Falling off the cliff is always a surprise. I know it's there; I've been living next to it for months. I chart its outline daily. Avoiding it has become routine, and so comfortable, and so failing to avoid it surprises.
Monday evening around 10 pm, the laptop starts draining down from 100%. House battery, which has been steady around 11.5-10.8 volts since well before Winter solstice, and was in the low 10's, has plummeted to 8.5 volts.
With the old batteries, the cliff used to be at 7 volts, but now, with new batteries but fewer, it's in a surprising place, something like 10 volts, and I fell off it.
Weather forecast for the week ahead is much like the previous week: Maybe a couple sunny afternoons, but mostly no sun at all.
Falling off the cliff is not all bad. It shakes things up. It's a good opportunity to disconnect, to read paper books, and think long winter thoughts. It forces some flexability.
I have an auxillary battery for these situations. With its own little portable solar panel, it can charge the laptop and run it for around 6 hours. But it takes it several days of winter sun to charge back up.
That's enough to get me through the night. Then I take a short trip, and glory in one sunny afternoon. But I know that won't get me out of the hole, the batteries need a sunny week to recover. This evening, I expect to lose power again, and probably tomorrow evening too.
Luckily, my goal for the week was to write slides for two talks, and I've been able to do that despite being mostly offline, and sometimes decomputered.
And, in a few days I will be jetting off to Australia! That should give the batteries a perfect chance to recover.