It is News Year’s morning and I turn my head to look at ‘old faithful’ that’s been with us for the past fifty odd years, and it still works perfectly, including the radio which used to be our BBC musical wakeup call in the mornings, however our retirement made that part of the device redundant.

I look at the flickering figures – it’s my eyes flickering not the clock – and I see it’s time to do the morning chore, making the tea.  We used to have a ‘Teasmade’ sitting beside the bed, but we kept forgetting to prime it the night before, so I still got up to make the tea.

It is still dark as I climb out of the warm bed and make my way to the kitchen, the night lights showing the way, which saves putting on the main illuminations, creating a blaze of brightness which may wake my lady.

On passing the patio doors I glance out at a sleeping world of the valley, to the left some smoke blowing from a chimney,  the village at the bottom of the hill about a mile away is covered in a whitish, grey, thick layer of what appears to be a blanket, keeping it warm.

With bleary eyes I fumble as I lay out a cup, filling the kettle, and while waiting, emptying the little dish with previously used tea bags, before adding the boiling water to the cup. It is then time for my return route to the bedroom, passing the large patio doors again I see someone is escaping the cloud blanketing the village, their headlights showing the way.

It is sometime later when the cuppa has cooled that my wife murmurs, “Why have I just got water this morning and not tea”. For some reason assembling the parts for the beverage did not include the tea bag, perhaps at six thirty in the morning moving the used ones was confusing to an octogenarian’s sleepy head, anyway I thought getting one wrong after sixty odd years is not bad.

Memory loss, especially when doing routine things is a common thing, I am sure most people will have, at some time, gone into a room and wondered why they were there. To forget, has happened on occasion in the small hostelry we visit in the village, certainly when they are busy, and a cup of coffee does not arrive.

But that is rare, and the brew is always delicious, accompanied with a biscuit wrapped in foil which I find spoils the taste of the drink; I normally put them in my pocket.

On another occasion during the day, Jean, the one who should be obeyed, asked me to go to the village to buy a few things, at the time Sue was with us helping with household chores.  On returning I passed the objects over and then back to working on the computer, but first laying the car key, as I normally do, on the dining room table – at least that is where I thought I had put it.

The following day the car was due for a service, I was all ready to go and then I discovered the key was not in its usual place and an empty tabletop glowered back at me. I am sure it would have laughed if it could have done.

So where is the key? The day before I had parked the car and walked up from the drive into the living room without stopping, so logic says it must be somewhere between the car and the dining room table. After searching in all the usual places, with no result, and as I only have the one key, I cancelled the service for the car.

We were getting desperate and phoned Sue to see if she knew where it was. She was unable to help but a little later, with her husband Paul, they came round to assist in looking for it.


We had already looked in the rubbish bins, but she went through them again, with the same result, it was then that Dave, our neighbour, became involved, and they searched the garden and the flower beds – still no key.

We are now talking six people spending hours of their time looking for it with no result, and standing sadly in the drive, the car, and no means of being able to get into it let alone starting the engine. So, desperation! What do we do?

There is a firm of locksmiths who operate out of Alicante and specialise in getting into locked vehicles. They were happy to come to us but first they had to check that they had a replacement. They explained that the key, (it is a flat black disk with buttons, credit card size), is also part of the electronics in the vehicle, and the substitute for it to work would have to be programmed to match the electrical system. We still could not find the original, so we told him to go ahead.

At a cost of two hundred and fifty Euros, that was less than what the Renault garage wanted, the young man presented me with a replacement, which had taken two and half hours to be coordinated with the car.

It is now two months later, and it is Christmas day. We have had a nice meal, just the two of us. We don’t do turkey, two sirloin steaks instead, beautiful. As we have done in previous years rounding off the event with a glass of Port, crackers and Stilton blue cheese.

I went to the biscuit barrel in the kitchen where the cheese biscuits are kept, it is also where I deposit the unopened biscuits from the coffee bar, and there amongst them was the original key to the car.

Take care chattey