just found your blog and loved it. I’ve blogrolled you, hope that’s ok :)

    Comment by Corrinne — September 24, 2004 @ 5:15 pm

  3. mais non….. it’s been in the offing for a while now if you read back – have been slaving away for the best part of two weeks

    and now I’ll get to the recipro-roll thingy….. thanks!

    Comment by petite anglaise — September 24, 2004 @ 7:49 pm

  4. Speaking of which, I just noticed me on the recipro-thingie. Much obliged. :)

    I have noticed the lack of “normal” sized elevators. The building where the kiddies live that I babysit have one of those carpet-coffins, and I always take a mental breath before stepping in with the three little devils.

    Comment by ViVi — September 25, 2004 @ 11:29 am

  5. I blogrolled you too! Lovely blog, but it is your writing that pulled me here. ;)

    Comment by Messy Christian — October 7, 2004 @ 4:08 pm

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