26 june 2018
All original writing
2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018 Ian McLauchlin
THE KEEPER OF THE KEYS
So it was time to pass the car down the family and that includes sets of keys. There are two sets of keys and I could only find one. I looked in the 'spare key' place. Nothing. I looked on the key hook, nothing. Toured the unlikely places and then the most unlikely places. No keys. Now I have standards and felt awkward handing over a car with only one set of keys. So I phoned the main dealer.
"Spare key sir? You'll need to pay for the key code, you'll need to buy a blank. You'll then need to pay for us to cut it."
"Yes. You'll then need to bring the car in, leave it with us, while we don our pointy hat and wizard's cloak and, using spells and potions, re-
That'll cost just a reasonable amount then?
"Very reasonable. Let's say well over a hundred and any spare arms and legs you can offer us would be very welcome."
Time to call the experts. Mobile Car Key replacements? Can you replace a Mobile Car Key?
"No, the mobile refers to us, the key stays stationary."
When can you do it? No I'll be away then, can you do it when I get back? What, come to you? I thought you were mobile."
"Ah, that applies only to the lazy unaccommodating punter sir. I'm sure you're none of those."
Got back, unpacked and . . . . . found the spare key in my flight cabin bag! Oh bugger. (The spare was permanently packed in my cabin bag so that if there was a problem at the long term car park, I still had my own key.) Still, I've committed to a spare key and, not being the kind to pull out of a firm committment, I decided a third key might still be useful.
The day arrives. Double checked that I wasn't lazy or unaccommodating, picked up daughter's car and drove to Exeter. I should have been warned by the fact that I was directed to the Old Exeter Mental Hospital Buildings . . . .
"Ok, here we go. Got the key?" Yup, got it.
He had a van fully kitted out with workbench, cutting machine, electronics, computer, spare locks, tools, key blanks, sandwich box, customer chat up lines to put them at their ease and a ventilator (for the van, not customers not put at their ease.) Sounds of grinding, cleaning up, polishing and sandwich eating. The first test of the day. It fits, it fits, you shall go to the ball. No I made that last bit up . . . Now for the next bit, the one that all Responsible Main Dealerships, and all of the many others, said couldn't be done by a non-
"Do you want to put on a cloak too?" asked the (non-
No I'll just watch you and marvel. I think he liked that display of reverence. In fact I wondered whether that's all he does it for . . .
The black cats were brushed aside and a multi-
The device spat out the code with a hideous reverberating laugh, stuck out its tongue (purple and knobbly) and sat down with arms folded. A nebulous speech bubble appeared from its middle ear which dropped the hint 'Better luck next time matey, if you're apprentice wizard-
Nothing ventured, nothing gained. And sure enough, nothing was gained.
OK. Perhaps the car needs starting to clear a few things. Clunk. Car wouldn't start. Magic box mysteriously re-
The by now slightly deflated Apprentice-
Trying hard to give a reasonably lucent translation from Wizard-
"Fancy a cup-
That was the longest half hour for a long time. "Shall we start it now guv?" No give it another 5 minutes.
"Well you could phone the AA." It's taken me a lifetime to try not to be too accommodating and to develop some magical assertive powers, and I'm nearly there. No YOU phone the AA.
"They'll be here within an hour and a half. You could try phoning the main dealer." No YOU phone the main dealer.
"Fancy another cup-
"Tell yer what, while we're waiting we could try . . . . " By this time I'd switched off, in order to protect my sanity, in this location of all places, and his skull.
All at once, well spread over an hour and a half, what should appear but a yellow van, sponsored by Alcoholics Anonymous.
"How yer doin', me old mate? Thought it sounded like your address. Haven't seen yersince, well, yesterday afternoon. What is it this time?" You need to remind yourself that AA often need car locksmiths and vice versa. Then the need to reminisce took hold. "Remember that old Ford Consul. When was it . . . 1972 was it? Yer, not only did we have to pick the car lock, it was the old style handcuffs that tested you wasn't it. And not long after that, the Queen couldn't get out of her car after a long boring visit to Tiverton. Boy were they glad, and a little bit jealous, to see you and yer flowing robes . . . . " This went on for many magic eaons. Then it was decided that I, NO YOU, should call the Main Dealer.
"Just got this car and immobiliser's locked. Yes. Locked. Won't start. You had the car last week to change the starter motor. Yes. Any chance you could let me have, er, the immobiliser code? Yes. Yes he's here." Hello? Yes it's me. Yes it's my car. "By the way, how do you clear the immobiliser lock?" Manufacturer says 4 hours with ignition on. It's usually between 1 and 2. "OK I owe you one, thanks matey." Strange how all these blokes are called Matey.
The man from Alcoholics Anonymous couldn't believe his luck. A local call out, a chance to chat with yer mate on company time, feign sympathy towards an unknown member of the public never likely to be seen again (DV), no need to wriggle on your back in the dirt, and clean hands into the bargain. It doesn't get any better than that. Magic.
It'd been some time since the yellow van arrived and absent mindedly the Wizard (description now wearing thin) turned the ignition key. Engine started!! Well yes, 1 to 2 hours seemed about right. Yellow-
"Just programme the new key and we're in business ", said the re-
Er what about the third key that I eventually found? "Where's that?" At home. "Oh. That won't work now."
SO TO SUMMARISE, I turned up with a working car and possess two working keys. After three and a half hours of magic show, some rain, a meeting with Alcoholics Anonymous, a cup-
But looking on the bright side, I am promised a free local re-
So all's well that will end well soon. I hope . . . . . . .
(PS I never did take up that offer. The will to live kicked in . . . .)