H ow long could I hold out before the banks of the Regents Park Canal burst and reached my third floor flat? If just one drop of water got into my BlackBerry, my life would be over. I glanced down— its red light was still flashing. Then the alarm clock went off and I woke up.
I’ve huge compassion for all the victims of the floods. So when the phone rang and my 91 year old mother said she had a leak in her ceiling, I leapt into action, jumping into my 4X 4 Tomb Raider Defender. It has a chimney on the bonnet that meant I could drive through fast-moving rivers.
After safely making it through a two-inch puddle I got to her flat. Five minutes later the entryphone crackled: “Who is it?” “Me!” “Who?” “Me. Your son. Me, Peter!” After another five minutes unlocking six locks she let me in.
“You do realise if you had a fire, you’d be dead?” I asked. “You’d never get out in time.”
“Do you want me to be murdered in my sleep by a cat-burglar?” “Mum, you live on the fifth floor. Cat- burglars are extinct”.
In the living room we watched the water dripping from the ceiling into a plastic bucket. “Leave this to me .” I said. I rang the managing agents. No reply. I left a message.
They called back and left a message to call them.
“Thanks for coming back to me,” I said. “ I didn’t,” a woman said. “ I just listened to your message.” “No, nobody called you back,” she said. “Look, I’ve just listened to it. You called me back five minutes ago”. “No, we didn’t.” “But it’s your voice and number!” “Nobody here called you back,” she said.
I put the phone down before I lost my sanity. I knew what I had to do: I rang my sister in Bali.
“ Mum’s got an emergency. No, she’s not flooded, she’s got a leak in the ceiling. Yes, I know you’re in Bali and I’m round the corner. Do this for me and I promise you the next time you have even a small tsunami - I’ll send you a blanket."
“Ok,” she said. That’s family.
The next morning my BlackBerry stopped working. “Water damage, “ Moe at EE said. “That’s impossible. It’s just been sleeping on the pillow next to me. I know that’s sad, yes, I live alone, OK?” “Whatever. Anyway, it’s got wet,” he said. “It’s finished...gone.” “It can’t have got wet in the bed. That is impossible,” I said. “ I didn’t say anything,” said Moe.
I bought another one. Next day I was woken up by a flashing red light. The irreversibly broken BlackBerry had recovered. According to EE this is a miracle of Moses parting the Red Sea proportions.
“I see you’ve now got two Blackberries,” my friend Stockholm Steve said over the cornflakes .He had flown in for the Arsenal v Bayern match. “You’ve always said you hate people with two phones.” “I know, but if floods or cat burglars get in and I lose one Blackberry, I’ll still have another left.”