Sunday, 15 June 2008

Grenada - A blackout on The Carenage

My wife Theresa and I spent a few weeks on The Carenage, in St. George`s, Grenada living in the family bungalow right there on the wharf. "The Gap" as it is known, next to the then cinema The Empire, was in those days a very bright and busy place to be living. I`m referring to the period around 1985 or 1986. The house had been empty for a while after the Revo and since my sister in law Agnes Johnson-Padmore who had been in residence had sadly passed away.

I had started carrying on holiday with me one or two items I`d learnt from previous experiences may just come in handy - electrical screw driver, fuse wire and pliers etc.. There always seemed to be something that could do to be fixed, tightened or repaired.

Let me tell you why from that date in the mid 80s about a happening that decided me to give up my "Bob the builder" and "Jim will fix it" ideas and to just mind my own business in future!.

One night I was left alone to cool off on the gallery as Theresa had gone out for the evening to visit sister Geraldine in Tyrrel Street. I had seen an old portable TV sitting on the floor of the bedroom all week, we had been led to believe it was broken as although it could warm up they said it would give no picture or sound. Nobody could ever complain about the beautiful shimmering view there is to be enjoyed in the evening as seen from our gallery across the placid inner harbour water to The Fort. I however must have got a little restless and instead of just admiring that view suddenly decided that I should try and make myself more useful around the place, what if I could fix that TV?. It was possible a new approach might just have some effect, maybe a few taps on the side of the cabinet might get it going, (that always did the trick on an old temperamental wireless I used to have).

So I picked up the TV set, dusted it down, plugged in and switched on, sure enough the tube did light up but that was all. I then gave it a few jolting slaps on either side and a kind of good shaking too, but, still no good. Plan B was to maybe fiddle around inside with my electrical screwdriver and see if something might just be a bit loose. I started touching the various connections and switching off and on a few times while I tried to act the engineer when, it didn`t go off bang!......but everything just went dark. By that I mean our house lights went out along with everyone else`s on our side of the Carenage. I looked outside the door and was only greeted by moonlight. Panicking now I unplugged the set with the intention of hiding the evidence back where I found it on the bedroom floor. I quickly got back onto the gallery and decided to sit there in that moonlight and act all innocent. Then I got to thinking, perhaps they might be able to trace the fault back to our bungalow and wondered if I should get in first and own up to it. As I tried to decide what course to take, a few generators were starting up nearby along the Wharf and a few lights appearing which for some reason made me feel a bit calmer.

It was strange that nobody passing by seemed to be in the least bit worried or commenting about this sudden darkness. It suddenly dawned on me that it could have been just pure coincidence that there had been a natural power cut and nothing to do with my dodgy electrical work?. After all I hadn`t caused a flash or a bang whilst messing about in the back of that TV.

It turns out, that is exactly what did happen, much to my relief. The Company had apparently been doing some maintenance and had simply cut the supply for a short period of time whilst this was being carried out. Evidently this was known to happen on occasions and consequently nobody except me had been surprised by it. Looking back it seems that for 10 worrying minutes I had found myself guilty purely on circumstantial evidence. Yes your Honour, I was messing about holding a screwdriver with a hand inside a TV set when all the lights on The Carenage went out but it wasn`t my fault, I`m innocent! - honest Guv!.

I mentioned earlier that I no longer carry any "handy" tools with me to Grenada, the hotel I always use now has it`s own very "handy man", I`ve learned my lesson!.

The family Bungalow with a view from it across the harbour.

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