Friday 11 May 2007

The mysterious case of the missing key...

Something very strange happened in our office. Between one of the trainees getting files from the basement store last night and the Partner going down to get files this morning the key was lost. The trainee maintained that he had returned the key to the key cabinet. The Partner questioned that if this was the case, where was the *bleep* key? The floor was searched... the fire extinguishers were moved... the box of files from last night was emptied. No key. Trainee is singularly unapologetic and maintains a defensive posture of "I put the key back". The Partner is annoyed because a) the key is gone and b) the spare key which was requested was never cut.

I embark on a quest for a locksmith. The first call quotes me £145. No thanks! The next call is down to £90. I take a reference, it might just have to be. The final call is £65 (plus VAT) and any parking fees and congestion charge. They will come before 1 o'clock. All is saved.

The locksmith duly arrives. He makes a wasted trip to our floor, I meet him and take him to the basement. We then return to the ground floor so he can go to his van to fetch tools. Is it right, he asks me, that he can park on a yellow line for 20 minutes 'loading'. I am forced to admit I have no idea as I rarely drive in Central London. I tell him that it is best not to risk it as the parking wardens in Westminster are very enthusiastic and dedicated in their work, and indeed, there is one just coming now. Locksmith sensibly asks the warden and the warden concurs that he will not get a ticket.

We return to the basement, angle-grinder in tow. Sparks fly, quite literally. The lock is cut from the door. All this takes about 30 seconds. Crisis averted.

The story behind the traffic chaos on Wednesday night turned out to be a shead load in the Tunnel. Some asbestos fell of the back of a lorry (quite literally) and the tunnel was closed until the next morning for decontamination. Oh dear.