Our friend the shopkeeper is normally a mild mannered soul, and so this blackboard had us very alarmed. 'Twas a power cut that triggered it. Often happens in London. The record for our pal's shop was 36 hours, so last night's affair at a mere 8 could have been a trifling matter. And shopkeeping by candle-light can be quite fun, apparently. Health and safety, schmealth and safety. Trouble is, the problem was right outside his premises, affording him a grandstand view.
To be fair, EDF had given about 40 minutes notice of this power cut, and it would seem to be in aid of much needed repair work to avert a dangerous surge. So 7.30ish the lights go out. And the EDF crew stop for a tea break. At about 8pm some fences go up, and a little desultory digging ensues. One digger, with an audience of three. A lot of muttering over a map. More tea. Starting to get the picture, aren't you? We declined to use the other photos the shopkeeper has, as the workmen seemed nice enough chaps, and it's not entirely their fault that the system for repairs in the capital sucks.
It's bad enough when stuff goes off at home, especially if you are in the shower at the time. And it's horn-tootingly annoying for drivers held-up by utility digs, a problem Boris has recently thought to address. But it is even more frustrating for a business, which inevitable loses sales, customers and money, or ends up paying staff to sit around and fiddle with matches. And compensation is not usually due on the first 24 hours. Are you a trader with experience of this? Does this happen down your way too? Or is SE15 especially blessed? We can only hope that the fixing of this sort of *malfunction*, is a tad more efficient come 2012.
Ultimate irony is that it would have been a whole lot less painful if he hadn't been able to see what was going on. Sometimes it's better to kept in the dark, we think.