The Christmas Workers

Christmas day didn’t quite go to plan at our house this year. The leg of lamb is still in the freezer uncooked and the pavlova still hasn’t been made. Sometimes unforeseen circumstances can change everything in a hurry, thankfully in our case there was a very positive outcome. The first half of Christmas day was spent waiting in a hospital room for a family member to get their discharge papers. What better Christmas gift can you get? Allowed to go home on Christmas day. But what about all the staff at the hospital, they were hard and work and very busy. I have a huge amount of respect for those nurses, doctors, cleaners, cooks and orderlies who keep things ticking over when everyone else is on holiday – saving lives no less!

Just after 3pm we made it home, at which point it was decided that junk food would do and the lamb roast can wait for another day. We were sitting in the lounge with family, chatting and enjoying each other’s company when we heard what sounded like skidding tyres, then a bang. A few minutes later the car starts up again and leaves – or so we thought. It wasn’t until there were red flashing lights outside of our house that we actually went out to look. Cars are always doing skids at the end of our road, so the sound wasn’t unusual to us. Flashing lights are getting to be common also! The bang we heard was a car hitting a power pole at the corner of our street, the flashing light was from a fire appliance, followed closely by the police.

The car didn’t get far, they were caught frantically trying to change wheels just a short distance down the road, and there was some discussion I believe about who was driving, or more to the point who was going to take responsibility. At this point, the pole is leaning across the road held only by a cable to the corner house. The police had parked under wires that would most certainly be down around them if the cable gave out – it was already pulling out from the house. After this was pointed out to them they hastily moved their car. The fire crew only had an hour left on their shift, but would stay until the North Power crew had secured the area. They told us it was their fourth call out of the day – the wet roads were causing grief.

Drama in our street is getting to be a regular occurrence, not that we want that to continue, however it does get all the neighbours out talking to each other. We learn the most about our neighbourhood during these times. The glasses of wine made it to the footpath, then retreated inside the fences to keep it more on private property, BBQ’s were offered around because it was becoming very obvious that we would be without power shortly. People looking out for each other in the face of hardship. It is nice to know that when hard times come, our neighbourhood can and will pull together to help each other. It doesn’t really matter if we don’t talk every day, so long as we have that understanding in the background. It adds to the feeling of security in the neighbourhood.

Once the North Power crew arrived, all the health and safety items started to come out. The fire crew’s road cones were replaced with the power company ones, and bars put between each one to completely block off the road where the pole still leaned at a precarious angle. No one was allowed in the danger zone, even if they lived within that area, they had to stay out. Safety came first with these guys. After talking to them, we found they were all on call over the Christmas period and had left their Christmas celebrations to come and make this situation safe for those in our neighbourhood. Unfortunately that would mean having to replace a power pole through the night, in the rain. Can’t have been much fun for them but we did appreciate it.

Dramas bring out the best in people, we had one person rock up to the fire crew with a box of goodies – I didn’t get to see what was in there but it was some food item. Later in the evening Santa and his helper came running down the street with a bag of chocolates for the power crew. They even posed for a photograph. If you know them, please share this blog with them. As night fell, the onlookers slowly retreated back into their houses and eventually we slept. I was woken at 1am when the power crew went back up the pole by our house to restore power. The next morning they were back doing the finishing touches to the pole and other than the skid marks on the road and the electrician busy fixing the corner house’s cable, the street was back to normal.

In the space of one day we had interacted with the hospital staff, the police, the fire department and the power company. All of them working to help and protect us, and to allow us to enjoy Christmas day. My hat goes off to them all and I hope they all had some down time to enjoy time with family and friends over what appears to be their busiest time of the year!

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