Tuesday 18 November 2008

Fire alarms and bus stops

Yesterday afternoon we were all sitting quietly in the office, getting on with things. The tranquillity was shattered by a loud sound... the fire alarm. That's funny, I thought to myself, they're late today (the alarm test usually being at 10am). Then I thought, even funnier... today is Monday not Tuesday... and the alarm isn't stopping. Either we're on fire or we're having a fire drill. The same thought process was obviously happening around the room as one by one my colleagues reluctantly gathered their jackets and we all trooped off downstairs. We gathered on the pavement (which is our extremely safe muster point) and blocked traffic for a while. Once the man in the fluorescent jacket was satisfied each floor was accounted for we headed back to our offices.

I heard one of the chaps from the fifth floor grumbling about having to trek all the way down the five flights of steps. Bah! That is nothing to those of us who have worked in tower blocks and trekked down 30-something flights of steps. Ah, happy memories.

When I first worked in the tower block work was still being undertaken on unoccupied floors, and I think the first month we were there we had to evacuate the building at least once a week. Our muster point was a grassy square a few blocks away (the only place large enough to house a building that size) where you had to go and stand behind the person holding the wooden paddle with your floor number on it. The whole fire drill experience would take the best part of an hour; once all floors were satisfactorily accounted for the building then had to be re-populated in stages. Enough to say on several occasions, after registering our presence, some of my colleagues and I retired to the pub.

Yesterday evening as I was on my way home I found my bus in a queue of slow moving traffic heading past Cemetery Lane. There have been one-way diversions around Cemetery Lane for a few weeks now, and the entire road seems to be affected. Much to my relief the previous threats of no replacement bus stop seem to have been reconsidered as there is a temporary stop just along the road... which is great, as the two either side aren't exactly close.

I had an irritating replacement bus stop experience at the weekend. I decided to circumnavigate the usual annoyance of not being able to find any parking at the library on the weekend by taking the bus... the bus stop being usefully situated right by the Charlton House. Not this weekend. We passed through the Village and sailed through the temporary traffic lights and rapidly onward towards the Standard. Lucky that the road was obstructed by parked vehicles and the bus driver heard me and a fellow passenger complaining and decided to do the decent thing and let us off. That is an even longer walk back from Victoria Way!

The best thing about today, though, is that after labouring under the delusion all morning that today is Wednesday I've just had it pointed out to me that it is in fact Tuesday, so I've just gained half a day! Hurrah!