We accidentally locked ourselves out

·3 min read
<span>Photograph: Ian Simpson/Alamy</span>
Photograph: Ian Simpson/Alamy

Our house has a door problem, namely that my wife can’t open it. It’s all we talk about – well, it’s a three-way split between that, our baby, and how we definitely don’t want to have any more babies.

It’s the kind of thick, impregnable door that would have you checking the wall cavities for Bavarian gold and stolen horses. Our landlord installed it after the last tenants left, which suggests he’s trying to prevent them from returning. We should be happy about this surfeit of security, with an infant in the house, whom we’d very much like to keep safe from the outside world. Unfortunately, it might be keeping us out as much as anyone else, as we discovered to our cost.

The door is made by a company I’d never heard of, but which a quick Google revealed to be the best you can get without having one of those spinning wheels of interlocking metal bars that safes have in heist movies. Online, I find that door-lock message boards a) exist and b) talk about this lock a lot. The correspondents are split between those proclaiming it to be the sturdiest lock system ever and another, more hurried, cohort of people claiming they’ve been locked out of their houses, and hoping it’s not quite as secure as everyone is letting on. I know all this because, as you may have already guessed, my first time checking these message boards came while standing on our doorstep having locked us out.

The door is the best you can get without having one of those spinning wheels that safes have in heist movies

Someone (me) had left the spare key in the door after we’d left, which meant the lock system could not now be engaged. I presume this was a clever ploy on the part of the door manufacturer to stop robbers who are devious enough to have your house keys on them.

When I called the man from the key company, I asked whether a locksmith could get me in without any damage. He was laughing too much for me to make out his reply, but ‘You live outside now’ was the general gist.

A call to our landlord confirmed he didn’t want any damage to his prized portal and, before we knew it, he was driving from Enfield with a ladder and some tools. So it was that I spent a pleasant Saturday evening mounting the side of my new house with a 70-year-old man, hoisting a ladder over a wall and descending it to first drill, then smash open our kitchen window with a heavy mallet, showering glass over every surface. And so, for the week it took to be mended, our baby was protected by both the world’s most expensive door and a cardboard box, duct-taped to a window frame.

Two days later, I felt a wince of pain in my crotch and discovered the underpants I was wearing had been on the clothes horse in the kitchen at the time of our break-in, and had caught a thumbnail-sized shard of glass in their folds, now inches from doing my testicles a rather abrupt discourtesy.

‘At least you won’t have to worry about having more babies’ my mother-in-law cackled, as I wrenched it from my groin in a crowded park.

When one door closes, I thought, another opens.

Did Ye Hear Mammy Died? by Séamas O’Reilly is out now (Little, Brown, £16.99). Buy a copy from guardianbookshop at £14.78

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