I would like to take the opportunity to pause for a suitable length of time to thank Cheshire Police for all their help when I needed their assistance a couple of days ago. Has a nanosecond passed by yet? Excellent; that is plenty long enough.
I don't wish to make light of the vast stupidity and incompetence on my own part in causing the situation I found myself in - it was a situation entirely of my own making. But my uselessness was matched very well by that of the police. So at least I'm not the only pointless person in the world - but then no-one pays me from public money to be pointless, so I have less of an obligation to be Of Some Use.
I managed, the other morning, to lock the following items in my car on a supermarket car park:
My handbag (containing keys, phone, phone numbers, money)
The car keys
The initial panic at the moment I realised what I'd done was really not very nice at all. After calling my sister from Customer Services and asking her to go to my mother's house to fetch the spare keys, I went back to the car and tried to persuade my toddler (using every method of bribery I could think of) to pull up the lock button on the nearest door, to no avail.
My sister and mother arrived, with a key - but not THE key. By this time I was starting to worry. My toddler had been in the car for quite some time and was getting distressed that I wouldn't get into the car with him. It was a warm day, and the car was getting hot. We thought about my mother staying with my car while my sister took me to get the key (as I knew what it looked like and my sister hadn't) but we were several miles from my mother's house and the traffic through town was busy - my toddler needed to be out of the car more quickly than that.
I have breakdown cover. But I couldn't remember who with. This is further evidence of uselessness on my part, obviously, but in my defence the cover came with the car under the Warranty so I didn't choose the provider myself, and the details were on hand in case of a break down; they were neatly tucked into the pocket of the passenger door.
So, we decided to call the local police station, hoping (not entirely unreasonably, I thought) that a police officer would be able to come out and open the car door.
After taking many, many details from me about myself and my car, the lady who had answered the call said they would come out as soon as they could, but that all they could do would be to smash a window.
I wasn't hugely impressed with that, since I could smash my own window, although I was of the opinion that I would prefer not to owing to the close proximity of the small child, and 'as soon as they could' sounded slightly vague. I tried to impress upon her that the car was hot and my toddler was distressed, and then we waited.
After ten minutes, my sister had a brainwave. The garage where I bought the car was only about a mile away; perhaps someone there would be able to open the car.
The police rang back. They had discovered that they didn't have a patrol car in the area, and didn't know how long it would be before they could attend.
My sister rang the garage, and the man who answered assured her he'd be here in five minutes - and he was. He and his colleague had opened the car within several minutes (WITHOUT smashing a window, I might add) and I was able to sweep my very hot and really rather cross toddler out of his car seat and into a relieved hug. Like Supermarket Superheroes, the men would accept no payment for their rescue effort, and jumped swiftly back into their car to return to work before I'd even had a proper chance to thank them.
Just before the moment that the garage men managed to open the door, my sister, my mother and I watched with incredulity as a marked police car drew up outside the supermarket, and in a leisurely fashion a policeman got out and wandered off into the store. Of course, it would be pure speculation on my part to suggest that the purpose of his visit was to perhaps procure some lunch.
And really, he should be congratulated. It is no mean feat to visit a place whilst being simultaneously nowhere near it.