We'd been walking the dogs and got rained on. Back to the car and tried to zap it open. No response. Zap again. Still no response. It was raining and cold and the light was going. We were damp. The dogs were damp. philmophlegm tried opening a door with the key. Cue enormous row from alarm and excited flashings from the immobiliser system, but at least we were all now inside out of the rain. Try to start car. More excited flashings from immobiliser system. We were able to appreciate the full range of whining, wailing, yowling and farting noises that the alarm system is apparently able to produce. Several times.
We called Britannia Rescue, who were very efficient as far as it went. Then we had a call from the local agent, who seemed to be completely bemused by:
a) our car being 4 wheel drive, and therefore not towable with a normal tow-truck (one would think they would be used to this round here!)
b) my not being prepared to be driven home leaving our two damp cold nervous hounds in the car for an indefinite period, while a mechanic played with the alarm system to try to fix it. (I could just see this leading to 'we can't fix it tonight, we'll send out a trailer for it tomorrow' and having to walk back 4 miles in pitch darkness and pouring rain, with a pair of very sad wet tired dogs, because they don't fit in our other car and the local agent won't allow dogs in his vans.)
The local agent went away to have a think about how else they could rescue us.
Then there was a long pause, while the light faded further, it became surprisingly cold, and we contemplated the fading likelihood of rescue, and thought darkly about the long, pavement-less, streetlight-less road between us and our house, and the total absence of taxi services.
In my gloom, I found myself fiddling with the car keys, and pressed the magic button one more time. And it worked! I have never been so happy to hear a beep in my entire life. I swiftly drove home before it could change its mind.
Apparently the alarm system in that car (the imposing-sounding Eagle 2) is so old you can't get new remotes for it (in that way that causes mechanics to laugh unkindly when you give the make and version number). The damn thing had a second, Toad immobiliser* fitted when we bought it (because otherwise we could not get insurance, as a Thatcham approved immobiliser was needed). So I am taking it along tomorrow to get the whole annoying Eagle alarm and immobiliser system removed, and replaced with a nice quiet simple central locking kit.
Interestingly although we were clearly fiddling with a car with the alarm going off unstoppably, none of the other dog-walkers showed the slightest interest. I conclude from this that alarms are pretty much pointless, and I'm not going to replace this one. We will have to live with just the immobiliser.
*for the benefit of ladyofastolat: no, it isn't. Sorry. They aren't the most mobile animals at the best of times: I don't think you'd need special electronics. you could just put them in the bath or something.