No, I won't SNORKEL in your server room at STUPID-O'CLOCK

A fishy tale of a drowned comms kit

ON-CALL In the spirit of our popular eXpat Files column, we've decided to chronicle some of the weird things that have happened to readers who work on-call.

This week's story came from Reg reader, Paul, whose story goes like this:

I used to work in telecoms in London and we had quite a few major foreign embassies and overseas banks to maintain.

One night at about 3am, I got a call from a German bank whose office was close to the River Thames.

It wanted an engineer urgently as its phones and internet were down. I politely asked if anyone could go into the basement to make sure everything was switched on.

The person on the phone then handed it to an irate manager, who informed me the basement was inaccessible. When I asked why, he said: "It's under four feet of water".

With the best will in the world, there was no way I would go to a site at 3am in scuba gear.

At least it was (fairly) cleanish water from a burst pipe underneath the basement. The contractors had to pump the water out from a rear door on the ground floor just to get access to dig the floor up.

Fixing the mess required a complete rebuild of the comms room, so I really, really didn’t need to get involved.

I know the company I worked for were grinning at all the cash it'd make: as a final tally, it must have cost the bank maybe £200K in equipment and labour. It all helps with the Christmas kitty.

Do you have a story of weird on-call incidents? You know the drill: share them by writing to me here. ®

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