An Alarming Experience

After what is traditionally a stressful and long winded process in England, Carol’s mother, affectionately known to me as RM (Rhoda Marjorie, lest you try to supply any variations), finally completed her purchase of a sheltered retirement flat on Friday of last week. Cheers and congratulations all round. Carol and her sister have been occupied organizing and helping with the moving-in process for much of this week.

On Monday morning new carpets were being fitted throughout and then, in the afternoon, it was time for the odd job man (yours truly) to step up to the plate and fit a few necessities including a replacement fridge (hard-wired), curtain tracks and sanitary ware such as towel rails etc. Naturally, this meant messing up the new carpets ever such a little bit. So, on Monday afternoon I got my first sight of the new property.

I must say that I was quite impressed; the establishment feels secure, generally welcoming, is light and airy and pleasantly decorated and presented throughout. The unit itself may be very bijou but I’m sure it will fulfil it primary purpose, independence, admirably.

Having called in en route to do a little shopping for some last minute necessities, by the time we arrived at the new establishment for my first look and before getting down to the jobs for which I had been engaged, I needed to make myself comfortable by checking out some of the plumbing facilities. 😉 All was well until I went to turn off the light/fan in the bathroom. Hanging from the ceiling by the end of the bath tub, just where I’d have expected it to be, was what I took to be the light switch cord. In retrospect, alarm bells should have rung in my mind since the cord was orange rather than the more usual white. Nonetheless autopilot kicked in, my arm reached out and I tugged the cord to extinguish the light and silence the fan.

Alarm bells did ring; not metaphorical ones either but real ones. Actually, it was more of an intermittent beeping noise that sounded but the message was clear. This being his first experience of sheltered retirement accommodation, Mr Handyman had rather unhandily yanked the I’m-in-trouble-please-come-to-my-aid alarm cord. Whoops! 😳

Moments later a disembodied voice, seemingly from The Almighty (a woman after all), rent the ether and filled the flat enquiring after Marjorie’s well-being. Nobody, least of all Carol’s mum, seemed to know where the voice was coming from but it sounded as though it was in the bedroom. Sure enough, there on the wall was something resembling an intercom device. RM calmly explained (she does everything calmly) that her bozo son-in-law had been trying to turn off the light in the bathroom and had pulled the wrong cord – humble apologies.

Had I paid more attention prior to checking out the plumbing, I might have noticed that one of these orange emergency cords dangled in each room whereupon the penny might have dropped. (Nah! OK, that was wishful thinking.)

Blushes subsided, the curtain tracks are up and the sanitary ware fitted. On Tuesday the furniture went in and RM took full possession of her new domain. We hope she’ll be very happy. She should be – there’s a Waitrose going up close by. 🙂

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