Never come back off holiday. That is what I have learnt in the last two days. Either that, or never go away on holiday so long that you lose the ability to function properly. (Ten days will do it.) Sit back and marvel at my recent incompetence.
Ten beautiful days in Thailand went far too quickly. A blur of beaches, massages, amazing villas (well only one amazing villa), and the wedding of Mr and Mrs Carrington Porter III. But I was looking forward to coming home to my beautiful boat – there’s no sleep as good as the one you get in your own bed.
However, to get to that bed, I had to fight my way through approximately 1200 new spider’s webs. It was like a small scale Shelob’s lair. (It wasn’t, but why not grant me some artistic license every now and then?) It doesn’t matter how much I evict the little beasts, they come scuttling back in.
And then there was the fridge. I had decided to save the planet and switch off the electricity whilst I was away. There was only wine, beer and tomato sauce in the fridge and I thought it would all survive a couple of lukewarm weeks. I was wrong – I opened the fridge to be greeted by a wall of mould. That is absolutely the last time I turn off the fridge to save on my £16 quarterly bill – it’s just not worth the morning of disinfecting that follows.
Cobwebs cleared and fridge de-moulded, I set about the very important task of replenishing my tomato chilli jam stores. I had borrowed a particularly big pan to make an industrial quantity, and it was bubbling away nicely, when the gas ran out. “No problem,” I though. “I’ll just switch to the other canister.” So I clambered about on the front of my boat in the dark to discover that both canisters in the gas locker were empty; that my clever gas distribution system automatically switched from one canister to another once the first was empty, leaving me with no idea of when to replenish the store. Which left me unable to finish making the jam, or boil a kettle to do the washing up. And also quite unsure as to how to change the canisters when I was able to buy replacements. I went to bed annoyed.
When I woke up, I was still not in the best of spirits, and left in a hurry for work. It was after I had shut my front door that I realised instead of picking up the keys for my boat, I had picked up the keys for my parent’s house. Thus locking in my set of keys and the spare set of keys I usually kept at the parent’s house. Brilliant. Luckily, one of my neighbours was also leaving at 6am, so was able to unlock the gate to the bank to let me out.
It was suggested that I solve the problem by taking a crowbar to the front door. With my current vein of luck (and ineptitude) I decided this was a risky plan. I decided to pay for a professional. Arranging for a locksmith to come let me back in the next morning was easy. Working out how I was going to get onto South Bank to let him in was less easy. One of my neighbours had told me about a button you could press to open the gate when you didn’t have a key, and I thought I could probably reach this from the other side of the gate. I could, and only paused for a few seconds when I saw the button said ‘emergency gate release’. I pressed the button, and the gate opened. And an alarm went off. It didn’t stop when I tried to shut the gate, or when I pressed the button again. And the gate also wouldn’t lock. The emergency out-of-hours marina contact (calling them may have been playing fast and loose with the concept of ‘emergency’, but there was an alarm and a blue flashing light) said she would get it sorted, and I stood there waiting for a phone call for further instructions. In the meantime, five of my neighbours passed me by, all of whom could have let me in without all the drama. One day I will learn to be patient.
An hour later, the locksmith arrived, and one of my neighbours locked the gate with the old-fashioned padlock the gate used to be secured with before the marina introduced the new-fangled electronic system. I scurried away from the gate and resolved to pretend I had no idea why the alarm was shrieking like that.
The locksmith gained entry into the boat within about 10 minutes. He couldn’t pick the lock, so came up with a less technical solution that, if I had really given the problem some thought, I could have worked out myself. You live and learn, and sometimes pay £100 for the privilege of that knowledge.
So all that’s left now is the new gas canisters. But maybe that’s a job for tomorrow. Learning too much in one day can’t be good for you.
This blog post was brought to you by ‘When the night feels my song’ by Bedouin Soundclash. This one’s great. Listen to it.