Yesterday started like a perfectly normal school holiday day. Woke at 7.00am, emptied the dishwasher while the kettle boiled for a cup of tea. Drank my tea in the peace of the morning and contemplated the day ahead – morning in the office, and afternoon taking assorted children to the overpriced and overheated fungal hell that is Splashdown Water Park.
Time for a quick shower before seizing the day. So far so good? Yes. Until I tried to exit the shower room. The door handle went up and down as normal but the door stayed shut. OK, no problem, it always was a bit sticky. I gave it a little wiggle. Still stuck. I added some wellie and wrenched it up and down. Not budging. A thin film of nervous sweat broke out all over me as I realised that there was every possibility that I was really and properly locked in. OK, keep calm. How hard can it be to get out? How about flinging myself at the door with all my might in the style of Cagney and Lacey (or Scott and Bailey for younger readers).
Is it me or is it really hot in here? And am I finding it hard to breathe? Opens window and leans out gulping fresh air like a mad woman. A good opportunity to be reminded that this was too far to jump and the spiked railings below might cause a problem.
I returned to the door and rattled it some more in case it had undergone a change of heart and taken pity on me. Nope. Banged and rattled it really, really hard in a very cross way.
“I was fast asleep! You woke me up! It’s 7.30am in the school holidays for gods sake”
My banging had flushed the teen from her lair.
“Oh darling, I’m so sorry to wake you”
“ BUT IN CASE YOU HADN’T NOTICED I’M LOCKED IN THE BLOODY BATHROOM”
The teen rattles the door from the other side. “It’s stuck” she says.
The next twenty minutes were spent trying a variety of useless doors opening activities – sliding a credit card in, locating hinges, synchronised rattling from both sides of the door.
“I’m going to call the fire brigade” she says.
“NO! DO NOT, ON ANY ACCOUNT CALL THE FIRE BRIGADE”.
I would rather have lived out the rest of my days in that bathroom, like some sort of modern day Rapunzel, than suffer the embarrassment of being rescued by a local firefighter.
The horror of possible rescue by a stranger spurred me on. The teen followed instructions and fetched a screw driver from the cupboard under the stairs. She unscrewed the outer plate and handle of the door before feeding a piece of string, well actually a hair wrap – it was all she had to hand – under the door to me. She then stood on the pavement outside the front door while I tied a hair brush to the string to weight it down and flung it out of the window. Hair brush was swapped for screwdriver and I hoisted it back up to my ceramic cell. I unscrewed my side of the door and gave a triumphant push.
Aarghh! Now I was stuck in a room with a closed door that was (a) stuck and (b) had no handles. I was literally turning into one of these lateral thinking puzzles about locked rooms, ice blocks and Kirkby grips or some such.
By now the tween and her sleepover pal had emerged to see what the noise was and they were occupying themselves by feeding our neurotic spaniel calming dog treats to stop him whimpering and scratching at the (still firmly shut) door.
In a last surge of fury, I grabbed the screw driver and rammed the hole where the handle should have been, wiggling, poking and pushing until, finally, the door flung open and I was propelled out into the bedroom to be greeted by three pale and worried faces and one black furry one.
I was a free woman. No need to try and preserve my dignity whilst clambering down a ladder in nothing but a moth eaten Frankie Goes To Hollywood T-shirt. No need to make a guilty call to the landlord to explain a splintered door hanging off it’s hinges.
“At last! Can you make us breakfast now you are out?” asked the tween.
Order was restored. On with the day.