The key to it all

Posted by on May 25, 2020 in Blog, Covid-19, Humour, Leisure activities, Rants | 10 comments


When I was about 13 my grandmother had a stroke. She made a partial recovery, but my grandfather never really came to terms with what had happened.  I would come across him standing alone in a room in their flat, sighing with frustration and repeating to himself: ‘There must be a key to this, there must be something I can unlock that will repair the damage.’

Sadly, he never found that key, but we have all had moments when we have felt the same as he did, trying to work out something and feeling the solution is just beyond our grasp. Actually, I have a problem with keys of any description. There is nothing more terrifying for me to be handed a set of keys to a door and to be told cheerfully: ‘The big one sticks a bit, but if you give it a jiggle and lean on the door at the same time it will be fine’.

Except for some reason it never is fine; for me, keys either don’t open things or else have a habit of disappearing.  Or sometimes they get forgotten.  One recent example of this is when The Other Half and I stepped out of the house together one cold January evening to walk round to our Italian class. As the door closed behind us we both casually turned to the other and said in unison: ‘You have got the keys, haven’t you?’

Two heads shook firmly in unison. We had our Italian homework, our mobile phones and pens. No money, no keys.  There was one other person who had a set; our builder, and he was the other side of London. So we called the builder, went and did our Italian class, borrowed a fiver from someone in the group and shared a beer in the pub down the road until the builder was able to get the keys biked to us later that evening. It being January sitting on the doorstep did not hold much attraction.

So much for the physical; what about the metaphorical? We’re currently in lockdown, but there is huge disagreement as to which is the best key to release us. And it seems we need a whole bunch of them; one for how to get children back into school, another to get people back to work, another to restart the economy, and most importantly the one that can stop this blasted virus wreaking havoc across the world.

On a lighter note, there are loads of films with the word ‘key’ in the title; try Key Largo, The Glass Key, Off Key, The Key to Paradise and Turn the Key Softly, to name but a few.  No doubt these need to be explored as we continue life indoors, and I’ve decided to check a few out as part of my cultural activities.

I started this blog yesterday (Saturday), and you would not believe what happened this morning (Sunday). The Other Half went for a morning jog, taking one of the front door keys, and as I was not feeling particularly energetic my alternative exercise consisted of nipping round the corner to buy a newspaper. I grabbed a set of keys from the box where they all live, closed the front door, tried to lock it and realised I had picked up the set to my daughter’s house, which have a similar key ring. I went and bought the paper and had to hang around on the doorstep until The Other Half, who had returned from his jog while I was out, came out of the shower and heard my repeated rings on the doorbell.

Keys? Me? I rest my case.


  1. My main problem is keyboard s. I press a couple of keys and the wrong predictive text pops up without me noticing until I’ve pressed send😄

    • Ha ha – I think we’ve all been there! Thanks!
      Dame B

  2. You could also be rockin to “keys to my heart’ by the 101’ers sqauatters of the 60’s?

    • Nice one!

  3. Oh yes, I know exactly what you mean! We have an emergency key safe outside as we were always locking ourselves out. Now all we have to do is to remember the significant opening code. . . um um um??

    We’ve put a reminder in the house safe. Clever us. . . but wait . . . if we’re locked out . . .
    On a serious point, finding the key(s) to get us out of this will be even trickier.

    We could ask Dom! He can get himself out of the most impossible situations.
    There, I’ve solved it!

    • Of course! Why didn’t I think of that!

      Dame B x

  4. This reminds me of when Jack, Nick and I managed to get ourselves locked out when Jeremy was away for the weekend. I ended up trying to hook my bag off the kitchen table by poking the clothes prop through the cat flap, like some ghastly Jeu Sans Frontieres challenge. It didn’t work, but luckily a strong neighbour climbed up onto the flat roof of the bay window and prised open the -stuck-with-paint window we though was closed forever.

    • Aaargh!

  5. Thanks for this brilliant and hilarious article, Dame barbara! My key bugbear is my so-called ‘smart’ car key…so sensitive that it unlocks the boot every time i’m within a few metres of the car. So I named the car Shergar and now keep the key in my coat pocket, hanging the far end of the hall, well away from my front door. This is good practice as keeping the keys near the front door gives car thieves the opportunity for ‘relaying’ – they have a device for magnifying the signal so they can open the car, push the start button and drive away…

    • I like it! A key called Shergar..
      Dame B

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