Why It's Fab to be Frugal!
We have Velux windows upstairs here, but when I looked out in the morning there was not a single thing to be seen - they were completely covered in SNOW! The house was freezing - no central heating here and the electric heaters had gone off due to the powercut - so I grabbed the camera (as one does in such emergency situations) and went out to the front door to be greeted by this! I was able to get online to access some local news but the power went back out before 8am.
'Wilbur' was lit and the kettle was on the go constantly for hot water, hot drinks and warmth. I cooked the breakfast porridge on the stove top, boiled a ham and made a pot of soup for lunches, cooked the potatoes, the veggies, fried bacon and eggs... Wilbur has been working 24/7 since Friday morning and I cannot emphasise enough how important it is to be prepared for inclement weather combined with no mains power.
Our open fire couldn't be lit because it has a back boiler that heats the water and radiators - it is driven by an electric pump. Those with gas or oil central heating had nothing because it's all reliant on electrically driven pumps. Those with solar panels and wind turbines were no better off, as these are connected to the National Grid - none are stand alone with power storage facilities.
|The road is under there somewhere|
Several miles away, suppliers had run out of gas and the petrol stations had no power to pump fuel for any vehicles even if they could have reached the forecourts.
|Our main road beig dug out at the weekend|
All the roads blocked, even the main trunk road that links the Irish ferry port at Cairnryan to Dumfries and then Carisle. It's the Irish-English link route. This A75 Euroroute soon became impassable, with hundreds of vehicles and passengers stranded. The snow ploughs couldn't get through the roads! When the tractors became trapped in drifting snow, it was the turn of the 'big boys' in their 'big toys'.
Food supplies here are always relatively good, wth plenty of longterm items and 2 freezers running. But freezers need electricity and defrosted food needs cooking or using up quickly. I am very fortunate to have my stand alone multi-fuel stove for cooking. My frozen food has all survived despite 3 days without power, by way of packing the free space with bags of snow. The hens and ducks are laying daily, so eggs were shared with neighbours who happily swapped for a few carrots to make extra soup and a couple of packs of firelighters, which are always needed for emergencies.
The power company flew along the route of the powerlines and had emergency repairs done relatively quickly, in my opinion, while our local lifeboat crew down in the village helped countless households to cope. An emergency Facebook page was set up to help snowbound residents of Dumfries and Galloway, although I was unaware of that until I received a phone call from a friend of a relative of an elderly resident within walking dostance of me needing help.
Our roadsides currently look like this, but without the blue sky, as that's now turned to more snow. To get those roads cleared as well as keeping the elderly relatively warm and fed plus help struggling farmers dig out stranded livestock, it meant community spirit was raised tenfold.
Hopefully, we wont see a repeat of this event for a long time, but we are forecast more snow and the odds are heavily stacked in favour of a white Easter.
For now, the crisis has been averted and many have even managed to get out and enjoy the exceptional scenes created by this sudden and very unusual weather event.
Some of us even got as far as to find the time to create some eco-art by the roadside!
I hope you like the Snowcat!
Note to all who plan on following the frugaldom lifestyle:
- ALWAYS keep your old-fashioned, 'plug into the socket' phone handy. Wireless handsets are brilliant most times but completely useless during power cuts.
- Don't forget that there is little or no mobile phone signals in remote or rural areas.
- Keep rechargeable batteries fully charged.
- Keep candles and matches handy at all times and ensure you have safe locations and holders for them..
- Keep a stock of long shelf-life, fast cook foodstuffs, instant coffee and dried milk.
- Ensure you always have sufficient medication, if required.
- Always keep a plentiful supply of pet and livestock feeding/bedding/supplies.
- Know where everything is in case it's needed in a hurry.