|The door of doom|
There's a lesson in here somewhere.
Arriving in a hot (33C) and humid Paris, lugging a suitcase up through a metro station with more stairs than usual and confusing signage to the exit (hence more stairs down and up again), then up three floors to the flat I've exchanged with, doesn't help with the right frame of mind and skills to getting the key to work in a fiendish combination spring and dead-lock. Messages and phone calls backwards and forwards with my exchange partners (now on the train to London) didn't entirely help, with matters coming to a head when the spring part of the lock fought back against sweaty fingers, and the key disappeared down the gap between the door and the landing floor, and indeed irretrievably under the door.
At which point I said I'd go to a hotel, having a favourite one I've used before, and started lugging everything back to that damn metro station and down its stairs, only to get a call to say he'd come back to Paris to sort it out for me, and in the meantime, there was a little hotel round the corner that would do for one night if necessary, or at least somewhere to store the luggage while I waited for him to get back. Which turned out to be another three floors up with the luggage in one of the saddest-looking decors imaginable (not quite a fleapit, it looked clean enough and the people were nice enough, but Alex Polizzi would have a fit).
Eventually, the tutorial on the lock (press in against the spring before turning to release the deadlock, then press in and turn again to release the spring lock) took a good 20 minutes for me to get the knack, on top of all the time he'd spent to get back to set me right. Eventually he went off to get an evening train, and arrived in London maybe 6 or 7 hours later than he had planned. We did all at least end up for the night where we were supposed to, but it was all rather shaming.
The lesson, perhaps, is in these wise words from Miss Barrel House Annie: