Locked Out

I had my morning all planned out: ten minutes yoga, breakfast, and then down to Santa Cruz to translate at the vet’s for my friends, followed by popping into the Astrotur office to discuss Monday’s group of visitors to the observatory. Then home to get on with the scale model solar system and writing.

The yoga went to plan. Then my husband asked for a lift to the next village to pick up a car. No problem – it’s only a five minute round trip.

But when I got back, I couldn’t get the front door open. I tried and tried for about ten minutes, but the key wouldn’t turn at all, as though it were the wrong key. I checked my keyring, and it only had the one yale-type key on it. So, just in case I mysteriously lost the front door key instead of mysteriously loosing the back door key, I went around the back. No dice either.

Well this was great. My neighbour who keeps a spare key was away in Tenerife. My husband was heading up the mountain, but I couldn’t call him because my mobile was in the house. I couldn’t use a pay-phone because all my money was in the house, too. And so was breakfast.

By this time it was 9 am, and I’d promised to be at the vet’s by 9:30. And I had no way of letting them know about my problem. Even after I found 1€ in the car, I didn’t know their phone numbers by heart.

So I went down to the vet’s and waited for them, all to aware that they had no way of contacting me if, say, the cat refused to be caught.

Well, they were only ten minutes late. So I translated, and then they bought me breakfast. After that, I felt a lot more optimistic and philosophical about the whole thing. I phoned my husband, and we worked out that probably his keys were on the inside of the lock, stopping my key working. Worse, his back door key was on the same keyring, so there was no point driving up tot the Roque to get it.

So we all trooped off to see my boss, and then back to my house to try to burgle our way in.

They couldn’t get the front door open either. This was no surprise, but at least it confirmed I hadn’t missed something obvious. (I’d have preferred to get inside, even if it meant feeling stupid.) The windows were properly locked. The front balcony was unreachable. So we went around the back.

The French windows onto the back balcony were open a crack to let the cats get to their loo. Theresa started climbing the walls, but quickly gave up, to my immense relief. It really wasn’t safe, especially in that gusty wind.

We tried to borrow a ladder from some other neighbours. They said they’d seen on yesterday, but it turned out to be ours. In other words, the only way to get at the ladder was to get into the house first.

Meanwhile, the poor cat had sat through all this in her slightly too small cat basket, and my friends were an hour’s drive from home. So, reluctantly, they left me to it, leaving me with a Jasper Carrot CD and some blank paper to pass the time. I think they felt a lot worse about it than I did.

So I went for a walk, then I went to a restaurant where they know me, and got a take-away pizza in time for my son getting home. We ate it listening to Jasper Carrot, and it wasn’t long before my husband came home and got into the house.

No, I’m not going to tell the whole Internet how he did it. I’ll just say that I was very relieved.

Posted by sheila

Sheila came to La Palma with a six month contract and has stayed 24 years so far. She used to work as a software engineer at the observatory, but now she's a writer and Starlight guide.

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