Jaqui's Daily Blog

A Familiar Face, a Beeping Alarm and Being Up All Night

The door bell rings. It is not unexpected as I have booked for an electrician to fit smart new lights in our hall and landing. I am not, however, expecting to see a familiar face on the doorstep, albeit in a uniform bearing the name of the lighting shop from which I purchased (with support and advice from the Eldest of the Darling Daughters) the aforesaid smart new lights.

When I say a familiar face, I mean that I am aware that I know my caller. I can even recall where I know him from. What I simply can't remember is his name. It is perfectly clear, from the way he launches into a lengthy (and fascinating) update of everything I have missed since I gave up being a Working Gal all those years ago, that he is not troubled by the same Memory Failure.

Does this ever happen to you? Isn't it just the most embarrassing experience? I think it happens when somebody turns up in an unfamiliar setting, a million miles, figuratively speaking, from the place you would expect to see them. It's like the subject of yesterday's blog - a Place for Everything and Everything in its Place. For everything, read everyone. My friendly electrician is definitely not in the place allocated to him in my (faulty) memory.

Mr B calls me into the living room to quiz me about who is chatting to me in such a Familiar Fashion. I admit that I am struggling to put a name to the face. I am not expecting what happens next - Mr B struggles to his feet, grabs his Zimmer frame and charges into the hall. "I know you, don't I?" he asks, guilelessly, "Just can't seem to remember your name..." Introductions follow. Problem solved. I am all admiration. "Just leave it to me," says Mr B, modestly. Well, not particularly modestly, to be fair, but I'm not complaining.

The morning had not started well. I woke at 3 a.m. at the sound of Mr B moving noisily about downstairs. When I checked on him, I found that the burglar alarm had woken him up, bleeping away like nobody's business. It wasn't sounding off, you understand, for which Small Mercy we could only be thankful. But that incessant bleeping was going to drive us both berserk. On the basis that a cup of coffee helps in any problematic situation, I made us both a cup of best decaffeinated and retired back to bed where burrowing under the bedclothes and turning on the very accurately named "Up All Night" on BBC Five Live proved effective as a Bleep Blocker.

I often find myself listening to "Up All Night" when I find myself awake and worrying. Why do nighttime worries assume such massive importance? "Up All Night" has introduced me to all kinds of scientific studies, insights into current events in countries as far distant as China and Australia, and in-depth discussions about books, poetry and music. It doesn't necessarily stem the nighttime worries but it kind of holds them at bay until I finally fall asleep, waking in the morning to discover that Nothing Is As Bad As It Seemed In The Middle of the Night. Please tell me it happens to you, too...

It takes no time at all to phone the alarm company in the morning. In no time at all, Helpful Lewis is on the other end of the telephone. He will ring me three times, he explains, but I am not to answer until the third call by which time my Alarming Problem will be solved. He is as good as his word, bless him. Before hanging up he reminds me that the service engineers are available to help 24/7.

It must be the fact that I grew up in a different age, a time when shops shut on Sundays and nobody would think of telephoning for help before 8 a.m. except in a real emergency. It would never have occurred to me to contact the alarm company at 3 in the morning.


Still, if I had, I would probably not have had the pleasure of meeting Lewis, albeit simply at the other end of a phone. Nor would I have enjoyed being Up All Night with the BBC Five Live presenters.

A day which started so badly has turned out rather well. Our alarm is in good working order and our smart new lamps have Lightened Our Darkness. I have saved money renewing both our car insurance and breakdown cover and I scored over 100 in both games of Nomination Whist this afternoon when our Merry Gang convened at our house for cards and company.

Moi, je ne regrette rien. As a celebrated French songbird once memorably sang. A song to live your life by, if ever there was one. I think I shall suggest this as a discussion topic to the Five Live producers.

It would certainly keep me Up All Night...


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Latest comments

23.04 | 20:15

lovely and heartwarming - an inspiration to us all x

09.03 | 12:07

Love this story told as ever beautifully.x

10.11 | 21:31

What a super account of a special event. I loved meeting you last night and seeing your creation come together. I’m so pleased you got so much from the activity

07.09 | 13:17

I have broad shoulders x

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