Saturday 13 August 2022

Locks, stock & broken barrels

Last night in London’s latest heat wave I fell asleep in the garden, amid the beauty of blink-and-you-miss-em shooting stars. Magical dreams of stargazing and daring do’s were rudely awoken by my favourite boy shaking me to tell me I was asleep in the garden. Well the house was hot as toast and the garden’s cool breeze allowed me to do community service to the many mozzies and midges who feasted happily enough on me. 

The boy wanted me awake in the wee small hours to share his irritation at being awoken himself by a gaggle of drunk uni-gals trying to break in as the front door was not opening. I tried the door in equal disbelief and irritation. Unusually they were right and open it would not. 

By the time I properly had my bearings, the girls were trundling down the road. With the ever so excellent plan of going the long way round to the back: down our road, into another, across a dark field, to climb through a brambled ditch, and hedge of holly, while wearing the thin and skimpy things so loved by uni-gals on a hot and balmy night. All while ignoring the detail that the locks at the back of the house are as impenetrable as the front. In hindsight I’m glad my boy woke me instead of marauding girls breaching the back boundary. 

I cut through the internal assault course that is our garage and tried to not wake the whole neighbourhood in chasing the girls down the road and pssssting them to join me via the garage. 

Like a gift that keeps on giving, this morning the really convenient door fun continued as my boy came and went a couple of times, before 7.30am via the garage assault course. We take security seriously so opening any of our doors is not easy. To protect our prized possessions such as the laundry, a thousand unfinished art projects, bulk buy specials of toilet roll and the discontinued hobbies of lockdown, opening the garage door is particularly tricky, requiring at least one of you to be awake and inside. My boy, doing the pre-work favours to the dog was outside obviously. 

I had another go at the front door lock but still it would not play.

By this time my uni-gal was up and said she’d let me in via the convenient garage route if I needed to go out. Returning from the crispy patch formerly known as my allotment I knocked to be let in. Then I phoned. Then I rang the doorbell on the useless front door. Again. And again. After a not-so-short short while, stood in the blistering heat, in a moment of karmic harmony the uni-gal was finally roused from her own al-fresco slumber by me holding a finger on the door bell. If I hadn’t woken all the neighbours last night with my slip-slapping flip flops and loud pssssting at the pissed ones, the morning bell should have done the trick. Our previous residents must have been deaf as posts as the doorbell sounds like a fire drill. All so I could be let in to my own home. And yet. She couldn’t open the garage door. In addition to requiring a lock-and bolt negotiator on the inside, a little brute force is also needed. 

Home and dry after her hefty shove, I set about finding somewhere open on a Saturday that both sold and stocked locks. Being a lazy old sort I sought an exact replacement to avoid any filing of holes or repainting of our ancient front door. I now know the usual lock selling shops either don’t open on Saturdays or do not stock our specialist model. Aided by google, I finally found one that both answered the phone and had our lock in stock. After I picked myself up off the floor at the price I wondered if having a human door controller inside the garage at all times was feasible given our many comings and goings. Luckily the available stockist knows his locking onions and asked some pertinent questions. After flummoxing me with lock anatomy and barrels and finishes, he offered some simple advice. The lock might not need replacing. And may not in fact be dead. Just dead-locked. I didn’t know that was a thing. But then again, as life so often demonstrates, you don’t know what you don’t know.  And in my experience, most often, once you do know more of what you didn’t, life and the universe, make so much more sense. 

Back through the garage assault course, squeezing past overflowing shelves and the boiling water tank, in climbing temperatures, and outside with a key I coaxed the lock back from its dead state to the life we know and love as a thing that opens the door to easily let us in and out. 

So, if ever you find yourself in need of locking tips or stock, especially on a Saturday, I can thoroughly recommend

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