The Blame Game

9 11 2007

The power has been off for 24 hours now so I’m typing this up on the laptop. I should be working but there is little else to do without power. The power did come on for 2 hours last night and then ominously faded when I was half a paragraph from the end of The Saints – The history of the RLI. Fortunately I’d made a cup of coffee earlier and had the foresight to grind enough coffee for this morning (I’ve made that mistake earlier). Stupidly I assumed the power might stay on long enough to allow me to turn on the pump to the emergency tank and fill all the hot water cisterns and the toilets. Oops, it didn’t. So it was my fault that this morning (after vainly hoping that the power might come on in the night) that I had to have a cold bucket bath, the hot water (well, any water for that matter) in the geyser that supplies the bath having run out. Now I’m sure that in any civilized country the power utility would have taken the blame but not here. Here we blame ourselves for not having the foresight to have “made a plan”, we should have (appalling words) foreseen the problem. This blaming of others can of course be taken too far; the USA being a case in point where people will not accept responsibility for their own stupidity and of course the lawyers profit. Here I suspect we have gone too far the other way with the result that the various “providers” who should be taking responsibility for their actions (or more usually lack thereof) are getting away with it and are now expecting to.

My initial impression of The Saints was unusually accurate. It is a great book, well written and put together. Alex Binda and Chris Cocks make skillful use of contact reports and notes from all sides of the military, most of the emphasis being on the RLI but not excluding the Air Force with whom we worked s closely. Of course it means more to me than most as I was in the unit and know a lot of the characters photographed and mentioned. I even get a mention myself once by name (2 Commando wounded in 1979) and once by inference in the Medical Officer’s diary when he notes that some of the wounded will have to live with the results for the rest of their lives e.g. paralysis (I came across no others in that category during my convalescence). Ah well, fame of a different sort! There is a lot of humour within the pathos of war and of course we know how it all ended but for me the most tragic detail was the last fatality suffered by the RLI, a young trooper shot by his own stick leader. The war ended the next day.

Oh, by the way, the title “The Saints” comes from the regimental march, adapted from the tune of “When The Saints Go Marching In”. If you want to know more, buy the book!

Another 24 hours later and the power is back, a bit more permanently perhaps. Apparently ZESA was replacing a faulty line just down the road. A pity they did not check their wiring better; all our 3 phase motors are now turning the wrong way (which means they crossed some wires over). We now have some options. Do we a) re-wire our motors to get them turning the right way in the assumption that ZESA will do nothing or b) wait until they do something and hope they can remember which wires went where? I don’t think we need to tell them as there are a number of other farms on the same grid so I’m sure they will all be phoning them up.

Now: The power’s back on after another 8 hour break. I have not checked if the pumps are turning the right way, it can wait. I’ll take Jenni past the farm storage reservoir and see if the pumps are working there as I know they were not.

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