It was a scorching July day and I was busy bundling the 4 children into a stinking hot car to take them to the beach. It was my dad's last day of his visit. Carlton was taking ages leaving the house so eventually, I went to find him. "I can't find the keys anywhere, I've had to get the spare key". What? I know we're a bit scatty with keys but normally we find them eventually. Alarm bells began to ring. I went and searched the house, but in my heart I already knew. The front door must have been left slightly open when everyone came back from swimming and someone had stepped in and helped themselves. I could have kicked myself. We'd only been in the house 2 months, but what a stupid place to leave them (great thought to have after the event.)
2 house keys had been stolen and the 2 keys to the old peugeot. Luckily, for some reason they'd left both keys to other car and my handbag with passports, money and cards (not to mention snotty hankies, various toys and other assorted treasures) had been safely upstairs. Ugh, that sinking, nauseous feeling. What were we going to do?
Unbundle all the hot and cross children from the car and throw them into the paddling pool for starters.
Second, phone a lock smith (oh joy, I love making phone calls in spanish). I think the first one said that they were no longer in business. The second one asked me what type of door it was. Er, pass? Oh, wooden, rather than metal. Apparently I needed a carpenter and not a lock smith. Hmm, even job division in Spain is different from the UK. Here, they have an 'electrician/plumber' called a lampista. Anyhow, I wasn't having much luck on finding someone to help me.
I decided to go and ask our old neighbour who was a carpenter and knew everyone in town. Funny, turns out he's a 'carpenter/lock smith' and was just the man we needed. Our knight in shining armour. An hour later and the door was secure again (he just had to take out the central cartridge and change it.) The irony being that it's one of those really secure doors with about 10 bolts that are pretty much impenetrable, unless of course you have a key.
Right, now the car which was parked outside like a sitting duck waiting for someone to come and zap the key to find out where it was. Sadly, our insurance didn't cover getting a new key but they would tow the car to the garage for us…in true Spanish style. The lady on the phone took our address (appears they haven't change it even though I've told our agent). Please note, I spoke to the 'english speaking' lady as I thought it would be easier. Anyhow, the tow truck phoned to tell me they had arrived and were in Tamariu, about 15 minutes away. He'd been given a completely wrong address. And it turns out he wasn't a tow truck, but someone who undid the door and then called his mate with a tow truck.
Half an hour or so later, the tow truck turns up but he can't get the car out as it's parked in. He has to call his mate with a different tow truck which has special car roller skates to help him. Seems communication isn't a hot topic in Spain. Ah well, eventually the car got towed away. (And then I had a call asking if the car was going to the peugeot garage 5 minutes away or the one that was 45 minutes away as his mate had said the one that's miles away…)
Gotta love Spain! Actually I'm quite impressed that we got it sorted out in 6 hours (although I haven't actually got the new car keys yet so here's hoping.)
Post Script. A week later I found the keys in the shopping trolley. Our 3 year old had been playing with it (unknown to me) and had put them in it and then someone had put the trolley away. I didn't know whether to laugh or cry. Oh well, could have been worse...