Monday, September 17, 2007

Who would have thought...


It looks innocent enough. My car key.....

On Saturday we had another trip on the boat. Visitors Suki and Tony and Claire came along, delighted and impressed by the silent drive. AND it was a glorious day....

We had tea with Jane's home-made scones and butter and jams and some bought ginger cake, moored a bit up the river from King's lock at a spot fortuitously free where somebody has cleared the reeds and even put in a scaff pole to moor-to...

Came safely home to our mooring, down the river and then back up the canal. People kindly waited whilst Jane and I cleared the boat, I felt in my jacket pocket to open the car to drive us all home...

No car key. Not a problem at that moment, Jane had hers.... but, oh goodness, where had mine gone?... I had to return to the boat about 40 mins later that evening to turn off its generator, searched the boat where my jacket had been... not a sign.....

Debated with Jane where on earth the key could be... could I swear I'd put it in my jacket, had I just stuffed it in my trousers... had it dropped out from them during the trip?....

I didn't really think either, but with no sign of it in my jacket pockets, or on the bed on the boat where my jacket had been during the trip, what else could have happened?...

We discussed so many possibilities... I couldn't visualise any moment I'd felt vague (for once) and might have done something totally absent-minded with it (the key.) If it had been in my trouser pocket, only time I could think of that I was moving much was when setting up the tea party and buttering scones....

I talked it through with Jane, we talked it through with Caroline when she came to deliver beans from the allotment and have a cup of tea... not because the subject was so thrilling but because quite often if one talks something through you suddenly get an idea or remember something...

Worst thing was, I couldn't really think of anything new. I was still pretty sure I'd put in my jacket. But it wasn't there... and, yes, I looked in the pockets again.. and again...

Jane said my trouble was I insisted things didn't simply disappear. When she knew they sometimes did. I said, oh yes, like your mother's cutting out scissors we found behind her desk when we moved it some years later? Well, I didn't say that, but it makes a better story, Barbara would have approved, she always said not to let the exact truth get in the way of a good story...

Sunday was also a nice day - although very windy and wouldn't've done at all for boating, gusts carry a narrowboat around virtually completely outside one's control almost more than currents. But suitable to have a walk. So we decided to look up where we could park the car nearest (using Jane's key) to walk to our Saturday tea-time spot. In case I had somehow dropped my key there.

By chance neighbour Mary fancied a walk and was suggesting we all went for one, so we admitted we were going to see if I'd dropped... yes, well, by now you've got the idea....

We inspected the map and "Live Earth" aerial photos to check we'd got the nearest point to park the car......

The paths on the map nearly didn't exist, when it came to it, except, thank goodness, the promised FB (foot bridge) over a stream/drain. The natural meadow had medium length grasses and plants of no-doubt exciting detail... but it did mean walking toward were we thought we'd moored was quite a tough walk... you had to lift your feet for each step or by grabbed by the grasses...

And very strange to approach from this completely different direction. Quite impossible to be sure one was heading for the right spot on the bank until one got close.... but I did realise I started heading for wrong spot (hopefully, it was nearer!) for thinking a boat was moored on it until I got close enough to realise that boat was the other side the river... and close enough to start to recognise which bit of the bank I was approaching... started to recognise the look of the bank ... which I knew extremely well from a river/boat perspective, but it looked totally different from the meadow perspective..... very interesting how utterly disorientated one could be until you got close enough...

As for any official path on the map, apart from the FB, and tracks nearby, we could only deduce the rest were animal tracks and nobody actually used the FP. Leaving us to have to high-step through "virgin" meadow. I went well ahead so Mary and Jane hopefully didn't walk too far in any wrong directions....

At, one point I lost sight of them... tracked back until I could just see them... waved my sun-cap hoping they'd see me. I gather they didn't but had worked out to come my way anyway. Where I had found where we'd had tea the day before....

I did see they'd just got up from a rest. Mary's shoes had filled with the burr-ey things in the meadow and Jane had been exhausted because "high-stepping" not to catch in the grasses was all very well for me with longer legs, for Mary it was medium problem, for Jane it was like a gym excercise we used to do at school. "Get your thighs parallel to the floor" the teacher used-to call. I gather people do this in expensive gyms with trainers (human and shoes) to this day, paying for both. You could just do running on the spot if you felt the urge. For free. Or not bother and go for a pint instead. Not for free.

Sadly, as they came to meet me, I'd become as sure as could be the blessed key was NOT on the site. And I could even see where the grass was slightly flattened where we'd put a rug to have tea on. And so work out exactly where I might have been when I was kneeling and getting up and down and so just possibly might have dropped the key. IF it had been in my trouser pocket. As opposed to the jacket pocket (where the jacket never left the boat throughout)... I still couldn't understand I really thought I'd put it in my jacket....

Ages ago I deduced I lost a £10 note overboard for having a streaming something - maybe a cold or maybe just reaction to winds and sun... so every since I've been pretty careful to unload keys and notes from trousers into jacket because if you grab a hanky to wipe your eyes because you can't see, every chance you whip out other things in trouser pockets.

But I'd looked and looked, key not in the jacket. Ah well, we drove on for Jane to have a nostalgia trip about Eynsham because Mary hadn't known about her living there.. and Caroline had along the way wanted sloes if we saw them for sloe gin... and we spotted some and collected them for her. It was a nice walk and drive...

Jane suggested I tried to have a "lucid dream" about where the key might be last night (Sunday.) No, I didn't. But as I walked to the shop this morning my mind still said I was SO sure I'd put the key in my jacket. All along. Perhaps my brain had worked that out whilst I slept. So I felt in all my pockets yet again and even checked for holes.. and then remembered my neat white suit we'd bought for Jane's posh RNA lunch last year had had an unexpected pocket down left on the inside, zipped..... had this jacket got similar pocket but no zip... or I certainly would have known all along.

Dang me. It had. Not zipped. Perhaps designed for muggers not to realise you'd put your credit cards in there. Or, even, a car key. As I found in it with amazing satisfaction I'd always been SO sure I'd put the key in my jacket. I had..... also amazing relief we needn't go through the whole rigmarole of getting another new key...

And I do understand why I hadn't known - I didn't even know that pocket existed until this morning! And I'd always admitted I'd been slightly flustered in getting our guests aboard and thereby might have decided to put the key in my trousers, since it wasn't (apparently) in any of the jacket pockets...

So, I was right, things don't simply vanish. Of course it was daft of me not to realise which bit of the jacket I'd put it in... but, to be honest, my sight isn't fabulous these days without thinking or changing glasses and I mostly felt to put it in "a" pocket, not realising it wasn't one I knew about.

Ah well, met Mary by chance today to admit our tiring walk hadn't been necessary - mind you, we'd always admitted it would probably be fruitless. Or not, if you count the Sloes. She kindly admitted she'd utterly lost a credit card once in her handbag for putting it in a sub-pocket she hadn't realised existed. Was on the point of phoning people when she suddenly found it for more careful search... kind of her to indicate I wasn't alone for making such a mistake...

But perhaps my conversation with Jane before falling asleep may have failed to cause a lucid dream but did make my subconscious all the more sure the key was actually in the jacket. Or maybe it was just chance her next RNA "big" lunch has got to advertised stage so I thought about the last and so that white suit... and so the down-left zipped pocket in that jacket...

But why would jackets have such obscure pockets? Unless they were made for members of the Magic Circle? As a student at UCL I worked backstage for two Magic Circle shows and although I never really found out how they did some of their stunning tricks, I was aware quite a lot turned on hidden pockets in apparently normal jackets. Although far more turned on the fact you didn't realise the glamerous assistant had just quietly handed the person the thing(s) he suddenly produced... I could see when I was flying the scenery that year!

Ah well, I found my key. It had been there all along. In my jacket, exactly where I couldn't understand it hadn't been in the first place. Because I'd put it, not realising, in a pocket I hadn't realised existed! My detective step was merely- whilst off to the shop this morning - to remember my white coat had this pocket, perhaps this coat had and I'd never realised....

Good thought. There was the the pictured key. I completely admit I felt terribly stupid, but at the same time excused myself that I'd been right I'd put the key in the jacket. That I knew I wasn't absolutely sure what happened putting it away because I'd been busy thing about setting off for the trip. That I'd been right to be terribly startled it wasn't in any pocket I knew about at the end of the trip. And not stupid (but ignorant) I'd no idea this jacket HAD this extra pocket...
And should I have realised I knew I'd put the key in it? Well, no, I didn't know the pocket existed, I was wearing distance glasses putting it away, slightly faffed, just put the key in A pocket in my jacket assuming it was one I knew about.

Perhaps encouraged by the nice walk and my dry remarks, Mary wondered if I could sort out her cooker lights. It's always tricky with neighbours, they know I can probably sort out almost anything for normal household problems, but at what point is it an imposition to ask me? - they're very good to realise I'm happy to do an instant trivial fix but if it becomes a serious job... well, I'm not actually a plumber or electrician or builder and have no wish to work as one. Unless for ourselves saving us cash.

This is quite awkard, madly enough. I think the answer is that I'm happy to have a look and see if it's something trivial. Mary's problem today was - she hoped she'd replaced a relevant fuse and only because I have a meter could I instantly detect her replacement fuse was already blown. Heavens, not at all silly, unless one is terribly careful blown fuses get mixed in with new ones. Cartridge fuses don't LOOK blown. And you have to be terribly careful to throw away blown to be sure not to mix them up - I liken it to shelling peas where I can't count the number of times I've put the peas in the shell pot and the shell in the pea pot. If distracted or just momentarily absent-minded. Unlike the pea situation, you can't tell if easily you haven't a test meter. But I do.

All this for one lost key.

Mad, I know. But why I can make things work, and I do! Finding the key is nothing compared to me agonising how to make the charge meter work on the boat. Because in that case the answer would never be exact, just a useful indicator. It is.

2 comments:

  1. "We inspected the map and "Live Earth" aerial photos to check we'd got the nearest point to park the car......"

    And I thought you were going to say ..... "and then, all of a sudden when we used maximum magnification, we saw it"

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  2. Jane, of course, hoped/thought the same. Since I didn't really believe the key was there but.. in my jacket... I said she couldn't be seeing it.

    Half blogger instructions/comments (and my profile star sign) have German. Why?

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