Landlady: Key moments


One of the bugbears of being a landlady is keeping control of those pesky little things called keys. As you can imagine, I have a collection of keys that would rival the head Warden at Parkhurst, although most of them are now obsolete. I have no way of knowing which ones work where, without trying them all out. As well as my own keys, I have, in mysteriously coded envelopes, the spare keys of many friends, who’ve since died, emigrated or at least changed their locks several times since they foolishly nominated me as their spare key lady. In the event of them ever needing their spare keys, I would probably be abroad, so unless they had a spare key to my house, they wouldn’t be able to get them anyway.

He’d locked his keys in her flat, thus dooming himself to live on the doorstep for the next five days

Mind you, the other day while I was at work, The Big Daughter returned home to find the rather crestfallen son of my downstairs tenant sitting on the doorstep. His mother was away, he was supposed to be flat sitting, and he’d locked his keys in her flat, thus dooming himself to live on the doorstep for the next five days. The Big Daughter suggested that surely I would have a spare key to the flat (she’s inherited my propensity for optimism) then ran upstairs, where she was confronted by my extensive key museum hanging on the wall outside the kitchen. She returned with two handfuls of keys, and invited my tenant’s son to start trying them all out while she went to fetch further examples. As it goes, and amazing though it sounds, the first key they tried was the one to the tenant’s front door. What are the chances of that? (Well, about 100 to one, being as you asked).

I’m not always so lucky though…. When I was in Turkey last September, I left my entire bunch of UK keys in my Turkish house. On it was my house key, bike lock key and the front door keys to every communal hallway I clean. I am therefore resigned to sitting on various East Sussex doorsteps with my Hoover until someone lets me in, which is not my ideal way of spending my afternoons. I’ll get my my keys back from Turkey in April… as long as I can find the keys to my Turkish house, that is.

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