The day I locked myself out © 2003
It didn't start out as a story making day, but it sure turned into one! The saga really started 4 weeks earlier when the mountings fractured that supported the 46" mower deck on the ride on lawn mower. Getting them welded was no problem, but one of the bearings was discovered to be badly worn so another was ordered. As this should only have taken 4 or 5 days I decided to leave the deck off as fitting it with an arm and leg paralysed would prove difficult to say the least.
It helped that we were in the middle of a dry spell and the grass on our 2 1/2 acre lawn had ceased to grow. When the bearing had not turned up after 2 weeks I started to worry a little and discovered that due to a mix-up at the firm concerned it would not arrive for yet another few days. The people dealing with it were very pleasant and I joked that the lawn was beginning to resemble a jungle. That even our 2 pet giraffes and camel were struggling to find their way around! So I decided to re-fit the deck and mow.
Where the bearing had worn it allowed the cutting blade to drop an inch or so and the resulting cut was decidedly lop-sided. Having cut half the lawn I ran headlong into a hidden tree stump which caused the most terrible clatter from the bearing, but I dauntlessly ploughed on (ploughed being the operative word due to the blades cutting deep into the earth!) Never mind, might decapitate a mole or two! Then, as I started on the left side of the lawn I looked round to see how the cut appeared and saw two neat outer swathes but a mohican like appearance on the middle! The vibration had caused the tensioner spring to break and the resulting lack of tension allowed the outer two blades to work but not the middle one.
That was it! Enough was enough. I would be patient and await the arrival of the bearing. It turned up 2 days later. By now I had decided my body would not tolerate any more strain in the fitting of it so I took it round to my friend Joe to fit. I hooked the cargo trailer up to the Range Rover, drove the lawn mower into it and took the whole lot round to Joe's. He removed the old bearing then said "This is not the correct one!" Another mix up in the part number. I was deflated but after a phone call Joe managed to arrange to have the proper bearing in 4 days thanks to the kindness of the parts manager. His family also own the company which might have helped as he would not want their reputation to suffer!
Now, finally to the story.
The next day I realised Sheba the family dog had no water so I went out to replenish her
bowl. I pulled the back door to but as flies were trying to squeeze through the gap I shut it completely. When I got to Sheba's bowl I noticed in the bottom were two brown recluse spiders, highly poisonous and pretty big! I'd never even seen one before, but here were two! Unmistakable with their violin like markings on their backs. This marking caused them to be sometimes called the fiddle back spider. Naturally I had my camera so I took pictures of them from about a foot away hoping they could not jump! Then I decided to go back indoors. Horror of horrors! I had locked myself out! And no spare key anywhere. Ah well, I'd use the cell phone in the car and call out the locksmith. Uh oh, I'd locked the Range Rover! I circumnavigated the house looking for any weakness in the security but it was virtually burglar proof. I could have broken a window but as they were all double glazed and very expensive thought better of it.
I walked slowly over to the neighbours about 50 yards away but they were out. Now I was beginning to worry. The nearest house was around 400 yards away and I did not think I would make it. The sun was beating down and I was sweating profusely. Hang on, I might not be able to break into the house, but I COULD break into the trailer without too much expense! Now why would I want to? Because the ride on mower was in there! I went up to the rear door, looked at the sturdy padlock, grabbed hold of it to figure out how to break it and it opened in my hand! I'd forgotten to lock it. Lucky for me! I lowered the drop down ramp I'd built, started the mower and slowly backed out. Suddenly, halfway down the ramp the whole trailer reared skywards and the ramp sat flat on the grass. I'd forgotten it was not attached to the car and the weight of the mower caused the worrying moment. But I kept my cool and after I'd finished screaming and sweating continued backwards, at which point the trailer resumed its normal pose.
I then set off for the next door but one neighbour. Arriving at his front door with only a pair of shorts on a lawn mower was not the most diplomatic entrance especially as he'd never set eyes on me before! He looked suspiciously at me and asked what I wanted. When I replied in my English voice (I won't say accent as THEY have that, WE invented the language!) that I had locked myself out he looked even more cynically at me. I told him I lived two doors away and he said "Wait there, I'll get the phone" He certainly wasn't going to let this strange half naked man with an arm and leg paralysed speaking a foreign language riding a lawn mower into HIS house!
However, when he
mentioned that he played golf and was a member of the country club I told him I breakfasted most mornings with several of the town's golfers including a lawyer/judge, accountant, church minister, insurance broker and occasionally the mayor, he relented and asked me in. It's not what you know but who! His cute little granddaughter was inside and after telling her I was English and asking her name she went into her room and returned with a beautiful picture she had coloured in for me. I phoned the only locksmith in town but got his answer phone! Ginger was on her lunch break at work 26 miles away so I was no better off! Kay, our neighbour was very good though. He offered to come round and see if he could break in. Nope! The security defeated even him. By now Ginger would have returned from lunch so I phoned her and she immediately agreed to drive the 25 miles to rescue me. Apparently everyone where she works laughed at the vision of me riding on a lawn mower to get help! One of her colleagues even sent me an e-mail with a picture of a fast lawn mower! Kay and I meanwhile chatted about many things. An interesting man. And a new friend! So all's well that ends well. By the way, we now have a spare key secreted in the garage! It's in the tool drawer. Or is it in the watering can. Or was it under that stone? Or - - - - - -