Recently four of us had lunch in the town centre. Being an unusually warm spring day we had walked for 15 minutes from the house. After the meal K decided he would call in at the chemist to pick up his prescription before returning home. The choice of whether to wait for him outside the chemist or to browse adjoining shops was a no brainer, and the other 3 members of the group disappeared into charity shops and a hardware store "just for a moment".
Sometimes freak timings operate don't they? In this case, in the 30 seconds that all three were browsing, K came out of the chemists to find no-one waiting. Being of a methodical mind he returned to the restaurant to check we had in fact left - rather than sneaking back for an extra course/drink/coffee. "No - definitely left" was the message.What to do? Use mobile phone. Ah. Mobile phone was at home charging batteries. No alternative but to set off retracing earlier steps in order to catch us up. The only access to the house were the keys in K's pocket, so fearing a threefold wrath from "locked out" family and guests, speed was of the essence in K's opinion.
By sheer chance a passing neighbour offered a lift. Result! K was nicely installed in the house just 8 minutes after leaving the chemist.
Meanwhile.....back at the Chemist three detectives were piecing together clues of K's location. Three separate checks on visible customers and an enquiry to the prescriptions counter were enough to prove he had left. A check on nearby shops (looking for us perhaps) drew a blank. Finally a mobile phone call was made - and a one sided conversation with a message system took place as a prelude to the walk home. Conversation ranged from topics like responsibilities; relative walking paces;other evidence of previous disappearances to possible reprisals and repercussions
We were greeted by a calm, unconcerned K. This was suspicious.Claims and counter claims about the uses of mobile phones followed. Under close questioning he cracked - and admitted to having had a lift home. A promise to do lots of clearing away and washing up seemed like an acceptable recompense. (At least, I think that was the deal..)
This episode had unnerving similarities to a mystery that faced us 2 weeks ago. We arrived home, after a brief visit to friends, to find :
a conservatory door key in the middle of the lounge floor
the key to the other conservatory entrance on the kitchen table
2 grand-daughters locked in the conservatory with no means of escape performing antics we had last seen on a visit to the monkeys at the zoo, with lots of jumping up and down accompanied by loud shrieking noises.
Needless to say, elder sibling had her "blackberry" with her - so by the time we arrived the world knew of their predicament, and a rightly concerned mum phoned just as we had unlocked the doors.
So, what had happened?
Leaving out our long and tortuous list of possibilities that we presented, we were given the following explanation.
Younger sibling had been watching a children's cartoon programme in which - I am told - the character is locked in a cupboard (?)......... and another cartoon character mysteriously comes to the rescue. They then have an adventure............
Doh!.. this doesn't happen in real life!
In both cases there was an unplanned event with a trail of evidence to piece together what had happened.
I think in fact we have played too much "Cluedo" recently.
Nevertheless next time we have certain visitors they may have to solve the puzzle of a front door bell that doesn't work; locked gates; an absence of cars on the drive; drawn curtains and a phone system that is sorry it can't take a call.
( Only joking....honest....love you lots really..monsters..and don't be surprised if mobile phone signals get jammed by the new electronic force field I have invented.... or the ground gives way in the garden causing you to fall into a deep pit....full of crawly creatures..and soundproofing on the walls..with only a frayed rope as a possible means of escape..and scarey out of tune singing and snorting noises echoing round the walls..and pictures of fanged trolls glaring out..with only lettuce and a nearly empty jar of nutella to keep you going.. and a half empty bottle of water that you have to share... )