There was the New Year when…

There was the New Year when we stood outside in the road and listened to the ships on the Manchester Ship Canal sounding their horns – in fact there were several new years when we heard the ships on the Ship Canal… there was the Millennium New Year and we carried our sleepy children outside to see the beacon lit on the hill and the sky full of fireworks, there have been many New Years at various pubs in Manchester, Oldham and now Uphill, and I daresay there have been many New Year’s Day when we have visited friends, have been to parties, have had a nice dinner at home and decided on our New Year’s Resolutions, not for ourselves but for each other…

And then there has been this year’s New Year’s Day which is in fact – today! This will be remembered as the New Year of the lost key. You wouldn’t have thought it possible. Daughter was going away for the night and we were to look after the dog, young Reg. I was to go over and pick him up from her flat and bring him back for a sleep-over with us. If he had understood the concept, he would have been very excited. I drove over with instructions on where to find the key – well, two keys, one to get into the building and the other to get into the flat. I’d done this before.

It was pouring down with rain and dark, a pretty vile night. I parked and sauntered over to her place and found the key to the outside door in its usual hiding place, somewhat muddy, gained admittance, put on the light – one of those which turns itself off after about 3 seconds, but being an ex-Brownie I was prepared with a torch, an actual torch, not my phone. I went to get the other key, to the flat… and it wasn’t there! Maybe I had misunderstood, and it was in the place where the building key had been so I went back into the rain and the vile night – but no, no key. If I had just been going to water the plants it wouldn’t have been a problem, but I was going to collect Reg. He couldn’t be left till the next day on his own. I went back inside and searched all round for the missing key, becoming more and more alarmed as it failed to reveal itself.

I don’t suppose there has ever been a time when there’s not a risk of someone not totally honest taking advantage – and as I stood panicking, my mind turned to thoughts of the key having been stolen, the flat burgled, the dog stolen or worse. I searched again, inside and out, no key. I tried to ring my daughter, either she had no signal, or I didn’t. I hurried down the street, trying to find somewhere I could use my phone. I tried to ring my husband, in case she was in a remote area. I couldn’t get in touch with anyone, and a cold sensation crept over me. I hurried back to the car, jumped in and drove away, stopping every so often to try and ring again.

It was no good. I would have to go home and get my husband to ring. I drove carefully back along the winding coast road, and once near town I stopped again. I tried to calm myself. Reg would be fine for an hour or so yet, as long as no-one was trying to burgle… no! Stop those thoughts! I tried to ring my husband, still no signal – wait, what? No signal? What?? I turned my phone completely off and turned it completely on again.

I rang daughter, and trying to be calm explained the dilemma…

I can’t really explain how I had been so stupid. In fact there were two keys, somewhat welded together because they had been in a rather damp, grubby hiding place. Panic over!!!!!  I didn’t care I had been so silly, my heart was light! All was well, and joyfully, I went and collected young Reg and brought him home to spend New Year’s Eve with us.

Daughter came home the following day and arrived to collect the dog, and the keys… which had somehow disappeared. Yes somehow, having arrived home with the keys, showed them to husband, I had managed to lose them between the sitting room and the kitchen…

We have searched everywhere… we haven’t found them… yet…

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