Despite the passing of 36 years…
It was my pleasure to join a bunch of old soldier friends from 2 Div HQ & Sig. Regt. (1980’s crew) at our annual reunion this past weekend. I was especially looking forward to it because a good old mate from bygone days would be there. We’d been in a few scrapes together in our day and I haven’t seen Jim for 36 years. I finally found him in the bar at the pub where this reunion caper gets done. Joy! Hearty greetings. We had a lot of catching up to do. And we did get a lot of catching up done and we downed a few pints of the jolly juice along the way.. Perhaps a few too many.
The entire plan was simple enough. I had booked digs in a B&B very close to said pub. It was a double room, as these things so often are, and Jim and I would share the room for that one night. I got there first and had the keys to the house and Jim would join me at some point during the evening and I’d give him his set. At least, that was the deal with the landlady. And it worked. So far so good.
We’d both been shown how to come and go at the boarding house but that bit of the proceedings somehow got lost in the fog of war that followed a heavy night of beer and banter in the pub. After finally leaving the pub well after midnight we returned to the B&B. Keys out then, we went to the first door we saw and tried to let ourselves in. I say ‘tried’…
There was no way we could get the bloody key in the door. The keyhole simply would not accept the key. Any key. All the keys. We began to investigate closer. We looked at the keys, the door and the keyhole. We could not find any reason as to why the damn keys wouldn’t work. Never being the one to be beaten Jim suggested he drive home. No, I said, we’re in no condition to drive anywhere. Sleep in the car? No. We paid for a bed and we’re going to sleep in a bed. I was adamant about that bit.
I noticed a light on in the upper regions of the house. ‘I’ll knock on the window.’ I said. Easier said than done, the light was on the second floor. We found an old wooden folding garden chair and with Jim holding it steady I climbed up on to it and then on to a large container-like dustbin and could just about reach the window sill. I knocked. Several times. No joy. Bugger. I climbed down again. Later, we realised it was our window I was knocking on and we weren’t at home that night..
Jim figured there must be a key in the keyhole on the other side of the door blocking the keyhole and then he had a brilliant idea. You shine a light into the keyhole and I’ll try to see what’s going on, he said. Shine a light? What light? I haven’t got a light.. Your camera, said Jim. Use the camera.
Oh, right. So.. Jim gets his eye right up to the keyhole with his key at the ready and I fired up the Canon.. Ready? I asked. Yep, said Jim. Fire away. A brilliant flash of light right in his eyes. Jim staggered off, now blind as a bat from the effect of having a flash fired off right in his face at a range of approximately two inches… “That didn’t really help me.” he said. I caught him and steered the poor blind bugger back to the door and tried to suppress the laughter.
Then I had a brilliant idea. You have a phone Jim, ring the house up.. He did. I could hear the phone ringing inside the house. It went to voice mail. More bugger.. and a bit of damn too..
The Doorbell! Try the doorbell..!! We did. Several times. Still no joy.
We were at the point of giving up now when suddenly a light came on inside the house.. Our landlady appeared. We must have looked like two naughty little kids caught in the act of doing something awful.
We can’t get in, we said, we’ve tried everything. “Oh,” said our landlady in her dressing gown, “I’ll go round and let you in.”
GO ROUND? Uh?
And then we both realised, we’d been trying for half a drunken hour to get in through the wrong bloody door….