Thursday, December 08, 2011

Chirpy chirpy beep beep


Beep beep.Beep beep beep.

Beep beep beep. Beepbeepbeepbeepbeepbeepbeepbeepbeepbeepbeepbeepbeepbeepbeep. Beep beep.

Beep. Beep. Beep.


Not the type of noise you   want to hear from just  outside your bedroom door.  Especially at three o’clock in the  morning.

But that was the sound that greeted the slumbering denizens of Dixon Towers last Monday.

What could it have been, you ask? A faulty alarm clock? A badly programmed reminder on a mobile phone?  A long-abandoned child’s toy announcing its presence from the dusty recesses of the wardrobe?

No, dear reader, it was none of those. It was of course the sound of the rechargeable backup battery in a mains-powered smoke detector, finally losing the will to live.

And this particular smoke detector (beep) just happened to be situated right at the top of our stairs.

After a short and enlightening discussion (beep) about which gender is best at doing electrical things even though they have a bit of a bad back, yours truly was volunteered to make it stop.

Easier said than done. First, retrieve steps from kitchen (beep)  and lug them upstairs.

Clamber up steps for initial inspection and realise that you need a screwdriver to get the thing off the ceiling (beep).

Down steps, find screwdriver, back up steps. Detach offending alarm from ceiling, breaking small plastic bit (beep) in process.

Take alarm downstairs (beep) out of earshot of no-longer-slumbering family, wondering if plastic bit (beep) is essential for continued safe operation of alarm (beep beep beep).

Read label underneath . “This is a sealed unit (beep) – no replaceable parts inside.”

Leave sealed unit in kitchen, retire to bed and to a fitful sleep.

Return at 6am. Alarm is still protesting about unfair treatment (beep). So is the cat, which has had to put up with the (beep) for the last three hours (miaow). Sorry, cat.

Read label again (beep). “To deactivate, insert screwdriver HERE and cut red wire HERE.”

Done and done. No more (beeps).

But now the race is on to find a new one, before the family seat succumbs to a pre-Christmas conflagration.

Not an unlikely prospect, given the quantities of festive candles Mrs D has left dotted around the place.

So off we go to the internet. Where we soon discover that the sealed unit is not only defunct, but also discontinued.

And where we also find that the manufacturers aren’t exactly fast to respond to inquiries posted on their website by potential customers.

Well, faint heart never won fire protection. Scrabble around the good old internet once again. Oh joy, replacement models are available.

But whether or not they can be fitted without the intervention of a qualified electrician (as opposed to a hubristic homeowner who thinks he can do it himself and is never averse to a challenge) we shall just have to wait and see.

Sparks may fly...

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