Where's the fire?

Wednesday, October 22nd, 2003

Well, that was exciting. There's a fire alarm test every Thursday, so early that I'm never here for it, but today isn't Thursday and the alarm went off anyway.
So we all trooped outside and huddled in the square, getting gently watered by the rain. Just at the point we were starting to grumble about when they were going to let us back inside there was a low rumbling explosion noise and a recovery truck pulled up.
Startled pigeons flew away and we looked at each in astonishment. Was this actually for real?
No, it wasn't. Noises and trucks were red herrings. Back in we all went – or tried to. The security guards were checking everyone's passes. Naturally, many people had done exactly what you're supposed to do when there's an alarm and left the building without picking up their possessions, including their passes. Now they were having trouble getting back in.
As I queued to get into the building I looked down a light well and through the windows of the basement, into the kitchen far below. One of the chefs was still down there. He'd never gone outside and was gleefully making 'you're cold and getting rained on' gestures at me.
Impossible to argue with him, of course, even if he wasn't the man who makes the cheese on toast.
Which I don't eat any more, oh no indeed.

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I'm Andy Darley. Sometimes I want to say things. This is where I do it.