My Beeping Mother

What I find, going to my mum’s, is that every visit is a kind of adventure.

You can’t plan for what will happen once you get there, because you genuinely just can’t even begin to imagine where your afternoon will go.

Mine, for example, had me spending about fifteen minutes looking for a shoe after my mum pulled out a pair to go shopping in which turned out not to be a pair but just two shoes – albeit a left and a right – from different pairs. Wildly different pairs.

So as Carole took mum on a run round all her favourite purse-friendly shops, I was rummaging through the bottom of a wardrobe matching up footwear.

Not that it ended there.

Because there’s also the mysterious case of the 23.59 alarm to deal with.

Apparently since my father died – which is about 18 months now – there has been an alarm going off. Mum says it’s every night, but I’m not sure it actually is – it was certainly never mentioned while I was there when she came out of hospital. There has been mention of an alarm going off periodically, which has perplexed my mum – and it’s this one, I think, which has now been upgraded to nightly.

So, what the bloody hell is it?

Mum has had me changing the batteries in a variety of external thermometers because it was believed that these dying had caused an alarm to go off in the receiving unit. But nope, it wasn’t that.

She then thought she had tracked down the alarm to a bag of watches. Because that’s the sort of thing we have kicking around at mum’s house. But, again, it wasn’t those. But not before mum, bizarrely, rang up and asked me if I’d fiddled with one of them to make the alarm go off – because that’s the sort of thing I’d do, and I hadn’t been to see her (at the time she rang) for about a week. I believe in playing the long game sometimes when it comes to practical jokes but I’m just making work for myself if I drag mum into any of them.

And, to be honest, I think I peaked a good few years ago when I convinced my mum that an attractive pebble she had found at Spurn Point was, in fact, fossilised whale turd and she threw it away with the kind of speed you’d expect from a top baseball pitcher.

Anyway, the bag of watches has been moved. And yet the alarm still continues.

So today, when we got there, mum told me it was the wardrobe that was beeping.

I’ve had every electronic device in there out today. I’ve tried to turn them on, one by one. You have to bear in mind that the stuff in there is stuff dad put away but that is “too good” to throw out. Things haven’t been put in there recently. And everything in there is deader than the deadest thing at a dead convention in Deadsville. Nothing carries any charge, anything that had a battery no longer has one in residence.

So now the working theory is that the neighbours have an alarm clock of some description right next to the wall, and that mum – with her supersonic hearing and textbook light sleeping skills (when it suits) – can somehow hear that through the wall to such an extent that it wakes her up.


Or she’s imagining it.


I mean, she spent a good while today trying to convince me that she couldn’t do one of her 1000 piece jigsaws because there were only 99 pieces in the box…

So, you know, anything’s possible.