gail schimmel

The blog of writer Gail Schimmel: A bit of writing, a bit of parenting, a bit of thinking and some book reviews

The brighter side of load shedding

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As I type, I’m expecting load shedding to start. It might, it might not. . . and on balance, I’m kind of hoping it does.

Because I don’t mind load shedding.

(Readers who are not in SA – basically, our electricity supply has been mismanaged and now we periodically get cut off in rolling blackouts to enable the system to “restock”.)

Yesterday, we had our first load shedding for a while. The kids played netball and cricket and we had candles flickering in picturesque nooks. It was on again by bedtime, and I could read them their stories and cook.

On facebook, you see pictures of people playing scrabble or cards or reading by candlelight. At work, people button down on long term projects that have been neglected because of email interruptions, or catch up on filing and tidy their desks.

Loadshedding returns us to a bygone time. A time of making our own entertainment, but also a time of surviving challenges. Because I take pleasure in the way my house is fully stocked with well placed candles and my cooking is gas. I like that I bought a little battery operated night light for the kids that splatters stars and incongruous turtles across their ceiling. I like the feeling of coping.

I’m not saying I wish that it was here to stay, or that I approve of the gross negligence that has got us to this point. I know that the traffic is a nightmare and that an urgent deadline can be missed for want of wifi (been there). Load shedding is not a good thing.

But it’s also not all bad.


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