Well, it turns out our fire alarm works okay. At least the waking us up from a deep sleep part of it does. Whoever put the smoke alarms in here did not mess around: there are three of them, mains powered, with one on either side of the kitchen, and one in our bedroom. All of the rented accommodation we have lived in prior to this has gone for the single battery powered type, with – possibly by law – the battery removed by a former tenant who had evidently been driven mad by its beeping, but these are tamper proof. And they are loud. LOUD. I woke up so startled I didn’t even know what I was, let alone where I was or what to do next. Fortunately the other half was more alert and managed to turn the light on, whereupon the alarm stopped. Perhaps it was afraid of the dark?
Because the other part of being a fire alarm, it’s not so good at. The detecting actual fires part – or at least the knowing when the house is not burning down and hence not going off part. It is already quite squeamish about toast, but that’s par for the course for a smoke detector – as part of the government’s anti-obesity drive, they’re set to go off whenever someone goes back for a second round. We can live with that, we just shut the door before recklessly cramming more carbohydrate in the toaster. But there was no fire last night, not even a peckish burglar. We went back to bed puzzled and lay in the dark waiting for our heart rates to return to something approaching normal. I think I finally fell asleep again at 2.
So, in one sense, I’m reassured. We now know that the fire alarm will wake us up even if we were actually already dead. That’s good. We can consider that part tested. But once is enough, unless there’s an actual fire, okay? Otherwise it may end up having some sense talked into it by the other half. With a baseball bat.