Things I learned about why you should just ask a neighbour for help in the first place
2. A sans-battery smoke alarm beeps surprisingly loudly, considering.
3. Common sense tells you that the beeps can't possibly be getting louder and louder and louder and louder and louder, so there's really no point getting irritated. But stuff common sense.
4. A smoke alarm's favourite time to run out of battery is precisely one hour after the person who is tall and brave enough to reach it has left the house for a Northern city.
5. There is no point wishing that smoke alarms were positioned conveniently half-way up a wall so that you could change its battery more easily. This may suit you, if you're short, but being short is not an inconvenience compared to being a pile of ash, which is not very tall either.
6. Taking instructions from the tall and brave one about where the batteries are, how to use the ladder, and how to change the smoke alarm's battery, is not easy over a dodgy mobile phone connection when the tall and brave one is standing on a railway station and the man on the tannoy announcing the imminent arrival of the 3.49 to Manchester appears to be intimately involved in your phone call.
7. Retrieving a ladder from a downstairs cupboard, carrying it through the house and up the stairs, when the ladder is two feet taller than you are, burns off 13,092 calories and requires a stronger anti-perspirant than the one you're using.
8. The sticker saying, 'The safety lock must be engaged before you climb the ladder' probably means that it's best to find out how to engage the safety lock. THIS is when you go for the neighbour, not at point 13.
9. A career as a writer will end very quickly if you climb a ladder a) without finding out how to engage the safety lock; b) with your fingers in a position where they will be cut off by a sharp edge if the ladder collapses.
10. On a collapsing ladder with your fingers trapped is not nearly as nice a place to be as Tenby beach.
11. It is at the point at which your fingers are about to be separated from the rest of your body that you need to find a way to stop this happening. This is because typing with your ears is not easy. The book signings are also going to be awkward. And if your writing career tends to rest on pointing at people and laughing, you are going to have to switch genre.
12. The moments immediately after you rescue your fingers and jump off a ladder are good moments. Tenby beach doesn't even come near. And, suddenly, you don't notice the beeps.
13. Feeling your own heart, trying to escape from its cavity, is a bit like having a private Oasis concert going on in your chest.
14. It's best to wait for your breathing and heart rate to settle before landing on the neighbour's doorstep to ask for help. He may be confused by your sudden deterioration in communication skills, when you were perfectly lucid over the Christmas mince pies just a few months ago.
15. If you have writer's bottom, let the neighbour go up the stairs first.
16. The fact that a neighbour can set up a ladder, climb up it, take out an old battery and change it for a new one in precisely thirteen seconds without collapsing the ladder, losing his fingers or having to jump off the ladder from a height in an emergency should not be a matter for shame, but strangely, it is.
17. If you have a strange kink in your hair at the back, let the neighbour go down the stairs first.
18. The realisation that you still have fingers may make you want to hold something, just to prove that you still can. A wine glass, in this situation, is the ideal shape.