Our travel genie was in a mischievous mood yesterday. We were scheduled to check out of our B&B, hop on a “coach” (bus) to Southampton, and check into our hotel, to await Sunday’s embarkation onto our cruise ship.
We are planners, and we try to plan for contingencies. One might even accuse us of carrying this to extremes. Rick is a master at imagining every possible disaster, and creating a Plan B – just in case. I’m not as obsessive as he is, but I’ve had reason to be grateful for his forethought, so I willingly help plan. Which is why I scheduled us to be in Southampton on Friday. I knew we wouldn’t board the ship until Sunday, but there’s NO WAY I was going to take a chance on missing that boat. I gave us breathing room, in case something went wrong.
But not even we imagined Friday’s disaster.
We got up early and had a leisurely breakfast, chatting with Susie, our hostess. We turned in our keys. Another couple arrived to check in just as we went upstairs to pack. We planned on leaving about 10:30 to walk to the coach station, and we had plenty of time. We packed carefully, making sure to not leave anything behind. We even read for a while as the house settled into silence around us. Susie was off on errands, and the new guests must have gone on to see sights.
At 10:30, we dragged our bags down the two flights of stairs, ganging up on the two largest bags. This had been our biggest worry – the stairs were narrow and the bags were heavy. But we accomplished it with no broken bones (or broken anything). Once everything was downstairs, Rick remembered that we wanted a picture of the front of the house – we like to keep a memory of places we’ve stayed. So I grabbed my camera from my purse and pulled on the doorknob.
Which refused to open the door.
Two quick tugs revealed the problem: someone – probably the new guests – had locked the bottom deadbolt. This is usually only locked late at night. We had never used it, although we had a key for it.
One of the keys we turned in at breakfast.
We were locked IN. Did they do this on Seinfeld?
We tried every key we found on the bookcase – keys in a jar and keys in a bowl.
We had allowed extra time (naturally) to get to the coach station, but this quickly vanished during our struggle. Rick even thought of climbing out a window, but they wouldn’t open far enough to allow this. On a sitcom, this is where we would have lowered our luggage and ourselves from a third story window, resulting in dangling hilarity.
At one point, an elderly neighbor came by and we talked to her through the window. Perhaps she had a key to Susie’s house?
Rick had to tell her twice that we were locked in, and the second time, her head jerked back, and her jaw dropped in amazement. “I thought that’s what you said the first time,” she said. “But my hearing is dippy, and I was sure I was wrong.”
This cheered us into laughter, as “dippy” was the perfect word for our situation. But no, she did not have a key.
We were finally able to get hold of Susie, who talked me through finding the right key. She was mortified, of course, but who would imagine this could happen? We had long since missed our coach, and she kindly offered to reimburse us if we could not get a refund. But the coach company was eminently reasonable. We probably made their day with our story of why we were late. They loaded us onto the next coach to Southampton. With my two-day allowance, we got here in plenty of time. Our ship doesn’t leave until tomorrow.
Other Plan B’s remain in place.
Until we are safely aboard.