163. Down these mean streets…

Leave my iPod in the car? Are you mad?

For one thing, the best technique I know for surviving IKEA on a Saturday afternoon is to be plugged into a good audiobook. In my case, that cosy celebration of country life “Slaughter in the Cotswolds.”

As Thea started her new house-sitting assignment, she hoped that she wouldn’t get caught up in the ghastly murders which had made the previous twelve so difficult.

Great stuff. Whisks you past any amount of unpronounceable furniture.

Also, may I remind you that it’s not two months since our passenger window was smashed and the vehicle ransacked while it stood cosily under the CCTV in a hotel car-park. And now you are suggesting that I leave my iPod in the car while parked at Edmonton IKEA no less: scene of the Great Sofa Riot of 2005. Really!

Mobile zipped safely in deep trouser pocket. Purse well protected. And iPod tucked well away inside my jacket, I sail through IKEA. Quieter than usual: perhaps everyone is inside watching Federer, or outside priming barbecues. Anyway, from start to checkout in an hour, with everything on the list, now in my trolley.

Something of a surprise at the checkouts. Since I was last among the flat-packs, IKEA have installed a dozen self-scanners and there’s a noticeable impact on the queues. I whip through in record time, even with being ‘randomly selected’ for a check by staff. They have to do that, I guess. You can’t be too careful.

Heading back to the car-park, I feel for my keys. Not in jacket pocket; not in trouser pocket. Not in handbag; not in shopping bag. It’s a big bunch: car key, our front door, back door, deadlock, parents’ front door, back door, deadlock. Not easily missed.

I empty my bags completely onto the bonnet of the car: no sign of any keys.

The only reasonable explanation is that somehow I left them at the checkout, perhaps when fishing around for my purse. Or popped them automatically into the big yellow bag as I was shopping, and failed to take them out again.

I push my trolley back through the people escaping from IKEA and start my questing. You don’t need the tedious details: the rummaging through yellow bags, the retracing of routes, the pleading with staff. Fast forward an hour to me, standing by my car with a trolley of duvets and picture frames, trying to work through the implications of having lost my keys.

ActorLaddie has the other car key; he is filming today somewhere in Central London. I could try and stagger onto the bus, or bother Pa for a lift home but that means leaving the car. If someone has my keys, they need only walk around the car-park pressing the remote, and eventually they’d spot the flashing lights of an unlocking car. Our insurance details are in the car; no doubt with our address on them – and they’d have our door keys. No, I’ll have stay with the car until I can reach ActorLaddie. It’s the only sensible, the only secure thing to do.

I’m not sure why I decided to try the car door. But I did – and it opened! I searched the wells of the passenger seat and the driver’s seat and – oh, my eye and Betty Martin! – there were my car keys! Where I had left them – in the ignition.


If I ever have great-grandchildren, I’ll gather them around and tell them how, when I were naught but a young pensioner, you could leave your car unlocked with your keys in the ignition and nobody would touch them. Then I’ll bemoan what the world is coming to and shuffle off to watch Countdown.


It’s been a while since I thanked you for taking the trouble to shop online through the GiveAsYouLive scheme.  Which is very remiss of me because all those donations are inching us ever closer to a cure.  Just last week, Amazon gave 33p to the Cure Parkinson’s Trust because I bought two birthday presents online, remembering to log in via GiveAsYouLive.

Of course, there may be a cause even closer to your heart than Parkinson’s.  Once registered on the scheme, it’s really easy to change the charity benefiting from the donations.  For example, this month we’re donating to the Motor Neurone Disease Association, to mark the birthday of our friend James.  For me, the key thing is not to let the possibility of donations go to waste – and then spread the word.  Lots of charities need the money more than Amazon do!

In case you’ve lost it, here’s the link.

2 responses

  1. Our car was once broken into, they went through all my music – and decided not to take any. Oh how my wife laughed.

    1. Brilliant! Strangely our Werthers Originals were untouched.

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