The one where I’m a genius. Obviously.

Once, a really, really, really long time ago, I was driven halfway round the twist by a beeping smoke alarm in my house.

Except we couldn’t find it.

For days, it went BEEP….BEEP….BEEP every 30 seconds. It was loudest at the top of the stairs, but couldn’t be heard as clearly downstairs, or in the new loft/playroom. Whatever, it was loud enough to be heard in every single part of my house. I was reduced to sleeping with ear-plugs.

After fruitlessly trying to find the wretched thing and having no luck, I was struck by a horrible thought – there was a smoke alarm bracket on the wall in our newly-converted loft, but no smoke alarm. What if the smoke alarm had been plastered behind the new wall?


This being my life, it couldn’t be that simple.

My lovely builder, Rich, came round and then went away and came back with special ladders and clambered up through our Victorian, extremely shaky looking skylight. He proceeded to cut a hole through the back wall to the loft/playroom and wriggled through (he’s over 6 foot, so it was no mean feat). Once in the dusty crawlspace he found… no smoke alarm.

If fact it turned out the B@STARD neighbours had gone on holiday and it was their smoke alarm that had been beeping all week. Their house is all modern and “open plan”, which is another way of saying “echo chamber” as it turns out.


Still, the thing about being a genius is you don’t get caught out like that twice.

This weekend, we returned from a trip to London and there it was – BEEP….BEEP….

I quickly checked our smoke alarm in the loft and the hallway. Both fine. I wandered round the house and in my wisdom, realised that – just like last time – the noise was loudest at the top of the first floor stairs. Which is exactly where the neighbours have their smoke alarm, on the other side of the wall. Problem solved.

A quick glance out of our lounge window revealed the neighbours were out, and the blinds were all lowered. They were away for the weekend. Brilliant.

Luckily I deal with adversity brilliantly and Flea certainly didn’t have any cause to say anything along the lines of, “Goodness you’re being very grumpy today, Mummy”. Cough.

But honestly – 48 hours straight of BEEP…BEEP… it’s enough to drive anyone to distraction!

So when I heard the neighbours on their doorstep, I raced to our front door and practically jumped on them, begging for the love of all that’s holy, to turn off their smoke alarm.

“Er, it’s not ours,” said my lovely neighbour, looking confused.


I went back inside. BEEP…BEEP…BEEP…

I might have sworn a bit. Flea took it quite well, considering. “Well, this is a very exciting mystery!” she exclaimed. She’s been reading Scooby Doo all week.

Twenty minutes later, after combing the house top to bottom, the truth was revealed.

During the last smoke alarm ‘incident’, I had – in a fit of total, blind RAGE – disconnected every smoke alarm I could find. And while I had since reconnected two smoke alarms, the other two had stayed where I’d dropped them – on the bed, in our spare bedroom, at the back of the house. Just at the top of the stairs. Where one of them had been merrily BEEP-ing at me for 48 hours straight.

It’s official.

I shouldn’t be allowed to be in charge of a house.

Anyone know a good housekeeper?


Sally is a full-time blogger and founder of the Tots100, Trips100, Foodies100 and HIBS100 communities, along with the MAD Blog Awards. She spends a bit too much time on the Internet. She’s also a very happy Mum to Flea, the world’s coolest ten year old.

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  1. 26th June 2012 / 9:27 pm

    I bought one of those alarms that fits over the light fitting and recharges when you turn on the light. The first night back after a holiday (when we obviously hadn’t been using our lights, so the charge had run down) it started beeping at us at 2am. We turned on the light to charge it, but it wasn’t happy, it seemed that it was gaining as much energy from the light as it was using to tell us it didn’t have enough power, so it wouldn’t stop. After about an hour I fetched a hammer an smashed the thing to smithereens and bought a normal one with a battery the next morning.
    Knitty Mummy recently posted..Bara Brith with a twistMy Profile

    • 28th June 2012 / 5:01 pm

      Genius. That is all.

  2. 27th June 2012 / 6:15 am

    It’s a perfectly understandable mistake. Absolutely anyone might make it. No, really. Honestly. I’m sure.

    Thanks for giving me a giggle. I needed that this morning 🙂
    geekmummy recently posted..Side by side: Our BritMums Live experiencesMy Profile

    • 28th June 2012 / 5:01 pm

      You are more than welcome 🙂

  3. Nicki Cawood
    27th June 2012 / 8:36 am

    That must have been very frustrating for you. I’m glad you found the beeping culprit.
    Nothing amusing about this post, nothing at all…..

    (Quiet snigger)

    • 28th June 2012 / 5:01 pm

      Nope. I agree. Nothing at all.

    • 28th June 2012 / 5:02 pm

      How unkind. Tsk.

  4. 27th June 2012 / 2:01 pm

    That reminds me. About three times a week we can hear something in our house that sounds like bells ringing. Really. It’s as if it’s one of those toy phones than randomly makes noises. This has been going on for TWO YEARS. We’ve searched everywhere but we’ve no idea what it is. I think it might be little fairies.
    Rosie Scribble recently posted..Drinkaware Twitter chat with the Tots100 – this Thursday 8pmMy Profile

    • 28th June 2012 / 5:01 pm

      Oh yes. Fairies.

  5. 27th June 2012 / 5:02 pm

    There’s an old Budho-Hindho-Tao-Zoroa belief that offended souls from one’s past can come back as smoke detectors to bug the sh** out of you. Google Smoke Alarm karma, it’s all there.
    Midlife Singlemum recently posted..How Do You Cope?My Profile

    • 28th June 2012 / 5:02 pm

      You’re scaring me! I have offended the karmic overlord of fire detection…

  6. Kelly Wiffin
    28th June 2012 / 9:00 am

    Sorry but I had to laugh at this! Bet the beeping was very annoying! Would of made me go mad! x

    • 28th June 2012 / 5:02 pm

      It’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it.