London, England (18-20 Creechurch Lane)
I woke up and had a light breakfast. After milling around the flat for a couple of hours I got ready to go out for a walk. I walked over to the “Gherkin” building (formally known as 30 St. Mary Axe) which is only 100 yards away. Quite a sight when you leave the building where you’re staying and it stands out as one of first things you see.
I saw EAT deli (a local chain) across the street, and now being hungry again, thought I’d go in. Quite a name for a deli. You know right away they are in the food business. It was the middle of lunch time and all places to eat were full of business people ordering and eating their lunch. Another sunny and cool day and many were eating their lunch outside. I ordered a chicken pie with mash (mashed potatoes) and took it outside to eat.
Watching all of these business people walking about brought back memories when I worked. Now over two years ago when I retired. I had almost forgotten. Everything was so important and critical to one’s career. I saw men in blue suits and women wearing black for the most part. Everyone seemed very serious. Was I like that?
I pushed on and did some shopping. Picked up a glasses case to replace the one that was in the lost bag, toothpaste and a new brush, and a few items from a nearby Tesco.
As I approached the flat I saw the front door was open and two firemen were standing just inside the door. Then I heard the building’s fire alarm. I didn’t see any smoke so I guess the building wasn’t going up in flames.
When I got to the front door I asked what was going on. One of the firemen said the building alarm had gone off but there was no fire. The electrical panel was open and they said they couldn’t turn the alarm off. When I got up to the flat I called the building management company to report the situation and they didn’t seem to know anything about it. The person I spoke to asked that I check the batteries in my smoke alarm. It was then when I knew that this wasn’t going to be resolved soon. I repeated again that all of the fire alarms (not smoke detectors) were going off and it was very noisy. She said she would contact building maintenance to get them to have a look. I knew this was more than a maintenance people could handle. But I waited for a call back that never came.
I called again and spoke with someone else. She seemed to have a greater sense of urgency and said she would report it. It was then I called Booking.com and asked about my options to move, or to get them to escalate the issue. Then learned that I could be moved tomorrow, but not today.
After an hour I went down again to the building lobby and saw that there were two electricians looking at the panel. They told me that the issue wasn’t with this building’s electrical panel, but the business next door. So I went next door and found that their alarm was more annoying than my building. They had called their electrician and he was driving to their location. They didn’t have the code to shut off the alarm. I knew this would get resolved somewhat soon because they had a wine bar with no customers. Well, did see their only customers. Two business men drinking beer but apparently they didn’t mind the noise.
An hour later the alarm stopped and it was like the world had gone quiet. Even the street noise was good to hear. During the alarm I just tried to keep busy so I wouldn’t be distracted. I was able to put a wet towel around the alarm outside my apartment and that helped a bit.
I could now get on with enjoying my evening. Not sure what I would have done if the alarm continued. Yes, I had excitement for the day, but I’d rather not. As I’m writing this I’m now putting together what I experienced earlier, watching the business people rushing around, like an alarm was going off. Then returning to the flat earlier and that same sense of urgency with real alarms. Guess this was something that I had to learn or experience today.
For whatever reason, after dinner, I was very tired and was in bed by 9:30. No plans again for tomorrow except to walk around some more.