You may remember Chastity and her husband Camp, they are good friends and live just round the corner from us. Chastity proposed recently to pay £5 per day to the son of a mutual friend in return for feeding the cat while she and Camp were away skiing. When I learned of this plan I insisted on doing the job for nothing, as indeed I have in the past. I suspect that Chastity hesitated to ask me as she knew I had, on more than one occasion, fed their cat in my pajamas having remembered, just at the point of dropping off to sleep in my lovely, comfy bed, that I hadn’t fulfilled my obligation to the poor creature.
Anyway, in return for a medal (I have it in writing), I undertook the task again and made a pact with myself that I would feed the cat at the beginning of the day. As usual my listening skills, or lack of them, meant that I wasn’t sure when to start my duties and so on the day Chastity and Camp departed I popped in to check that the cat was supplied with tuna and water – which she was. While there I noted that I had been asked to put the recycling and rubbish bins away for Chastity and her neighbour who was apparently on holiday too. This I did then strolled home dumping keys and alarm instructions on the kitchen worktop (or so I thought) and getting straight on with finishing the preparation of hot cross buns.
The following morning I announced that I was going to feed Chastity’s cat and that Mavis should accompany me (anything to get her out of bed). After that we would walk our own dog and would also take Nellie, who is getting a bit portly with her new owner. This would be fun as we all miss Nellie and she is so excited when she sees us. We all got changed and then I went into the kitchen to pick up the keys. They weren’t there.
Have you ever tried to remember doing things that are habitual? As far as I know I always lock doors, I always put keys in my pocket and I always put them down in the kitchen – this part is sometimes controlled by tasks I meet on the way into the house such as emptying the tumble drier – the keys end up by the drier, sweeping the hall – the keys stay in my pocket or clearing junk from the breakfast bar – yes you guessed it, they end up on the breakfast bar. On this occasion I thought I had put the keys right by the key pot, I thought I had seen them there but had I? I couldn’t be absolutely sure as they had been there the day before too.
We went through the recycling, the cupboard where the mixed fruit lives, the pockets of my coat – several times. We looked in the washing machine and the drier and I reluctantly stirred the contents of the bin about. I began to think that I must have either dropped the keys while putting the bins away or locked them into C and C’s house – terrifying prospect as the house is like Fort Knox and alarmed to boot. We sent a text to C and C intimating that the keys might be locked in their house and got a reply suggesting that we feed Jazzy and change her litter THROUGH THE CAT FLAP! Not an option.
Whizz – have I mentioned that he was a boy scout and is a Mensan? – put together a bag of equipment and we put it, with a ladder, into the back of the car. We were prepared for breaking and entering on Easter Sunday. Better than stuffing ourselves with Easter eggs I suppose.
First job was to photograph the door mat using a phone, in case someone had put the keys (thoughtfully labelled with the appropriate surname) through the letter box. Unfortunately The Sunday Times had been delivered and covered the whole mat.
Next job: open the side gate, six foot high and bolted top and bottom. This involved the use of a conveniently located garden cane and the fomerly mentioned ladder along with some patience and determination. Once through we peered through the back door glass and could see easily that the front door keys were not there. What were there though, were the keys to the back door, about a garden cane’s length away on the worktop and also conveniently located, a cat flat at about knee height.
Mr Boy Scout whipped a magnet and string from his kit and tied them to the end of the cane. With Golden Shot type instructions from yours truly, up a bit, right a bit and so on, we fished the keys back through the cat flap in triumph. It was at this point that we discovered bolts top and bottom of the back door. The bottom ones could be reached through the cat flap but the top one required further application of the garden cane.
Eventually we were ready to enter. I rushed in and switched off the alarm and we did our feline duties. I also tried the front door. It was double locked, a sure sign that I had taken the keys out and so they must be at home or dropped en route. I had another search by the bins to no avail and so we went back home and I tried, more carefully to remember my movements. I realised that I had come in through the back door as I had put away our bins so I had a look round the bin area and the utility room but nothing. I opened up the cupboard containing the cake ingredients again, something told me the answer lay in there. As I reached for a basket of fruit and food colouring a tin dropped out. It was the tin of icing nozzles, and then it hit me. Yes the tin hit me and the answer hit me. I had emptied out these nozzles to see if there was a piping bag underneath them and scooped them all back into the tin. I tipped them out again and there, looking very at home, were Chastity’s Keys!
Thank ef for that! Texted Chastity from Austria.