The curious incident of the vanishing padlock

Sorting through the sheer volume of keys with no apparent home that were dotted about my office has been on the ‘to do’ list of doom since I arrived here.

After years and years of various expatriates traipsing through this programme, each of them losing keys and changing locks, I kid you not about 101  million keys were gathering dust on my arrival. I found them everywhere, every time I opened a drawer – oh, another set of unlabelled keys, open a cupboard…keys!

My incredibly meticulous administrator (poor sod) got lumped with the mammoth task of quite literally going from door to door, padlock to padlock, landrover to landrover working out which key worked where, or in fact if it worked anywhere at all.

The guy deserves a medal.

He finished today after several days of trying and testing plus a couple of locked doors to which we thought we had the key then realised we actually didn’t (the carpenter has now been dispatched to pick said locks!!).

I now have a sack full of unloved and completely useless keys, plus 3 keys which appear to open about 10 different padlocks plus spare keys for my office (more useful than you realise bearing in mind the number of times the expat office door has had to be kicked open)

…plus I now know that to get into and start some of my 35 year old landrover ambulances all you need is a hairclip and some elbow grease. Good to know!

So the vanishing padlock…

During the big search and find of keys and corresponding locks, one storage container was approached. It had 2 padlocks, we had 1 key. We put it down to poor admin and wrote off the 2nd padlock. Today we found a key (a stray one found under a plant pot or such like) and it looked suspiciously like it would fit the 2nd padlock.

The container was approached to test it’s fit – a bit like Cinderella’s glass slipper – and the oddest thing had happened…

Overnight the 2nd padlock had been mysteriously removed (so obviously someone had a key for it) and a new padlock had been applied in its place. A padlock to which I obviously had no spare!

I gathered the troops and hot debate then ensued as to where the original padlock had mysteriously disappeared to and where on earth the new padlock had appeared from.

Needless to say the entire motley crew denied all knowledge.

“Someone must have put it there” I wailed.

But no, apparently the magic padlock fairies came in the night, sneaked past the guards, replaced the padlock and flew away!

How very odd.

I concluded that there was obviously something very important or very valuable being hidden in there. It started to feel decidedly exciting…

So I smashed the padlock off (that’s the kind of thing you get to do when you are the boss!) and opened the door eagerly anticipating masses of gold, diamonds and other shiny marvels…instead we found a rather musty smelling container with various bits of old, broken and rusting spare parts off one of our big diggers!

Absolutely confident I would never EVER get to the bottom of the curious vanishing padlock, I left the motley crew to a heated debate as to where the padlock had come from, who put it there, where was the original padlock…etc etc…it’s now after dark but they love a good debate so much it wouldn’t surprise me if they were all still there!

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1 Comment

  1. Antony Vithoozen said,

    June 17, 2011 at 5:35 pm

    hi !!!!!!
    testing those keys were unforgettable experience, i really enjoyed the job.
    cheers mam!!


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