Clocks and Locks by Bob Garlick

Spring has finally arrived! To be honest, the winter wasn’t too bad for us around the Midlands but for those who suffered the floods etc. it must have been a nightmare.

So, we have altered the clocks for summertime and quite a number of folk say we lose an hour’s sleep, the same ones who will say we get an extra hour in bed later in the year when we change them back again. I find the change a bit of a nuisance either way because your body clock takes a few days to adjust. Mine does anyway, so both changes upset me.

I am old enough to remember British Double Summer Time which we had during World War II. I have just looked up the details and it appears that we kept the clocks forward one hour all year round and then moved them another hour as we do now. This system ended after the war, in 1945. We had another brief flirtation with BDST in 1947 for fuel and energy saving, and road accident fatalities were also monitored, even though road traffic was much lighter then, but more people rode around on bikes on the roads, not the pavements! Riding without lights was almost a hanging offence.

The subject of permanent Summertime still raises its head periodically but the Scots will not agree to it and dairy farmers can’t get the cows to understand the changed milking time.

However, in the dark days just after New Year’s day 2016, Margaret and I had just listened to the Sky Blues match in the lounge. (That’s the ‘Front Room’ to any Coventry Kids reading this) and I found that I couldn’t open the door to get out.

The door handle would just not operate the catch. ‘Don’t panic, don’t panic’ came to mind. Well, what do you do? We couldn’t get out of the room and even if I had been able to get through the window, we were locked out of the house.

As I had consumed a pie and a pint whilst the match was on I took a knife and deftly removed the door handle. The square bar connecting the inner and outer handles was OK but when I removed it, a small piece of metal fell out. From past experience with these things it’s usually the spring that packs up, but not in this instance. So we were effectively locked in the room, and with the outer doors being locked we were locked in the house too, the keys being in a safe place.

“Ring Rob”, said Margaret. Our son Rob lives less than a ten minute walk away, he has a front door key for emergencies and this situation qualified. He appeared and we had an eye to eye conversation through the small hole where I had removed the bar. I had to direct him to various implements and tools to prod with. Margaret at this point said that she would like a cup of tea which would have been difficult but at least gave us a laugh. Slide it under the door?

Forcing the door came into my mind after attempts to move the latch were still unsuccessful. I had visions of major woodwork and doorframe damage. I then suggested that Rob should pass me a screwdriver through the window. This is the window through which I would NOT have climbed but where we could have passed the cup of tea! I worked the screwdriver from my side, by now frantically applying it to every gap and aperture I thought might be relevant and eventually at an extreme angle it released the catch.

Later we sat with a coffee, relieved in every way you might imagine and considered what we could have been faced with. Not young people, we were locked in the room, locked in the house. We could have called the Police perhaps, although with respect, I envisioned them coming in with one of those battering rams they use on drug busts. The Fire Service seemed a more likely option, or a Locksmith perhaps?

Over the next few days we considered what actions we might take to allow entrance in perhaps a more serious situation. Access to a phone, definitely. Key under the doormat? In a shrub? Obviously I won’t tell you the final decision.

In the meantime, the offending door latch has not yet been replaced and ‘She who must be obeyed’ insists that inner doors are not fully closed.

© Bob Garlick 2016