Tuesday, 29 January 2013

Mood swings and Key Safes.

You will have been there. You wake up in the morning and feel fine and your day seems to start fairly normally but then it happens. It can be any little thing, a chance comment, a change in the weather or some silliness that triggers that part of your brain which screams 'PET HATE'. Such was my morning.
I try and get some exercise daily, usually a walk, and I'd just put on my coat and was ready to leave the flat when I was confronted by a policeman and two carers. 

A wall mounted Key Safe. It looks innocuous enough but over the last three years or so various types of this beast have been the bane of my life. Perhaps I should say that the people who operate them have become my tormentors.
To put it simply these devices are small, exposed to the elements and must contain a hidden demon installed in the manufacture. First, it was the one outside my mum's front door but now it is my neighbours (I share a street door). 
There is never quite enough space for the key, which to me seems illogical. If keys were made of a similar size then so could these bloody things. They are used by carers looking after people who can't open their own front door, so the elderly and infirm. The industry needs to work towards some level of standardisation. Anyway back to my tale of woe.
If the key is not placed in the receptacle angled away from the locking mechanism at the back of the key pad then it can actually cause it to jam - cue the emergency services. The usual scenario is that the carer can't open the safe so they call their office controller who informs the emergency services who then turn up with the biggest hammer they can find! No science involved! Usually it is the previous carer who didn't put the key in the safe properly that sparks off this ridiculous chain of events.
This morning I was greeted with two carers who explained that they couldn't get in and I explained how and why the problem had occurred and, after years of experience, how to solve it. Then the rather fed up looking 12 year old, all policemen look that age when you are advancing in years, arrived just as I opened the key safe without damage. One of the carers piped up with,
"At least the police won't have to break the door down this time!"
I pointed out that this door was also my access in and out of the flat and that I would be less than happy if I wasn't contacted via the intercom on the wall beside the door, prior to brute force being used.
Why should I be concerned? Well a similar situation happened a couple of weeks ago and, rather than the police, it was the fire brigade that were trying to gain access. Our trusty fire fighters were somewhat quicker than the police and had managed to bash the cover off a disused key safe before I could get to the door to stop them. That damaged unit remains damaged. Can I get anyone to take responsibility for its repair or replacement - no way.
It may seem to be such a small thing but if the emergency services crash the door then it leaves both of our flats somewhat less secure and will they replace or repair the damage - I think not.


So what had been quite a pleasant beginning to the day was turned in the blink of an eye. This was then compounded while out walking. I'd completed a mile or so and was striding along the pavement feeling better about the day when a car approaching me swerved towards the pavement and me, hit a pot hole full of water and sped off leaving me with wet trainers and jeans. The driver, a male, was using his mobile phone, and had lost the curve of the road through too much speed and not enough concentration. At that stage this morning's mood plummeted once again!

When writing the Steele novels action may well be sparked by such a small occurrence. If you are wanting to  instigate activity in your writing you can hinge it on a simple everyday action like the ones above. No great secret but I find using everyday situations brings the activity closer to the reader.

If I had a cat I would go kick it right now!

God Bless