I lock myself out.

Just when I think that I’m running out of things to blog about, I go and lock myself out of the house. What luck!

However, I AM rather busy. Hence the morning rush to the village shop.

I stand back and give the side door a hard stare. At times like this, it is important to keep calm and gather together all the facts. So:

The door is definitely closed.

It is definitely locked.

I definitely do not have a key.

My dad definitely forgot to replace the spare key when he went home on Monday.

The LTLP will definitely be home in (checks watch) nine-and-a-half hours time.

I study the lock closely, giving it a little wiggle. It’s a cheap one, and does not seem to have some form of fail-safe opening-from-the-outside device, for people that have forgotten their keys. This is clearly a design flaw.

I examine the tools at my disposal. I might be able to rig something together in order to effect an entrance. Available to hand are the following:

A garden chair

A copy of The Guardian newspaper

Some loose change

Three chicken fillets

A courgette

It’s annoying, but always the way. Had I been loafing in front of the TV, watching some ‘I’m locked-out and only have a chair, some money and some groceries’ type game show, I would have been shouting out the obvious solution to the hapless contestant. Here, actually IN the high-pressure locked-out situation, my mind goes blank.

The letterbox is quite large. I have quite thin arms, to go with my head, and I roll up my sleeves to make an exploratory grope for the handle on the inside. It’s tight – very tight – and the analytical percentage man in me warns me to withdraw. The locked out situation is bad, but at least I am locked out without my arm being stuck in a letterbox.

Hang on! I’m sure we left a spare spare key next door, some years back. After the LTLP, being a stupid woman, went out without her keys.

I go next door to Short Tony’s. Short Tony is very busy, but sympathetic. He can’t find the key, but he does kindly lend me his lawnmower. That will kill some time.

I mow the lawn. Really, really slowly. By the time I finish we have the carefullyest-mown lawn in the village. I check my watch. LTLP due back in nine hours.

I ring my dad, ostensibly to double-triple-check that he hadn’t left the spare key somewhere accessible after all, but really to make him feel bad. He sounds contrite, but at no point in our conversation does he offer to make the three-hour drive up here to let me in. Pensioners!

I sit and read the main bit of the paper. All of it. Even the long intellectual bits about the West Bank and stuff. The sun is out, it’s a beautiful day, and I start to relax a bit. Only eight-and-a-half hours to go.

I begin to regret the three early-morning cups of tea, and knock shamefacedly on Short Tony’s door, asking to use the toilet.

I offer to mow Short Tony’s lawn, which he gracefully declines. He accompanies me back, with some tools, which prove not to be any help whatsoever.

But I can see that he’s got an idea.

At the bottom of the side door is an old catflap. Some previous owners, presumably, had a cat. It is sealed up, badly, with cheap hardboard. He examines it closely, then stands and turns to me.

“What we need,” he says, very slowly and thoughtfully, “is an extremely well-trained cat.”

I sit and read the second half of the paper.

The spare spare key was on Short Tony’s kitchen table all along. His wife got home from work at lunchtime and found it within thirty seconds. So it was all his fault!!!

The lawn looks nice.

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