My plumbing's been pretty bad lately - it slowed down to about half its normal speed last Thursday, then down to about a quarter on Sunday, but Thames Water said that there wasn't much they could do. So, I got a plumber out this morning, who had to demolish some of the skirting board in my WC, then said that he couldn't do any more because the water main is jammed outside. The water board don't actually keep records of which manhole cover relates to which property, so it's just a trial and error approach; after annoying all my neighbours by disconnecting their water, we assume that the jammed one is probably mine. Either that, or I'm getting my "drinking water" from a tank in the loft (apparently I have an unusual thickness of pipe for a mains connection), which is illegal, and disconcerting since I've been drinking it for the last couple of years... Anyway, the water board said that they'd send someone out "within the next 8 hours", so I've arranged to take the day off work.
On my way out of the flat (so that I could go to the cashpoint to pay the plumber), I heard the door click shut behind me. This may not seem bad, but it was the death-knell of Doom! for me. Basically, I have a Yale lock and a deadlock on the door to my flat. The Yale one doesn't work very well, and so initially it would take me a bit of fiddling to get it open. Once it got to the point where it took me 5 minutes to get it open, I just stopped using it; I relied on the deadbolt until I could sort out a locksmith, which I've never got round to. Unfortunately, that click meant that I'd locked myself out. After a bit of fiddling with it, I conceded defeat, so I called out a locksmith, although for all the adverts that promise 24 hour service and 15 minute motorbike response times I had to try about five different numbers before I could find anyone who'd turn up within an hour. After that I kept fiddling with the lock, which became something of a Zen-like experience: "I am calm, I am at peace, I am at one with the lock, I am not planning to kick the thing off it's hinges..." At one point I was able to turn the key anti-clockwise (clockwise opens it), so I thought that maybe it would help to do that, so that I could get a "run up". I turned it all the way anti-clockwise, then it got stuck there instead. Brilliant! After another few minutes, I managed to get back where I'd started. And after about another 10 minutes it suddenly worked, so I got in. I still want the locksmith to turn up and change the lock, but at least I don't have to worry about the water guys coming and not being able to do anything.
When I was standing there trying to turn the key, it did remind me of the Dilbert definition of insanity: repeating the same action and expecting a different result. It also occurred to me that I was disproportionately happy/relieved about the fact that it eventually worked properly! Anyway, once this is sorted out I think I'll stash a spare set of keys with a friend.