I thought I had everything under control. There is an inverter,  batteries, and a few solar panels. Enough to get us through a few hours of load-shedding.

Sometimes we didn’t make it through four and a half hours of load shedding, more batteries would be helpful, but we were making do.
Most evenings during load-shedding, I would unplug my laptop while working, just in case of a power surge.

On Monday evening, we had a long load-shedding bout and a bit of a storm out there, with lightning and rain.
I typed away merrily during the evening, fingers whizzing across the keyboard. Then I noticed my laptop battery was down to 5%. I was working on something important, no doubt, most likely the St Francis Today puzzle page or loading up another St Francis Today writing contest entry, but I wanted more power.

So with 5% on the battery, I walked briskly to the office and plugged my laptop into the power from my backup system, not realising that this system too, was almost depleted.  Little did I know that I was never going to see that laptop alive again.

The very act of plugging my laptop into power plunged the house into darkness. It was pitch-black. We have another somewhat rudimentary system of Magento lights and USB lamps, and headlamps. So I quickly found those with the light of my iPhone, lit up the house, and didn’t even think about the laptop.

‘It’s got a swollen battery,’ was the expert damage assessment on Tuesday. The battery had actually pushed against the casing and left a dent underneath the laptop. She was broken.

Load-shedding and Laptop Meltdowns So apologies if this week’s news has been a bit scrappy or seemingly irregular. It has been a week of trips to repair centres and drives to the iStore in Walmer Park, often during load-shedding, with no traffic lights operating. Frustration City – population: me.

Backup? Of course, I had a backup. Unfortunately, I did something wrong on the restore, and 103 Gigs of unsorted data poured into my new laptop, including over 5008 emails from somewhere, which I am going through this weekend.


There’s a lesson to learn here about backup power, surges, load-shedding, and hard drive backups. it’s simple. Time to upgrade the backup system and get better batteries. Otherwise, this winter is going to be grim.