Good Morning World

It is 4 in the morning and I am wide awake. Exams, nope. Work, nope. Stress of any darned sort, nope. If I string together any more ‘nopes’, you shall bop me, I get it. Plus I should not be blathering at 4 bloody o’ clock. It is plain unhealthy.

We went to bed with the music of a duo of Croatian cellists in our ears, rather late. Just about three hours ago.

So when the fire alarm went off in the apartment, we leapt up bewildered. I managed to slip on my glasses sleepily and stumbled out of the bedroom only to catch my husband fanning the fire alarm detector in the apartment. Hmm an innate response given the fact that every other noon he does it – when it goes off as I cook. Yes, despite the might of the extractor in the kitchen.

In our apartment in Northampton, the fire alarm would go off in a trice. We would just stay in. Stupid, I know. Especially bearing in mind Grenfell Towers. But it had never gone off in the middle of the night – or early morning as it turns out. Today the alarm must have gone off around 3-ish. And it was dire. Imagine the loudest level you can put your alarm clock on. Now multiply that about roughly 50 times or so. That would be it. We rushed down the stairs and it was not too long before we were out with a fair number of the residents on the pavements outside. An odd sort of get-together, meet-your-neighbour kinda affair. In your pyjamas, hair dishevelled, wonderful morning breath in place – someone was even bare-chested in the chilly morning air. Good time to show off tattoos.

The dogs were going berserk. My legs were shaking from the sound. They must have been scared witless. One by one they streamed out of the building, the black Great Dane like a silent creature of the night, big and mournful, the tiny cute Corgi who wanted reassurance from all of us around him, the white poodle who sat shivering in his master’s arms, the golden retriever sitting between his master’s legs with his ears perked up and looking suspiciously calm. There were others too.

A window was flung open on the first floor, and a male voice informed us, ‘I called 911. They said we could stay in.’ Right. Never mind the sound in yours ears, intense enough to give you palpitations.

The morning air was chilly, and in about 10 minutes, three red fire trucks arrived. Is it an odd moment to slip it in that American fire trucks are glitzy? Four beefy firemen strapped up in their protective bulky gear and self-contained breathing apparatus trooped in. Then it took an eternity while they went around the building.

Meanwhile we chatted with a couple we know from a rooftop barbecue party. Then a woman with her little one. Her husband, a doctor, had refused to follow them out because he had to get up in an hour anyway to get to work. Heavens. I was genuinely impressed by his powers of endurance.

After their survey, the firemen finally shut the alarm 20 minutes before we were allowed back into the building. But I did manage to see an odd sight, a woman doing make-up in a pick-up truck right opposite the building. At 4 in the morning. What are the odds of that, eh?

P.S.: There are no photos. I had left my phone, wallet and fob inside because I had just about managed to take myself out.


Published by

Arundhati Basu

The great affair in my life is to travel. I count myself immensely fortunate that my partner shares this passion. We are a team that likes to spend time planning and plotting out places to go. Destination check, flights check, accommodation check, cheesy grins check. Off we go.

82 thoughts on “Good Morning World

  1. What a strange way to start Tuesday! I had a few casual moments like this while living in Chicago. Your description about tattoos, morning breath and so on sounded very familiar. I hope you nap later πŸ˜‰


  2. That sounds like a terrible disturbance of sleep. I feel like I would also ignore it if I lived in an aparment complex, only cause I really do love sleep πŸ˜€ I feel for that doctor husband who has to get up at 4 anyway, I too would stay in and just sleep for one more hour.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Angela ear plugs would not be of any help and the automated voice droning ‘Fiyah fiyah’. You would be in for a ball πŸ˜› Yeah that doctor husband is a case study and the guy who opened the window and let us know that he was staying inside πŸ˜‰

      Liked by 1 person

      1. That’s their fire alarm?? ? It’s an American voice saying fire over and over? That’s disturbing on another level ?

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Since nothing bad seemed to happen, what an exciting night! But scary too. When I was in Korea the fire alarm would go off in my apartment occasionally. Once we had to evacuate because there was smoke in the hallways. That time was legitimately scary and not just annoying.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It was exciting alright. The last time I saw firemen here was when we had just arrived in Jersey City. We were in a cab and we were passing by the fire station and the cab driver was amused because I took a photo of the firemen at work washing their trucks. One of the firemen caught me taking a photo, so he waved with a big grin. This was my second experience of taking in the sight of them and it was not bad πŸ˜‰

      Smoke in the hallways would be scary! Yikes. I have never had a legit experience yet, but boy it would be horrible. Right now Grenfell is on my mind and I cannot seem to wipe it off easily.


      1. I don’t think I have seen any US firefighters. They must be tall and muscly. hehe. A real apartment fire must be terrifying. Please stay safe and try not to let the idea keep you awake at night.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. You can never leave your phone! I always imagine when going to bed what I might look like if I had to be rushed out in the wee hours of the morning. It must’ve been so interesting people (and dog) watching, such a mix of types, eh? My fire alarm now is the same as yours in Northampton was- any bit of smoke sets it screaming. So obnoxious. I hope you were able to get back to bed eventually because I had an irresistible mother urge to sing you a lullaby while reading this.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Lyz, the one here is Loud. It is so intense that my legs were shaking long after it had been turned off. The Northampton one was a cow in comparison you know.

      I know! I should have carried my phone. Adi is convinced that if he had been travelling, I would have walked out without the fob and got locked out. He clearly has faith in me.

      It was funny to see everyone out there. Like a weird meet. We were actually waiting to meet an adorable golden retriever we had met the other day. Alas, he did not appear!

      Hahaha come on over mommy, a lullaby is what big baby needs. xx

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Nap done with Lyz. Right after blogging which proved to be a therapy of sorts. I would be a grinch otherwise.

        There is a point to the loudness I can see. Better to be woken up than caught in a fire. Unless you are a doctor! Cheila should take note here πŸ˜‰

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Perfect day to snuggle under a cozy, warm duvet, have a fav show marathon and order a pizza for dinner! πŸ˜‰ Glad that it was a false alarm *pun intended* πŸ˜€ x

    P.S- Here’s the promised link –

    We weren’t lucky enough to make it to the beach, but the beaches at Connemara are the best in Ireland! Very Caribbean like, they say. That’s a prime reason to visit Connemara in summer, if the weather stays at your side (which in our case, it didn’t, lol!)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for the link, Mallika. I would love to read your experience in Connemara. I shall drop by yours. Have been missing out on all my blog reading, so good to know that I am not missing out altogether! Carribean waters of Connemara here she comes πŸ˜‰

      I read your pun loud and clear lady πŸ˜€ To feel better I am making paneer paranthas to go with back-to-back episodes of Outlander and then a WW documentary! xx

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Hello Bridget! πŸ™‚ This was my first experience of rushing out in the middle of the night/early morning. I did end up with notes to the self – like how not to rush out in a Popeye tee!

      I did not get the second half of your comment. Water in instant mac and alarm going off at 3am …that is what I could understand but not all the way πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I accidentally slept through a fire alarm in college. I woke up when the student supervisor shook me awake and it took me awhile to understand what she was saying. (I was sick and took meds to get better that make you sleepy.) whoops! Glad you were able to get back in and no harm done though.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I did, I had to go talk to the residence life people afterwards to explain why I didn’t get out of the building. I was actually quite annoyed at them because they sent me an email saying that if I continued to ignore them they would kick me out or something but I hadn’t made an appointment because the RA that was supposed to give me the notice lost it. ? Anyway I said I was sleeping and sick and hadn’t heard it and they said a lot of people had said the same so they were going to increase the sound level. ?

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Yeah because they thought I just didn’t get out and then thought I was ignoring them! I let the lady have it about that and she apologized. Probably because I complained to her boss too (who I knew because of student government). Hahahaha hopefully it doesn’t but I’m not living on campus anymore so I think I’m safe! ?

        Liked by 1 person

      1. That’s good. I haven’t been too energetic the last three weeks with house projects in addition to all of my routine! Some of the days I don’t feel like posting anything, but I managed to do at least one post a day. The responses kind of cheer me up. So I hope I get over this tiredness hump also!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Aw poor you. I am surprised you managed to blog despite the projects. It can take a toll. It is easy to get addicted to blogging and miss out on other things meanwhile. But I do get your point about the interactions. They cheer me up too! πŸ™‚ xx

        Liked by 1 person

      3. I used to do two or three a day, the Daily Prompts, different challenges, some happen on the same day. Now I only do one, sometimes two a day, and give time for other things. I answers all the comments every day. πŸ™‚ xoxo

        Liked by 1 person

  7. That’s very scary. Glad nothing came of it. I was in a hotel on the 11th floor when that happened at 12:30 am. My child was 9 or 10 at the time. Down the stairs we went, none too pleased. Found out someone was smoking in their room when they shouldn’t. ?

    Liked by 2 people

    1. It is Paula, your experience sounds alarming. We are lucky when nothing comes of such alarms. I would be scared witless of having to evacuate a high-rise apartment. Thankfully we live in a building with just 6 floors. The problem with being in buildings/towers is that you are prey to other’s actions, however insensible.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. We do have pictures… all your perfectly crafted vignettes create a very clear montage from dogs to firefighters and yes, US firetenders are splendidly bling! ? xx

    Liked by 1 person

  9. so pleased your ok xxx….very scary when it happens. I was living in a duplex house. the passageways for both houses were joined by the roof. so the passage/hallway went right down the centre. My sister Paula was staying with me at my house. We got woken up to a lot of noise next door, then we could smell smoke. we raced outside. The firemen and police were there. Someone had thrown a moletoff cocktail into the house next door. Lucky no one was hurt and with the noise it woke us up….

    Liked by 2 people

  10. That sounds like a bad alarm. The one is my previous office would go off every Friday at 930 (alarm test you see). Jarring it was to say the least. So when one day it took off on Friday, it took me full 30 seconds to realise that it did not go silent as usual, and that it was an actual call for evacuation. It was done smoothly, but it was not really a pleasant experience (on a Friday too).

    Glad to know you are OK! Xx

    Liked by 1 person

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