One of the most appealing features of Casa Libélule when we were considering buying it, was its position half way up the south facing slopes of a mountain – well, hill since it’ll be under 3000ft – complete with balconies on both levels giving splendid views of the valley below. The lower level balcony, outside bedrooms 2 & 3, is really only wide enough for airing clothes but the upper level balcony, outside the living area, is about 2m deep and good enough for a (gas) BBQ and lunch table. It’s pleasant just to sit and watch from here.

We noticed from early days that there was a serious design flaw, however. A window and a sliding patio door open onto the balcony. What there wasn’t was any way of opening either the window or the door from the outside. When going out onto the balcony, we became very practiced at pulling the door to, preserving any heat inside, with our hands wrapped around the door edge to ensure that it didn’t fully close. Then Francine spotted a handy-dandy rubber, multi-purpose door stop which could be positioned inside the door jamb, thus saving our fingers – just close the door against it. Our hand habit was superseded by a new rubber doorstop habit.

This morning there was some activity in the first house of our development. Francine went out onto the balcony to be nosey. Eventually I followed to have a look myself. CLICK! What? OH SHIT (or words to that effect)! Where’s that handy-dandy little rubber door stop? Ah, there it is, on the floor inside the now-shut-with-no-means-of-opening-it door. And here we both are, on the outside.

Without breaking something, we are both now locked on the balcony. Being on the side of a mountain, the very hard concrete and stone ground level of our development is about 16ft/5m below our feet. Both our entrance door keys, should we ever manage to get to it, are locked inside the house, along with that handy-dandy little rubber door wedge. We had at least lodged door keys with two friends in the valley, to act as key-holders. However, our Spanish mobile, the repository of all our Spanish contact numbers, is also locked inside the house, along with our keys and that handy-dandy little door wedge.

I do have my English mobile phone in my pocket, though. It has contact details of our English neighbour who is also out in Jalón on this occasion. Being a smart phone {Ed: unlike its owner], I also have a my email contacts. I send off emails to our key-holders, hoping they’ll be watching their accounts. Next I call our English neighbour’s Spanish mobile which IS on the smart phone – no answer. I call Mrs English-Neighbour’s UK mobile. Voicemail. We pace up and down our distressingly small world, not receiving any responses to my emails. Over the course of about 30 minutes, four further attempts to reach Mrs. English-Neighbour’s mobile also go through to voicemail. Bugger! Now my phone’s battery is running distressingly low. Furthermore, I my phone account has a £2.50 cap on roaming charges which can’t be topped up without a credit card which is – you guessed it – locked inside the house along with our Spanish mobile, our keys and that handy-dandy little door wedge. It’s a race to see which runs out first, my battery or my £2.50 call limit.

A familiar car approaches up the steep hill below us – one of our neighbours, a full time resident. As she walks away from her car in the parking area behind Casa, I call to her from the edge of our prison, explaining our lamentable situation. Suppressing a smirk, she heads off to key-holder #1 who lives just below us. No response from his bell, car not on driveway – out. A second neighbour, the president of our owners’ association, appears and, completely smirk free, proceeds to call a locksmith. What an organized chap he is; just the sort to be president of our owners’ association. Ah, good.

Having failed to reach key-holder #1, neighbour #1 now sets off to key-holder #2, who will shortly be leaving for the airport on a return trip to the UK. It’s all beginning to look like a Hollywood last minute rescue – or is it more like Brian Rix farce? I’ certainly feeling stuffed. 😀 [My apologies, that’s a bilingual joke.]

A van approaches; sadly a painter not the locksmith.

A second van approaches. relief, the locksmith is here.

Now, when we locked ourselves IN Casa having just bought it [see A Key Moment – can you spot a pattern forming?], we had our entrance door lock changed to a security lock. Whilst our entrance door wasn’t now actually locked, it was on the latch. It took Mr. Locksmith a mere 15 seconds to gain entry, sans key, thence to rescue us from our self-imposed balcony prison. Blushes were in order.

Neighbour #1 now returned armed with our key from key-holder #2, who she had managed to intercept just prior to leaving for the airport.

Mr. Locksmith was not unfamiliar with our situation, having been called upon to free several similarly imprisoned people, some of whom had apparently been déshabille. There, blushes would certainly have been in order. Mr Locksmith offered to return mañana to make modifications to our doors such that we would not repeat the exercise. We’ll stay off the balcony until then.

In hindsight, the hand-wrapped-around-the-door approach was probably safer but, let’s face it, it was an accident waiting to happen, given the design – if I can call it design.

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Posted in 2016-02 Spain
4 comments on “Balconied!
  1. BlasR says:

    À propos other “key” events, do I not recall a calamity with a locked bike rack and an AWOL key? Do I see a pattern/theme emerging?

    • Franco says:

      Indeed you do. I told that tale to Mr. Locksmith.

      Mr. Locksmith told me that he became a locksmith after locking his car keys in the boot of his car. 🙂

  2. Ann says:

    Hilarious…..when it’s happening to someone else!

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  1. […] 20 or so gates in 30 properties. He’s the nice man who rescued us from the embarrassment of locking ourselves on our balcony. I popped out to say hello and ask if he’d heard about last night’s attacks. His eyebrows shot […]

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