A Very Rude Awakening

It’s been a hell of a day but before I fall in to bed and wait for Soph to (eventually) return from the ramparts of Ludlow Castle, I’d like to tell you how the day started…

You know those loud compressed-air horn things that the more juvenile adults take to sporting events?

Imagine that you are fast asleep in your bed, little Zs falling out of your mouth and running all over the pillow before they transform and become slightly damp patches, suspiciously near your mouth.

Now imagine that the local village lunatic has silently broken in to your house and is standing beside your bed tittering, silently, to himself.

Now place in his hands one of those compressed-air horn things.

Now make the time just a few minutes before 02.00.

Yep, one of our smoke alarms went off in the very early hours.

Not went off as in ‘detected any smoke and decided to do something about it’. Oh no.

This was went off as in ‘decided that its battery was too low so, instead of flashing a warning light which we could have picked up on in the morning, and instead of making a subdued, mildly-concerned kind of noise, it decided to give us the full benefit of its full-on smoke alarmingness.


We were out of bed instantly.

Asleep, but moving around.

I, unusually – given that I was still unconscious – identified the culprit then dashed downstairs to check on the status of the smoke alarm in the kitchen.


Then inspected the upstairs one.

Green status light, flashing red battery light.


Still fast asleep we got the small step-ladder out of the spare room, I tottered around on top of it and eventually worked out how to remove the cover.

Then I removed the dead battery and do you know what?

The fucking smoke alarm chirpped at us. Repeatedly.

Why couldn’t it chirp at us to tell us the battery was screwed? What did it have to sound like the Battle Stations klaxon onboard a Nuclear Submarine?


So I did the only sensible thing a half-asleep person with a chirping but batteryless smoke-alarm could do.

I went outside and locked the fucking thing in my car.

Then I made two mugs of tea, returned to bed and handed Soph hers.

We were still, frankly, in a state of shock; adrenaline coursed through our veins and our pulses were elevated.

We read for a while and then sleep arrived and eased itself in.

So that’s how my day started. It went rapidly downhill from there.

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5 Responses to A Very Rude Awakening

  1. Sally says:

    You told that in such a funny way that although it sounds like a terrible experience, I did laugh — sorry 🙂

    At least it wasn’t a fire.

  2. Allister says:

    At least you have something that will clearly identify which device it is. We have the recommended (by the local authorities & fire service) one per major room, meaning there are 7 devices. When the battery runs low, they give off a single ‘pip’ of very high-pitched, and therefore VERY NON-DIRECTIONAL, sound! Then they do it again about 20 minutes later. The instructions say you’re supposed to wait until they pip every 2 minutes to replace the battery. Fuck that! It’s not a klaxon but it is bloody annoying day and night – though I can sleep through it IF I can calm down enough to sleep.

    A light? A fucking light? Get out of here. That would be FAR TO SENSIBLE! We keep getting told off on the television for not having smoke alarms in our houses. Well, if you made the devices sensibly so they didn’t annoy the shit out of everyone on a regular basis, maybe more people would have them. It’s CRIMINAL.

    Sitting on the stairs for 20 minutes at 2am trying to figure out which way to point my head and then not to move my head, or fall asleep, trying to figure out which bloody floor the thing is on, then, if I’m lucky, figuring out the ideal location on that floor to figure out which bloody room it is is NOT my idea of a fun night. It takes about an hour on a good night to find the damned thing. Then what do I do? Remove the battery and leave the (deactivated) smoke alarm on the bench to deal with in the morning.

    I’d pay handsomely for a light that would save me hours of groggy frustration in the middle of the night.

    Gee, I think you may just have hit a nerve there. 🙂

  3. Masher says:

    It’s the timing of these things that amaze me, for in the past, I too have been found in the wee small hours, teetering on a chair on the landing in total darkness and totally naked – I possess no pyjamas – trying to remove the battery from a bleeping smoke alarm before one of the kids awakes.

    Your alarm intrigues me though, as once power (the battery) is removed, I fail to see how it can keep on chirping. You sure there wasn’t a wayward cricket in there?

  4. S Le says:

    Hilarious! Er, um, I mean how awful! Piece of crap smoke alarm!