"On no! You complete idiot! You total fool!" were my exasperated words as I stood outside the front door, Little A, clung to my side, watching my befuddled, pained expression.
"What's the matter mummy?"
"We're locked out."
Only two minutes earlier, we'd stood at the gate waving bye bye to H and her toddler. They drove away - at first, slowly, returning our goodbyes, then with applied acceleration once the car had crawled passed. Even then, premonitions danced in my gut - visions of being locked out of house and home. And my imagination wasn't disappointed. Behind me, the wind schemed, and with a Machiavellian gust, I heard something slam, clatch firmly shut. I turned around to find the front door securely closed. Bullet proof. My mouth and stomach joined ranks in shock.
My keys were inside.
My phone was, also, inside.
And this is where we found ourselves last Friday afternoon. Locked outside, me, Little A, in the elements, far from friends. No phone. No Keys. No nothing. How were we going to get back inside? More worryingly, how long were we going to be out here for? Younger Dad was at the Olympics enjoying the badminton, and wasn't due back till late. I had no idea if and when our next door neighbour, who inhabits the ground floor flat, would return. We could be stuck until midnight! Even worse, my newly intrepid potty adventurer only had one pair of pants and leggings to sustain her until we were rescued. No. No. No. This can't be happening. Keep calm. Keep calm. Keep calm.
"Mummy is having a nightmare Little A."
"We're having a nightmare Mummy."
"Little A, you must tell mummy if you you need a wee or a poo."
A thoughtful pause as we both pondered our predicament...
"Mummy, we can't get in."
"I know. I know."
I berated my self for not placing the lock on the latch, for not carrying my keys - I usually carry them, just in case, as a cautionary measure against something like this ever happening. And now I'd gone and done it. Duh. For ten minutes we loitered like two strays under the shade of the porch, the afternoon sun, creeping, chewing its way into the shadow. Oh no, Little A has no sun cream. She's not even wearing socks. I mentally flustered. I mentally panicked.
Then, I breathed. In and out. Long and slow. Calming. Calmer. Calm.
Suddenly, a glimpse of that most resilient of all helpers - 'Survival 101'. So, I prodded the front door. It answered with a sealed silence - "But it's ME, not a burglar!" I tried picking the lock with some discarded plastic. No luck. I attempted a shy kick. What was I thinking? It's a brand new door. "Mummy I need a wee wee," Little A moaned. I lifted her over the recycling bin and she pee'd with abandon - one of my better ideas -"well done Little A!"
Bravely, I mummed-up and started harassing passers-by. "Er, can I have a moment of your time please, we're locked out?" A few nervously glanced in our direction, walking swiftly by. Soon enough, a kind lady let me use her phone to contact Younger Dad, but, oh, the frustration, I couldn't remember his number. "Ooose that," said the voice on the other end of the line, no, that wasn't the warm tones of my betrothed.
The lady, wishing she could assist more, had to make her way home, but was soon followed by another kind soul, who stayed with me for nearly an hour. At first, he wasn't sure - nodding at the door, he asked if this was my home. I was a little offended by his question, but then, I had to agree, the present situation could be construed, by the more suspecting person, as a clever scam. He realised by the pleading look on my face that I was telling the truth. He offered his phone, pen and paper, and off to work I went decoding, unscrambling the mystery that was Younger Dad's number. I tried different combinations but to no avail, all my efforts rewarded by European dialling tones. The kind stranger, who, as it turned out, lived just around the corner, put me in contact with my doctors surgery. Of course! They will give me the number. But the line was persistently engaged.
In the mean time, Little A rolled about on the dusty tiles, chewing mud - which I yanked from her mouth, and battling against her afternoon nap; I could for see a difficult, teary bedtime ahead.
I still couldn't get through to the surgery, but a BURST of inspiration, like a beacon, a light house, illuminated the obvious answer... After almost two hours, the best idea I'd had yet. Why hadn't I thought of this before?
Little A's nursery, a five minute walk away, had all our numbers.
I thanked the sympathetic stranger for his help - we never unearthed our names - I think he was relieved I'd, at last, found a solution.
The staff at the nursery were brilliant. Little A used the potty, ate baked beans and played with the other children. Miraculously, I made contact with Younger Dad on the first call ....
"Younger Dad, it's me."
"What phone number are you calling from?"
"Er, the nursery, we're in a pickle, I locked us both out of the flat."
"Don't worry, the badminton has finished, I'm coming back now."
After an hour or so, Younger Dad arrived, and finally, finally, on arriving home, after four hours of waiting and wondering, after all the stress, I watched with utter relief as the keys were inserted into the lock and the wretched front door, at last, opened.
Needless to say, Younger Dad's mobile number has since been emblazoned on my forehead.
Even though it's Thursday, I'm linking this post up with Hello Wall's, Wednesday Witter.