Sunday April 6th.
8.30 am. Granny prises open an unwilling eye. Still snuffling and hacking somewhat, she has not had a good night but today is leaving day.... so -
8.32 am. she crawls out of bed with reasonably good thought that everything is packed and ready and even better one that she is going off to breakfast with Beloved Son and middle and youngest granddaughters a short bus ride away.
8.33 am. She merges into the sitting-room, pleased to notice a kind of brightness the other side of the curtains. Sun?
8.33.30 am. She flings open the curtains. No sun. It is snowing. She thinks of retreating back to bed.
8.34 am. She resists the temptation.
8.34-9.40 am. Granny washes, dresses and performs various tedious tasks like filling in her proxy vote form for London Mayoral Elections. (Keep mad Boris out at any cost including this one.)
941.am. She gathers up her keys and goes into the kitchen. Notices left-over fruit to be taken to Beloved son and puts keys down again. Also notices bags of garbage garbage and one of recycling garbage, gathers them up along with fruit bag and puts all three in hall.
9.41-5. She finds waterproof coat, puts on boots, hat, puts bus pass, mobile phone and sundry bits of loose change into the pocket of waterproof coat, gathers up bags in hall. shakes pocket, is reassured by jingle - keys in then - opens front door, goes out of it, hesitates a moment, shuts it behind her.
9.46. Worried thought. She had picked up her keys, hadn't she?
9.47 She roots in her pockets - all of them - coat, jeans, fleece jerkin. No keys. Roots in all 3 bags, including both garbage ones. No keys. Ghastly, resisted truth dawns. They are still inside empty flat. Along with luggage, passport, tickets, etc etc.
9.48. She takes out her plastic bus pass and tries the opening-yale-lock-with-creditcard-trick (yes she does have some disreputable skills.) Vainly. Card snags on draught excluder, can't get through to lock.
9.48. She calls on-holiday flatmate to get mobile number of other flatmate supposedly back in London since Saturday - but so far absent. On-holiday flatmate's mobile is of course switched-off. Both holders of spare keys are away. (This is not only Sunday, but the first Sunday of school holidays.)
9.49. Next door husband turns up with two snow-covered and excited small boys. She explains her plight and gets invited in.
9.51. Given welcome cup of coffee she calls Beloved Son who finds numbers of two locksmiths and calls her back. She calls one locksmith. No answer.
9.52. She calls second locksmith. He can be with her within the hour. Quotes £120-30 + vat, for privilege; this is Sunday, ie emergency call-out, darlings. Granny gulps. Would it be cheaper to wait for arrival of flatmates and ditch her ticket? Probably not. This is the beginning of school holidays, remember, the chances of getting a ticket home to Lanzarote this week - short of one costing £800 minimum from BA - small. She agrees.
9.55. In vain hope she rings flatmate no 1 again. Mobile still switched off.
9.55-11.25. She sits making small talk to neighbours - all previous curiosity about neighbours well-satisfied - elderly next-door woman turns, out to be Bosnian mother-in-law of the young English mother of the small boys Granny has encountered at times over small matters of broken balcony doors etc. Elderly woman and son are Bosnian Muslims who arrived as asylum seekers after her husband/his father was killed by the Serbs. She doesn't speak English. He does, volubly. He works for Harrods, he tells her all about it. All very interesting. and Granny is delighted to know some asylum seekers are or were decently treated. On the other hand she would have much preferred to be given this interesting proof of a) decency, b) multi-national London's ethnic diversity in more salubrious circumstances. It has stopped snowing. At last.
11.25. Two-three phone calls later taciturn locksmith in woolly hat arrives. He too is defeated by draught-excluder. States he will have to break in. Can he save lock? He will try.
11.30. He's broken in. Hasn't saved lock. New lock necessary. Cost? Around £300 odd. (This is Sunday, remember.)
11.40. New lock fitted. New keys left with nice, mostly Bosnian neighbours, so that flatmates can get in.
11.41. Granny enters flat to look for credit card. Finds keys where she left them in kitchen. Bill presented. In all £430. Granny could have got to New York and back for that. It would definitely have been better to ditch her ticket home and hung-about on standby. Taciturn woolly-hatted locksmith says that had it not been for - guess what - Sunday - the work, including parts, would have cost £190 merely.
11.43.a.m. Very much poorer Granny decides that she and her family have all obviously spent their lives in the wrong job. Note to Beloved Son. Change profession. NOW.
11.45-am-1.50pm. Talk among yourselves - Granny finishes up, gets taxi to Victoria, takes Gatwick Express, arrives at suspiciously empty Easyjet Counter. Guess what? Flight delayed at least 4 hours. A fact she'd have checked on internet, but for problems. (See above.) Had she hung on in there, who knows but flatmate might have arrived to let her in, she might still have got her plane. And not have been £430 poorer.
2.15 pm. About to enter security, she can't find her wallet or her mobile phone. Retires to hunt through baggage. Finds both. So that's alright.
2.45-3.45pm Granny gives herself good lunch, plus glass of her favourite wine (Sancerre.) It costs her £30 - peanuts after the morning, so what the hell. And doesn't she need it.
8.15 pm. Plane - at last - takes off.
1.00 am April 7th. She arrives home. Switches on mobile. Text from flatmate no 1. Flatmate: no 2 safely in flat. Bugger. (Granny is selfish here. She is not thinking of conveniently arrived flatmate but of her own pocket.)
12.55. She unpacks her handbag to find she has lost her set of keys somewhere between flat and Lanzarote. Now what? Change all locks including the new one? OUCH. She will definitely tell Beloved Son to change professions. Yesterday.
END OF PERFECT DAY.
(And no it was NOT a 'bad hair day' - even leaving aside the fact that this is an expression she can't stand, she had a very nice haircut on Saturday and the one good thing was that every time she happened to catch sight of herself she could see it was a good hair day - pity the same thing could not be said of her ravaged face.)