At exactly 7.07 this morning, my mobile phone woke me up inviting me to accept a FaceTime call.
Through bleary eyes, I somehow
noted that the call, which had abruptly ceased its insistent ringing, was from the Middle of the Darling Daughters - what on earth could have prompted her call so very early in the morning?
Except that it wasn't my daughter calling at all - it was two year old Lilia who looked most perturbed when I appeared, all wild eyed and bushy-haired, on her mother's phone which she had taken charge of while enduring the indignity
of being dressed. I'm not at all sure she recognised my early morning face, judging by her quizzical expression...
Usually it is her older brother, Faris the Rascal,
who knows how to press my buttons. He is particularly fond of pressing the exciting red button on Mr B's community alarm. It is, indeed, a great pity that Mr B doesn't take a lesson from his youngest grandson - my fella is remarkably resistant to summoning
help when he takes a topple, preferring to wait for me to return from wherever I've been, however uncomfortable he may be in the meantime. Maybe I should make him a Reward Chart like Faris's - but I really don't want to encourage him in Toppling Activity.
When it comes to summoning help that isn't needed, however, I am the Worst Culprit of All. No wonder I look, benignly, on the littl'uns when they can't resist pressing a
button. This is partly because I am, as you know, possessed of a Forgiving Nature - but mostly because I am remembering one of my most embarrassing, not to say alarming, moments...
It happened when I was still a Working Gal - all we female employees received training in personal safety from the Suzy Lamplugh Trust and were issued with personal alarms to be secreted in our pockets. In the case of an attack in our persons, we would
simply flick the top off the alarm to set it off. Help would soon be at hand. It was very reassuring to put a hand in your coat pocket and close your fingers around the slim, pencil-shaped alarm. As is generally the case with such innovations. I eventually
forgot all about it, nestling there in my coat picket in the doubtful company of a packet of tissues, an old rail ticket and a couple of Werthers Originals.
in Sainsbury's with Mr B one weekend, I suddenly became aware of a loud alarm sounding off. Staff were immediately on the scene, trying without success to locate the source of the problem. Their searches seemed to involve a lot of shifting of tins of baked
beans and tomato soup - apparently, I was informed, it was a favourite ploy of young mischief makers to hide alarms on supermarket shelves.
I took myself
off to the Ladies but, if anything, the sound was even louder there. I wandered around the frozen food cabinets, the pharmacy, the clothes section. The sound seemed to follow me everywhere I went...
Which was when I belatedly twigged that the mischief maker in question might just be me. Fumbling in my pocket, I found that the top of my alarm had somehow, all of its own volition, unfastened itself. In seconds I restored
order - and peace and quiet - to the store.
You are probably reckoning I should have owned up. You are, of course, quite right. I did confess all to Mr B who was
shopping with me at the time, pleading with him not to give the game away. He managed, just about, to keep the faith but thoroughly enjoyed himself chatting to the cashier on the till about the Alarming Events while cheerfully watching my discomfiture.
Nobody would have guessed I was the culprit. Is it time to confess?