Sunday, 19 September 2010

The Key, The Secret

Yesterday, total disaster struck Martini Towers. Yes, you'd be forgiven for thinking that nothing could be worse than clothes gate, but Mr. Martini decided that he'd put that theory to the test.

I was in our study, minding my own business and going through some email. Mr. Martini lets himself in and shouts up the stairs "I need your help now. There's been a disaster."

Surely it can't be that bad? Wrong. Somehow, in his haste, Mr. Martini has lost the car key. Worse, he thinks he has thrown it in one of the communal rubbish bins - the sort that have lids and that are so big, you can climb in them (yes, that's experience talking. Patience). Even worse than that, he's left the car parked in the very obviously marked 'NO PARKING' area with the windows open, the hazard lights on and the alarm activated. Brilliant. And, do you want to know the best bit? We don't have a spare key. Fantastic.

What do you do in this situation? Well, obviously, a frantic search ensued - which did include a thorough search of various rubbish bins. Revolting, but necessary. I watched, but did not participate, I hasten to add. Not in my condition. Three hours of searching later, still no key.

Okay, next step. Call locksmiths. This was not a joyous experience. All said the same thing. Given the age of the car (it's ten years old) we have to go to Mercedes directly. It's too old to be compatible with their computers. I was tempted to ask how car thieves overcome this issue, but restrained myself.

So, call Mercedes. Our closest garage is, unfortunately, Chelsea - so not a cheap option. But we're getting desperate. I can almost smell the car clampers getting ready to pounce. After speaking to about 17 helpful assistants, I am finally told that we can order a new key, but it needs to be made in Germany (again, because of the age of the car) and will take about ten days to arrive. Call me a cynic, but I don't think that's going to cut any ice with Southwark Council. However, as it starts to get dark, I'm thinking that having the car impounded will probably ensure it's safety more than leaving it out in the car park with the windows open. However, I'm not sure how long they'd keep it before crushing it.

All in all, none of the options are appealing. We decide that we have to try and move the car into a proper car parking space, so we open the doors and set the alarm off. It continues to go off intermittently until Mr. Martini call rip up all the electrics (under the driver seat) to try and pull out the right fuse. This just gets better and better. He then tries to steer it over to a  parking spot. Unfortunately, Mercedes are on top of this sort of thing, and a wheel lock kicks in, almost forcing the car into a brick wall.

By this point, I'm almost wishing someone would come and steal the car - it would solve a lot of problems. And ensure the neighbours don't start throwing eggs at us for creating such disruption. The only option is to call the AA and ask how much it will cost to come and rescue the car and take it to a safe location - namely, my parents, out in the suburbs. It's not cheap (they have to pick up the car and lift it onto the tow truck) but it's the only solution. I call my parents to warn them we're on our way. 

"No problem," my mum says, "but why don't we just run the spare key up to you now and save you the fee?"

SPARE KEY? SPARE KEY? They've had one this whole time and we didn't know??? Mr. Martini has never been so relieved in his entire life. So, not a complete disaster - although we're still recovering from the in-depth analysis performed on the local rubbish bins. And yes, another key is on it's way over from Germany. Natürlich.


  1. Ha ha ha, I take it the car was your parents before it was yours! I wouldnt have known wether to laugh or cry!

  2. Yes - probably should have mentioned that! I'm going to have to go for the laughing option - if I start crying, I might not stop!!