Chilling tale of being locked out in the cold

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Write Away. Leighton Buzzard Writer’s LBO column. This week by Kevin Barham...

Here is a tale of pre-Christmas woe. My wife, Christine, and I had just spent a very pleasant Saturday evening at a Christmas concert in the Baptist Church, given by the marvellous Grand Union Community Choir (in which Christine sings) and the Heath Band. It was a lovely, well-attended event, enjoyed by all.

But on our return home in Linslade, we met a domestic disaster. I’d had a warning from Christine not to close a certain door in the house because the handle had been sticking. This is a crucial door in our three-storey townhouse as it leads from the ground floor to the living room, kitchen and bedrooms upstairs. Stupidly, on my way out, I’d forgotten the warning and closed the door. It was now firmly stuck, locking us downstairs on the ground floor, which comprised only a spare room and the garage.

Christine, determined lady that she is, struggled heroically with the door. Being disabled, I was unable to help. Despite everything she tried, the door would not budge. She even tried to break a pane of glass in the door with a hammer so she could reach the handle on the other side, but it just bounced off.

Meanwhile, it was getting very late, and I was searching the web for a local emergency locksmith. I phoned all the locksmiths offering a 24-hour emergency service but couldn’t get an answer.

After much trying, we were about to bed down for the night with coats and scarves and whatever bedding we could find downstairs, when we found one locksmith who agreed to come. He arrived after three in the morning and got the door open, though it cost us an absolute arm and a leg (he’d just come from helping a woman who’d locked herself out of her house on this very chilly night, having gone outside in her pyjamas to have a cigarette!).

Moral... don’t get locked out on a cold Saturday night in LB. You might struggle to find a locksmith to help you.