It takes a village, so the saying goes. But I do occasionally wonder whether there is a limit on how many village members you are allowed to recruit in one hit. It started innocently enough. I did what I do on many afternoons: I grabbed the youngest recipe tester and ran out the door.
It was after the door had slammed shut, with my arm up to my elbow, deep in my handbag that I realised that no amount of desperate clutching at the bag's contents were going to change the outcome: I had no keys. Just as Murphy would have it, the hidden spare key (yes, yes, this may have happened on a previous occasion) had inexplicably been used earlier that day. I knew exactly where it was. I could see it through the window. On the kitchen bench. Next to my car keys. And my house keys.
Being now about two minutes until I was expected to collect two other recipe testers I did what anyone in my situation would do: I attempted to jimmy open the dodgy window. This, however, was futile. I recalled the chief recipe tester's concern about the security risk said dodgy window posed. He had nailed it shut some months prior.
With few other options, I resorted to on the only one left: I started working the phone.
Phone call one sorted out the immediate safety of the remaining junior recipe testers.
Phone call two attempted to sort out a vehicle, preferably one with available keys. The progeny who had by now been moved from one place to another, still required collection. This was a little more complicated, as it involved an invitation to come over for afternoon tea. The catch was there was no tea, no biscuit, nor a warm indoor place to relax. In fact, there was no company either Upon their arrival, I shuffled them out of their car, hopped in and took off. Not completely devoid of social grace, I did leave the youngest recipe tester to host. He provided excellent company in return for constant and close supervision.
The final call was to solve the longer term issue: at some point we needed to get back into the house. This required a shortened meeting with an employer, who was fortunately sympathetic to the needs of a family and various village members lurking in an increasingly darkening backyard.
If you'd like to mobilise a bit of assistance next week (no limit on how much help you are allowed to recruit!), may I suggest the Dinner on the Table menu.