Friday, 29 May 2015

Five ways to benefit from load shedding

We have this really frustrating thing in South Africa called load shedding, which basically entails the national electricity supplier cutting off the nation's electricity according to a set, revolving roster in order to ensure that we don't completely run out of power.  (The reasons for being in this situation in the first place is, of course, a very sensitive and hotly debated issue that I have no interest in getting into here.)  Electricity is usually cut for two hours at a time and thankfully it doesn't happen at the same time every day - it might, for example, be cut off from 18:00 to 20:00 on a Monday, then from 16:00 to 18:00 on a Tuesday, and so on.  I love where the ad below, which illustrates some unique South African quirks, mentions load shedding, haha!      



So, on some days load shedding plays nicely and happens at the non-disruptive hours of, e.g. 14:00 to 16:00.  On other days, however, it happens slap bang in the middle of dinner-cooking and Barney-watching time, which is, of course, less ideal and takes a whole lot more planning and deep breathing.

We've learned by now, though, that being miserable about the whole situation won't fix anything; it just adds to the frustration.  Instead, we're trying to roll with it and even benefit from it - something that we're definitely not good at just yet, but hey, at least we're trying, right?  So, without any further ado, here's our five ways of benefiting from load shedding: 
    
1.  Go for a run

You saw this one coming, didn't you?  But let me tell you a secret: Evening load shedding actually makes getting around to the club time trial every Tuesday evening much easier.  It forces me to plan ahead and cook dinner during the day, which means that Will and the kids can tuck in while I go and run with the club.  Thanks, load shedding.     


Time for club time trials!

2.  Go for a family walk

This has become one of our favourite activities during early-evening load shedding.  We load the kids into the double stroller and stroll around the block just as the bats start waking up for their night-time escapades.  Miss K has turned into an expert bat spotter and always sees the first one of the evening, which, of course, leads to plenty of high-fiving and shrieks of excitement.  Quality family time and exercise all rolled into one - thanks, load shedding.       


Bat hunting.

3.  Play

It's sad how we've become lazy to play, I mean really play, with our kids.  It's so easy to plop down on the couch after a long day at work and watch Shaun the Sheep with the kids, but load shedding is forcing us to once again play with our kids.  We're back to building tents on the living room carpet; practising our hand stands and somersaults on the lawn (it's been a while); and dressing up in grandma Alida's formal gloves and handbags.  Thanks, load shedding.


Dress-up with dad.

4.  Dark chocolate runs/walks

Our local grocery store is located about a kilometre or two from our home and fortunately they are equipped for trading during load shedding.  Which means that early-evening load shedding has turned into a weekly tradition of a dark chocolate run/walk for us: Walk/run to the store, buy our weekly treat of dark chocolate, and walk/run back.  And by the time the chocolate has been devoured on the living room carpet, the power comes back on.  Thanks, load shedding.



5.  Indoor cycling

With his new job and limited wintertime daylight, Will has been complaining that he's struggling to find time to cycle.  So while Will hops on the trainer for a candle-lit evening ride, the kids and I build tents in the living room and J Bear stares at his dad in awe.  Win/win.    

Yes, I know: All of these take effort and a positive mindset, which is usually the last thing one feels like when frustration levels skyrocket.  But just try it one evening - it will make you see load shedding in a whole new light.

Thanks to the lovely ladies from Eat Pray Run DCYou Signed up for What? and Mar on the Run for the opportunity to share these tips as part of their Friday Five link-up!          

         

20 comments:

  1. I ha never heard of load shedding. Thank you for sharing the concept. I actually feel like I am smarter now that I read your post..lol

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    1. I think it's a uniquely South African concept, lol! It surely has taught us to be thankful for electricity again. :)

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    2. Nope, it is not uniquely South African - apparently India and Pakistan has their share of it too

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    3. Really? I didn't know that! Then we know each other's pain!

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  2. Loadshedding used to make me very angry as we had it every day between 6-8pm - worst time ever. Now that we have a revolving roster I am slowly getting the positive on a bit more

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    1. That IS the worst time for it - argh! But we try to make the best of it too.

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  3. wow, i'd never heard of this before. thanks for sharing!

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    1. Pleasure, Courtney! Thanks, as always, for the link-up!

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  4. Do you know when it's going to happen? Say 8pm every Tuesday, 3pm every Wednesday, etc? I think if I knew when I'd be ok with it, but I'm also glad we don't have that here...

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    1. There is a roster, yes, but we don't always know too far ahead whether it's going to be implemented or not. There might be load shedding on a Monday, according to the roster, and we'll be informed early on a Monday morning, but then on a Tuesday the power supply is fine and we'll skip load shedding. Keeps things interesting, lol!

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  5. Gosh, the stuff we take for granted! No load shedding here. Way to deal with it!

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    1. Thanks, Wendy! Load shedding sure has taught us to appreciate electricity again! :)

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  6. I had no idea what load shedding was! Wow, it must get kind of toasty in your house when it's summertime! Love that you found ways to turn it into a good thing though..and how you managed to sneak dark chocolate in there too. Didn't see that one coming at all...;) <3

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    1. Thankfully dark chocolate can successfully be sneaked into almost any situation, lol! :) x

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  7. At least some of us try to be more positive about it. As you say, there is no point in being angry, but it can be very frustrating some days. I try to do some things in that time that I might not get to when we actually have electricity. It helps to keep busy and make the two or more hours wizz by.

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    1. Our approach exactly, Johann. Sitting around feeling frustrated just makes that two or three hours drag by even slower.

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  8. So I experienced the load shedding only once while I was in South Africa -- is it a permanent thing you guys are dealing with? I can imagine that it must be frustrating at times.

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    1. Hi Lisa! It was announced during the week that it might continue for the next three years... Fortunately it's not permanent - it very much depends on the fuel supply and electricity demand - but it seems that it's happening more often in winter (i.e. now), when electricity demand is higher.

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  9. Never heard before. But what happens in the hospitals for instance?
    Glad you have found 5 solutions!!!!!

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    1. Hi Stefano! My husband works at a hospital, and according to him they're not load shed along with the rest of the town. Most hospitals here are equipped with generators, though, so it shouldn't be a problem for them anyway. I have read about one or two hospital incidents blamed on load shedding, but I'm not 100% sure if they're true.

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