This morning, early, I come down to a beep.
It isn’t a consistent beep, but intermittent enough for me to wonder if I heard it at all. It is one of those beeps that turns my head every so often, for my ears to attempt location, and to fail. It’s irritating. Distant. The smooth whirr of the wind through the holes in the window frame is interrupted. The musical phrasing of birdsong is spiked with a false note, in the wrong key. The rise of kettle steam is not allowed it’s natural span without interruption and it doesn’t matter where I stand, I cannot pinpoint the sound. I narrow my eyes and sharpen my ears and stand quite still in each space, turning my head this way, and that to better establish it’s whereabouts.
Coffee tastes fine.
Washing machine whirrs.
I scuddle the ash from the fire and carry it carefully out to the garage.
I feed the birds and chop the kindling.
Ok now I am rising as Boudicca, with murder on my mind, but I must be a quiet Boudicca or I won’t hear this soft… intermittent…. infuriating…….
I stand quite still.
Aha! It’s the washing machine.
No, it isn’t the washing machine.
It’s the microwave, the fridge, the torch charger, although none of these have ever beeped before.
No it isn’t any of the above. In fact, it is coming from the big dresser, the one full of tea towels, materials, cloths and painting equipment.
Now I am very intrigued. I might be the first Boudicca ever to have a beeping tea towel, although I do realise that in putting Boudicca and tea towels together, I make nonsense.
I rummage through a few things and hold my breath.
Nearer and nearer, but not yet……
Right at the very back-back is a box. The very back-back of this dresser has not seen light of day, nor felt the touch of human fingers, for a very long time, so I bring an element of surprise, which could be to my advantage.
It’s a fire alarm.
What on earth is it doing in here, all batteried up and ready to scream FIRE? Did somebody think the tallboy might spontanously combust?
I remove the battery and consider. I have lived as a firefighter myself. Most women live that way. Reacting positively to each familial disturbance, coming up with bright positive alternatives, keeping everyone and everything safe, and sometimes to feel very much at the dark back-back of an Imposing Tallboy.
But, I can beep – out of key perhaps and intermittently, just enough to make it irritatingly clear that I need a new battery.