Test or Toast?

“Must remember to ask someone to put a seat on this flippin’ toilet”, I said to myself for the umpteenth time since the start of term, prompted by the familiar touch of cold ceramic. This encouraged me not to linger any longer than necessary, and turned out to be fortuitous. When I emerged from the toilet after the quietest few minutes I’d had all day, I discovered that the fire alarm was sounding and there was a distinct air of the Marie Celeste about the place.

Cripes, how long has that been going off for? I said to myself, glad that if this was a real fire, the missing toilet seat might just have saved my life. I spotted a freshly made cup of tea and a steaming bowl of porridge abandoned in the kitchen area, and this persuaded me it was time to leave. I set off for the nearest exit, feeling slightly nostalgic for our old building and its painfully loud alarm system which necessitated fingers in ears and a swift exit, no matter where you were when it went off. It was clearly put in place by someone who understood the difficulty of trying to empty a building of students in under five hours.

The new building, previously a call centre, has a much quieter alarm and it would appear that two toilet doors are enough to come between me and it. Just as I was wondering how many hearing impaired people had emerged from institutional toilets over the years to find themselves engulfed by a wall of flames, the fire alarm stopped. Thankfully, it was a test after all.

I added ‘get toilet seat’ to my high-level academic To Do list, and made a mental note never to spend more than two minutes in the toilet in future, just in case.

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2 Responses to “Test or Toast?”


  1. 1 babs scott November 26, 2011 at 7:44 pm

    During the Summer, my school had the asbestos ripped out and new suspended ceilings put in place with dazzlingly illuminative lighting. Unfortunately the new ceiling didn’t take account of the fact that schools ring bells on a fairly regular basis and the one on our landing was now only emitting a slight chirp instead of the usual ear splitting ring ( it seemed to have disappeared behind the new ceiling). The kids in my class were getting pretty fed up with me letting them out late for breakj and lunch, when finally a “wee man” came to remedy the situation. We again have the usual mega decibel ring of old, just don’t stand near it when it goes off!

  2. 2 moiradancer November 27, 2011 at 5:09 pm

    Boarding over the bell sounds like the type of oversight which can occur with alarming regularity in educational settings…one has to hope that whoever project managed that one wasn’t the same person who did the asbestos!


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