Monday, 27 October 2014

Peak District but First a Bit About Alarm Systems

Today I share with you a funny little story from last night.  I do actually have some pictures of England at the end of this post, but this was so much fun, I need to share with you first (I hope you can sense my sarcasm).  So here goes.

The house we are living in here in England has a security system.  When we first visited the house, I asked the relocation specialist (she helped us get settled in over here in England) about it and she said most houses in the UK have one, but they are seldom actually used.  As we moved into our house, we really didn’t give the security system much thought, assuming it works like alarms in the US – you need to pay an alarm company to hook it up and use it.  Therefore, we assumed since we had not paid an alarm company to hook it up, it wasn’t on.  When we moved in, we were given a very short user’s manual that has “Alarm?” written across the top of it so we aren’t even sure it’s the correct manual.  And no security code was provided.  We really didn’t think much more about the alarm, but something was nagging at me a bit.  What would happen if for some strange reason that alarm started to go off?  We would have no way to shut it off. 

So Eric sent an email to the letting agent (basically, he is our landlord right now because the people that own this joint are currently residing in India) but he received no reply.  We continued to be rather busy trying to get our house set up, working, attempting to buy a car (boy is that another story AND I still don't have a car) and planning our first major trip to mainland Europe, so he never followed up with the letting agent and it never really crossed my mind again.  I think you may have some idea now where this story is heading!

As fate would have it, around 7:00 pm last night the electricity in our village went out and the alarm on the outside of our house started blaring (not sure why it was only sounding outside our house and not inside???).  Basically, it sounded like a fire alarm was going off on the outside of our house and all I could image was our neighbors shaking their heads at the silly Americans who couldn’t shut it off (this is a very small village and trust me when I say everyone knows which house the Americans live in).   We knew nothing about this alarm, had no security code to try and turn it off and weren’t sure how to do that even if we had the code.  We’ve never been given the number to an alarm company and given that we only have cell phones over here, there was no way the alarm company was going to call us to find out what was going on or to assist us in shutting it off.  I’m not even sure it really is connected to an alarm company like security systems are in the US.  AND, we had no phone number other than the office number for the letting agent mentioned above and obviously he wasn’t sitting in his office at 7:00 pm on a Sunday night.  Needless to say, we found ourselves in quite a pickle. 

What we did have were 3 email addresses for the letting agent, so to make sure I got his attention on a Sunday night, I sent an email to all 3 addresses, putting the following in the subject line: “We need HELP at the house in Worthington NOW!  I can image what he thought when we saw that, but it must have worked because a few minutes later he emailed back and said he was trying to contact the owners in India, the former tenants and anyone else he could think of that might be able to help.  By this time 20-30 minutes had passed and suddenly the alarm went silent.  The electricity still wasn’t on, but at least we didn’t feel like the new kids on the block disturbing the peace here in this little village with our very loud, very annoying alarm anymore.

That is, until a few minutes later when the electricity came back on and we all whooped for joy, only to have it immediately go out again and, yes, you guessed it, the security alarm started ALL OVER AGAIN!  So, we all sat at the kitchen table by candlelight (I had thankfully bought a couple of candles to make our house smell nice) reading Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone while trying to ignore the blare of the alarm once again.  At least the girls thought it was fun!

Fun Fact:  Did you know the first Harry Potter book is really called Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone? A Philosopher’s Stone is a legendary substance believed to be the elixir of life and capable of rejuvenating the body and possibly achieving immortality.  Hence the reason Voldemort wanted to get his grubby little hands on it.  But, the American publisher of the book didn’t think the US audience would find the term “Philosopher” magical enough, so they changed it for the American audience to Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone.

I leave you with some pictures from a Sunday afternoon hike a few weekends back in the Peak District just north of Derby.  We hiked along a lovely canal and were amazed to see this beautifully painted riverboat going by being pulled by a horse. 
The boat in the picture of the girls was being pulled by this horse walking along the trail we were on.
The colorfully decorated riverboat was steered by this man in the back.

Sheep in the parking lot! We had to pay to park in this lot.

After our hike, Eric took us a bit further up the road to a little market town called Bakewell to enjoy a piece of their famous Bakewell Tart.  Yes, my sisters will LOVE the little shopping towns here.  They really are this cute!


  1. I believe they put the alarm outside of the house so if you are not home, the neighbors know that someone is tampering with your home. You didn't mention any neighbors running over to see what was wrong, or maybe they are just used to that happening, like the boy who cried wolf.
    This sister loves the picture of the market! You best be taking notes, or maybe I should, because when I visit, we are going to be busy! Hi to the family!

  2. No one came to our rescue! But I wager to bet that was because their electricity was out as well and they have seen this crazy sort of thing happen before. When you're here, remind me to take you to this little cafe/shop called Basil's. You will LOVE it!