It happened during a state of shutdown. After the previous evening’s late night, rest was priority number one and we were both out to it.
That was until the noise broke through. Starting like an incubus in a dreamy state, it grew slowly until with a spurring elbow, eye lids parted to cull sleep, but not the screaming sound outside our caravan.
“Our car?” came Rachel’s brief and sleepy question.
“Whaaa…” came my equally sleepy reply. “Our car doesn’t have an alarm…” I muttered.
Or at least, I didn’t think it had an alarm. After all, the guy I’d just picked it up from the day before never told me it had one.
What he did say, in his broad Lancashire accent was, “it does ‘ave an immobiliser.”
But that’s not an alarm. Is it?
Naturally, this is where I trip up in life. Most men would know that having an immobiliser means having an alarm. I just thought it was a device installed to annoy other motorists when I stalled at the traffic lights in peak hour and had to swipe the keys twice in front of a dashboard sensor, before re-inserting them into the ignition and cranking the engine again.
Peering through our caravan curtains, I looked out beyond the end of my in-law’s driveway. The only car parked on the street was our recently acquired 4×4 and like a DJ rave gone wrong, it played out a shocking tune, all whilst being backed up by out of sync hazard lights.
“Keys, keys, where are the car keys?” I stammered, grabbing a pair of shorts off the floor and falling sideways into the kitchen sink of our wobbly new home.
“Try inside Mum and Dad’s” replied Rachel, as I burst out through the caravan door and legged it over to the back entrance of their house. “Keys, keys, where are the house keys?” I groaned, running back into our caravan and staring in desperation at Rachel. “Look on the hook, above your head!”
Returning again to the house I tried every key – twice. But none worked. Crap and bollocks! Here goes…. bang, bang, bang I rapped on the porchway door. Through glass paneling I caught a glimpse of Henry coming to my rescue. Only one problem, Henry doesn’t have any hands, he’s got a long tail and four legs which right at that point, was of no use at all.
But he does have a mouth. “Bark! Come on boy! Bark the place down!”
In desperation, I began hopping from one foot to another whilst flailing my arms, in the hope of convincing the softest guard dog in North Wales that I might be a possible threat.
Somewhere out of sight came the sound of a bedroom door opening…then footsteps…then my Mother in law…then a door opening. With so much noise and action, it came as a surprise to see the clock on the wall hadn’t even reached five yet.
Once at the car, I still wasn’t sure exactly what I needed to do? Worst case scenario played out and in a state of desperation I wondered whether I’d seen a Bear Grylls’ episode of late. One that offered survival tools for dealing with a situation like this? What if I couldn’t turn it off? Would I have to drive rural and kip somewhere until the resident gypsy population woke me with glowing light sticks and new age dance moves outside my mobile DJ box.
But, after jumping in and ‘swiping’ the immobiliser, silence once again descended around the sleepy island neighbourhood – almost silence – I was still panting a bit from running around, but soon, even that settled too. And, with an hour to go before the kids woke up… Shutdown mode beckoned once again.