Thursday, January 09, 2014

'Twas The Night Before The Night Before Christmas...

... and all through Godalming, the lights were all out!

I had gone out for a Christmas meal at a pub in Chillworth. Having had my fill and washed it down with a pint or three I swayed over to the station to find that the trains had long delays and the level crossing gate was stuck closed. I decided to walk home.

The rain came down, the water level came up.
Walking down the appropriately named Christmas Hill the road was entirely flooded, my dress shoes didn't do much to keep out the water that was half way up my shins.
I stopped at The Sea Horse in Shalford, putting my feet up in the open fire place.
Walking back to Guildford I'd had about enough of the rain and headed for the bus station. The bus that was due at 20 past the hour still hadn't turned up and it was half past, the queue of people were already complaining.
Walking to the taxi rank by  the Friary Centre and there were no taxis and again a long queue of Christmas shoppers all waiting to go home.
The taxi rank at the train station was equally empty with a queue of people waiting.
Walking up Walnut Tree Close, the warmth of the pub fire a distant memory I walked past about half a mile of queued traffic.
When I got home my Blackberry and mobile phone had a collection of missed calls and urgent emails.
The power had gone out in several areas around Surrey just as I'd left the first pub. Apparently the host had problems trying to pay the bill by candle light when the till and card machines were not working.
With help from Steve and Andy, Clive was able to close down many of the servers as they were running on the battery power. By 5:30pm the battery ran out and the Godalming office was dark and silent.
On Christmas eve at 4am I drove into the office. I'd woken up early and once the thoughts of "what do we need to do" started going through my head and I thought that it would be better me trying to get into the office.
The picture above is what the car park entrance looked like once the sun had come up.
The local radio station had tried to reach the local electricity board to find out how long repairs where going to take but with such a large area not having power it was impossible for them to even give an estimate.
I made my way home to where there was power and Internet connection.
It was about 2:30 when the power in Godalming came back on.
It was also at about 2:30 that we got a phone call from the pub that we were supposed to be having Christmas dinner at. The Old Mill in Gomshall had been flooded and we'd be getting a full refund. We had to brave Christmas Eve shopping in Sainsburys!
Clive gave me a call to say that he'd made it into Godalming but road into the car park was now impassable. He helped a few of the local residents with sand bags but it was possibly too little too late for some of the residents with places down by the river.
Unbelievably the shopping in Sainsburys was probably quieter than any normal weekend and we were in and out in 20 minutes, the traffic was the bigger issue. Fallen trees had taken out the control for the traffic lights. Now I got the phone call about the power being back on in the office.
Restoring all but a few of the servers was reasonably painless and simple and I was keeping notes on everything I did.
By about  5:30pm on Christmas Eve I'd got as much up and running as I was going to. I sent an email out to the office and went home.
About 12 hours later the power in Godalming dropped again. It being Christmas day, with nobody waiting on getting the systems running. I had a day off.
On Boxing day, after the power had been up for a little over 12 hours I once again headed in to the office at just after 5am.
Now with the notes from Christmas Eve it was even quicker to restore the systems.

Hopefully the power will be stable now but the news is warning of more storms to come so maybe this post isn't finished quite yet...

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