However, our flight back into Bristol was due to land at 22.15 on Friday night and the wedding was at 12.00 the following morning. We would only have a 10 hour turnaround at home to unpack from Berlin, repack for four days in Kent, including wedding clothes, shoes, accessories, presents for the in-laws and get some sleep prior to the next two big late nights - the wedding reception and New Years Eve. What could possibly go wrong?!
Berlin was a tale of two halves – the frivolity and sparkle of the Christmas markets in contrast to the solemnity of some of the historical sites. After an enjoyable trip, we landed back in Bristol, tired, and got a taxi home. As we unloaded our suitcases from the taxi, we started searching for the house keys. Paul had definitely locked up when we left (phew - I hadn't lost them!). The taxi driver disappeared, showing no concern whatsoever for our predicament, just keen to chase his next fare.
By now, it was 11pm, freezing cold and dark, and raining into our open suitcases. Paul searched his suitcase. Nothing. I searched mine. Nope. He re-searched his and I double-checked it. Definitely no keys.
Neighbours! Which of the neighbours might have a key? There was a bedroom light on across the road at Naomi and Nick's. I rang Naomi's number. No answer. Then Nick’s number. Voicemail. But then Nick opened their bedroom curtains, appraised the situation in 2 seconds, and acted out a quizzical 'keys' action through the window. I gave him a thumbs up. Hurrah!
"I'm sure we have a set of your keys," he said at the front door, "We seem to have a set for most of the street." Sadly, they did have many, many sets of keys; but not ours.
"We've got Sid and Amy's keys," he said helpfully. Sid and Amy live next door to us but were away on holiday. Needs must. I rang Amy. No answer. I rang Sid. He answered, very sleepily. I explained our predicament. He thought they did indeed have a set of our keys. He proceeded to give Nick and I ‘crystal maze’ style convoluted instructions about how to turn off their burglar alarm and find their spare keys. We listened very carefully and set off on our mission.
Success!! Hallelujah! They did have a set of our keys! We hugged, we laughed, we high-fived, and finally we unlocked our front door......only to find that our cleaner had been in while we were away and had locked the inner porch door....AAAARRRRGGGGHHH!!!
We could see through glass in the porch door that my set of keys were on the sideboard in the hall only about a foot away. Time for Plan B. Options were:
1. Phone the cleaner to ask her to bring a set of keys. We didn’t think she’d appreciate that at1130pm on a Friday night. There are boundaries.
2. Smash the glass and use my keys to unlock the door
3. Call out a locksmithIn the interests of not making a mess, or angering the cleaner, we opted for the locksmith. He took 30mins to reach us and another 40mins to break us in. Apparently “These old locks were not made to be broken”, he chirped jovially as he drilled and pushed and levered with no sense of urgency.
Eventually we were in! By then, it was about 1am, the kids were bundled into bed. I did all the unpacking and repacking and eventually flopped into bed at 2am only to wake again with a start at 7am with my head buzzing with all that needed doing before our 10am departure.
The whole saga from the night before felt slightly surreal, evidenced only by the new hole in the porch door and the missing £125 cash requested by the locksmith (which we didn’t have - thank goodness the kids had been given cash for Christmas by some relatives or that would have been the next drama).
It was about 2 hours later there was a “NOOOOOOO!!!” from upstairs as Paul found his house keys in a little pocket in his camera case that he had on him the whole time after all.......😳