When you turn the key in the back door

Tuesday was a busy day and I was away from home for several hours.  My last port of call was the supermarket.  Time to replenish my store cupboard and stock up on dry goods.  Supermarket shopping is very tiring… I handled each and every item SIX times before I even thought of cooking anything.  Think about it!

  1. Put the items in the trolley
  2. Lift onto the conveyor belt
  3. Put back into the trolley
  4. Lift into car
  5. Lift out of car
  6. Pack away in cupboards

By the time all that was done and I had a very late lunch, it was time for a rest.  Feet up for half an hour followed by a tour of the world on the blogs and I was ready to sort out the ironing.  A couple of long distance chats and a phone call or three later and my tummy called for dinner.

Crossing the living floor about 8pm I wondered if I had put the car away.  Stepping out the front door the car was patiently waiting. Tapping my jeans pocket I was happy to pull the door behind me, no need to give any local cats or mice an invitation to investigate inside.

My hand was just about inside my pocket as the door clicked shut.  The bulk in my pocket was from a bundle of clothes pegs and not my keys!  So there was I standing in the garden looking at my car.  The front door was SHUT and all the windows were closed!

Disaster I hear you shriek!

Not at all.  I am well prepared.  I keep a key buried in the garden.  No it is not under the mat, a flowerpot or a stone,  I have no intention of telling the world where it is.  I keep it well protected from the elements and I remember where it is.

So I recovered the spare key and went to the back door.  WHAAAA!  I had the correct key but it would not work.


When you lock the back door from the inside I suggest you then remove the key!

Dangling from the inside were my bunch of keys.

My back door leads out into a north facing garden.  There are a few flagged steps to drop down to the level of the patio.  In winter the frost seldom leaves the garden so I do not open that door for the duration.  Were I to fall in the back garden I would lie there preserved until springtime!  I access the garage and the various bins from the front door.  With the return of the better weather I began to open the back door and use the outdoor line to dry my washing.

On Tuesday when I carried in the dry clothes for ironing, I turned the key and left it hanging from the lock.  Why?  The phone was ringing.  Well you never know it might be a toyboy! 🙄  It was a gentleman and he asked if he could speak to JOE.

Quick as lightening I said “No, I am sorry, you cannot speak to Joe!”

“Why?” asked the caller.

“Because he is in the wardrobe!” I said and hung up quickly.  Come on, when you live alone you need some fun!

So there I was locked out of my house and not a toyboy in sight.  Tobias was sitting inside on the table with pings and dings all over the shop.  The car was unlocked so I sat into it, to gather my thoughts and sort out my options.  There was no car at the house opposite but perhaps one of the young couple would be there.  All I needed was a metal coat hanger.  I knew it would work.  Three years previously it cost me £83 to learn that much.  I had locked myself out once before.  On that occasion I had to call a Locksmith.  That was before I buried the spare key.  I watched closely how he solved the problem, I would never be stuck again.  Well I would not be stuck so long as I had a metal coat hanger.

No joy at the young couples house, they were out for the evening.  Who would I turn to next.  Which household would have a metal clothes hanger.  Which neighbour would help without causing a fuss or add stress to the situation.  Which neighbour would I approach and ask ” Do you have a metal coat hanger, I want it to break into my house?

I made my choice.   This couple were home.  The lady of the house found me a metal hanger.  She called her husband in from the garden shed.  She would not let me go home alone with the metal coat hanger in case I had more problems.  The husband would not let me go home alone with a metal coat hanger because he was curious to know how I would break into my own house.

So I walked back home with another woman’s husband and a metal coat hanger!  This woman’s husband told me he is due to retire at the end of next month.  Retire!  I have just trained him for a new profession 😳

No!  I am not going to tell the whole of the internet how I broke into my own house with a metal coat hanger.  If you want to know, it will cost you £83.

33 thoughts on “When you turn the key in the back door

  1. Nick

    Or a long metal strip. I understand that’s quite useful as well. I haven’t had any key crises like that (yet) but of course Jenny has spare house keys in an emergency (provided she’s not in Australia). Probably a good idea always to keep a spare set of every household key somewhere accessible.

    “Joe is in the wardrobe”! I love it. Must remember that one for irritating unwanted callers.

  2. Grannymar Post author

    @Primal – I was thinking that two hangers might be better in case I forget where I buried the first one! 😉

    @Nick – The previous caller looking for some strange guy was asked to hold on while I set down the phone on a hard surface… three minutes later I came back to say he was not under the bed!!

    @Steph – Make it bright pink!

    @Lily – Everyone should think about where they can keep a spare key.

  3. Brighid

    I have attached my spare keys to the collar of Max the Wonder Cow Dog, Ret. As he is always hanging around the doors wanting in.

  4. Magpie11

    Ah! Now all is clear…. Never thought to have a back door key on my keyring …always remove keys from back door when locking as we have a window in the backdoor and that…and they are always put out of sight of all windows in case some one has a fishing rod or a deconflamerated coat hanger….love the idea of burying the spare keys…only things buried in our garden are two rabbits, several gold fish, a cat that drowned in our water butt and a chinchilla under the buddleaia!

  5. rummuser

    Never a dull moment there for you Grannymar. What joy it would be if I could be your neighbour!

    I keep a spare set of keys to the house with a neighbour about half a Km away from us. Before the advent of mobile phones, it was always touch and go if they would be at home, but with the new gadget, it is fairly simple. Since the husband has been brought up properly, he insists on bringing it over rather than have me, such an elderly person, walk over to get it.

    If I were to be your neighbour, you could leave a spare set with me, and I could leave a spare set of mine with a neighbour half a Km away and we can eventually sort out the problem.

    It happens to the best of us. You are in elite company.

  6. wisewebwoman

    Tee hee GM, I did exactly the same thing BUT it was 20 below and I’d gone out to run to the car and get a package out of it. No keys, door locked behind me.
    BUT the car was open with my cell phone inside. Couldn’t reach neighbour a few miles away for my spare key. Went down to the road, freezing cold, waved to cars to try and stop them to give me a ride to the neighbour with key. They all waved back and carried on.
    Skulked back to car and finally raised neighbour who laughed and laughed and laughed as he pulled up in his truck and saw me huddled in freezing car.
    Now I have a safe place like you and I think it very clever…..

  7. Grannymar Post author

    @Magpie – The keys were left in the back door only because I was pottering about the place. They normally reside in my pocket.

    @Ramana – I am sure life would be very interesting if you lived next door. I will just have to pay more attention to what I do with my keys.

  8. Grannymar Post author


    I keep the mobile/cell phone in my pocket for emergency purposes. As I sat in my car for the few minutes to gather my thoughts I decided that if all else failed I could sleep in the car.

    One day we will learn….!

  9. Alice

    Well, Grannymar, I’d NEVER get myself into such a predicament! (Actually, I gave a key to my daughter who lives a five minute walk away.) But I’ve been there in the past. Until we moved here (Utah) my solution was a keyless entry pad to open the garage, that’s one with a private ID number to open either manually or with a door opener installed in the car. As for the number of times handling grocery items, I’ve fantasized many times about a shopping venture with some sort of conveyor belt that dumps things into a container automatically after you’ve keyed the item into a computer. Just back your car up to the warehouse door and wait until the clerk deposits them into your car’s trunk (or bootie?) and drive home. That reduces the number of times to handle stuff to two, taking them from the car and putting them away. Surely if we can put a man on the moon, we could figure out how to do that, right?

  10. Grannymar Post author


    How fortunate you are to have a daughter only five minutes away. My Elly has a set of keys but she never remembers to bring them with her when she visits. Since she lives 125 miles away calling her in an emergency is not on!

    I suppose online shopping is an option… but I like to see what I am buying when it comes to food.

  11. Darlene

    I have been in your predicament twice and had to call the locksmith both times before I wised up and hid a set of keys outside. I also gave a set to a near neighbor just in case –.

    But my final option if I have a problem is a security button on a cord I keep around my neck at all times since breaking my hip. If I punch it and the girl asks me if I am okay and doesn’t get an answer she immediately calls 911. Someone will come to my rescue. It is a solution that adds to my peace of mind .

  12. Grannymar Post author


    Those security buttons on a cord are a great idea giving us elderly the opportunity of being independent for many more years.

  13. Annb

    Poor Grannymar – I ‘ve been there done that and burried the key! One time after an ambulance dash to Dublin – I returned to home the worse for wear, to look after Jess, having left Rory in Temple St as the other kidney was away. I was getting something out of the car and had the hall door on the latch, when Jess, then aged 3, slammed the door behind me! Even with the key I couldn’t open it with the latch on! I called to her through the letter box – gave her instructions to get a small chair and explained how to un-latch the door. After a few attempts she quickly got bored and said she didn’t want to do it anymore. Trying to remain calm,I told her she’d be stuck there all alone if she didn’t open the latch. To which she helpfully replied, “I won’t be all alone – Dearbhla’s with me”! Dearbhla was a friend who had recently moved house and Jess had promoted her, in her absence, to become her imaginary friend! This was not what I wanted to hear! I eventually had to break the door down to get in – that was not a good day!

  14. Grannymar Post author

    Annb – how dreadful for you. Thankfully I had no need to break down the door. At least now I can laugh at my stupidity.

  15. Grannymar Post author

    @Judy – Yes indeed, don’t wait to learn the hard way!

    @D@\/e – Excuse me! What kind of games do you think I play? 🙄 Actually you reminded me of an excellent party game that I played many years ago. 😀

  16. Baino

    Keys? What’s a key? I don’t think I’ve got any door keys. The only thing I lock is the back paddock gate to stop people cutting through and running the risk of allowing the nags their freedom. Seriously, I never lock anything. Then I have nothing worth stealing either. Glad you sorted your problem though. Also good is that sort of semi rigid plastic strip that is used to bind large parcels. Apparently also good for dulling the sharpness of your snare drum . . .see you’re not the only one with hot and handy hints!

  17. Grannymar Post author


    Years ago we could go out without locking doors or closing windows, alas no more! In fact for valid house insurance I must close all windows at night and activate the alarm.

  18. Rhyleysgranny

    I’m sorry I laughed all the way through that one. I think we have all done it. I remember using a very long cane through my letter box to hook the keys off a chest of drawers where they lived in a little wooden tub. Needless to say i never kept the keys in that position again!

  19. Lorna

    Looking for the other set of keys the other day, I discovered I’d left them under a pot for my husband – 2 days before!! Sometimes we’re a bit lax about security in the sticks but with crime increasing, I must be more careful.
    Yep, I’ve done that too – locked the door with the keys inside – luckily a window was open!

  20. elfinamsterdam

    My Mum once locked herself out of the house when I was a toddler, although I think I probably shut the door behind her.

    She came back from the line to find me happily wandering in the house, with no abilty or interest in opening the back door. Took her an hour to get someone to help her get in (thank god for single glazing eh)

    By which time I’d emptied a few presses and turned their contents on the floor 🙂 I was a bit sick from eating flour, custard powder, jelly and icing sugar!

    Happy Days!

  21. Grannymar Post author


    I can just picture you sitting on the floor covered in a snowlike shower of flour, custard & sugar! At least I had nobody waiting indoor for me.

  22. David

    Great post! I once locked my car keys in the boot of my car – not an unusual mistake to make except that my car was on double yellow lines outside a conference center in Derry (about 70 miles from home) and my hazard lights were on. We’d just finished loading the car full of computers after a training course and I threw my coat in on top and slammed the door.

    After a few minutes a couple of friendly policemen pulled up to see what was happening, I explained and asked if they could help. One of them put his hand on his pistol and said “Sure I could shoot the windscreen in if you like … but maybe you’d be better calling the AA”

  23. Cathy in NZ

    I completely cracked on

    On Tuesday when I carried in the dry clothes for ironing, I turned the key and left it hanging from the lock. Why? The phone was ringing. Well you never know it might be a toyboy! 🙄 It was a gentleman and he asked if he could speak to JOE.

    Quick as lightening I said “No, I am sorry, you cannot speak to Joe!”

    “Why?” asked the caller.

    “Because he is in the wardrobe!” I said and hung up quickly. Come on, when you live alone you need some fun!

    I’M HOME ALONE,…..I must try that on those pesky sales people who try to say my rather complicated surname or say “could I speak with Mr or Mrs….” there has been a Mr or a Mrs with my particular name.

  24. Grannymar Post author

    Cathy in NZ welcome on board.

    If people interrupt my day with a wrong number, then I turn it into fun for me!

  25. bikehikebabe

    I was to pick up my husband & saw I’d locked my keys in the car. The airport people didn’t have a metal hanger so I could break into my car. In desperation I went back to the car & asked the guy behind me what to do. He said he had a device for breaking in cars, but it wasn’t with him at the moment.

    No problem at the car, because I’d left the passenger side unlocked.

  26. Grannymar Post author


    You were very fortunate on that occasion to recover the car and the keys without damage. I am sure it taught you an important lesson.


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