Rural Adventures

The Case of the Dead Bolt

Les and I moved to our cottage in Dyffryn in early January 2016 and we’ve spent a LOT of time working on the house and gardens over the past few months.

I, personally, have spent much of my time by the driveway gate as I struggled to reverse my car in every night after work without taking down a section of my wall or mowing down some trees.

Anyway, I’ve pretty much mastered the old parking now, in case you were wondering, and I only hit the recycle bin once. And squished those daffodils a little bit. And had to pull forward a few times after parking so close to the wall that my Les couldn’t get out the passenger door. Apart from THAT, it’s in the bag.

While I’ve been spending my time working out angles and finally finding a use for those wing mirrors, I have become very familiar with the driveway gate.

The gate is a massive wooden affair that serves to keep out the local cows, who love to pop round to the garden and run around the lawn. A lone sheep has also dropped by, as well as a very cute little bunny whom I’m trying to capture and force to become my pet. He will be mine…

Anyway, the gate is helpfully held in place by a big metal lever type thing that prevents it from swinging around in the wind and annoys the life out of me when I have to drive up to it in the morning, jump out my car, open it, jump back in, drive through and then jump back out again to close it. However, it *does* mean I see all the time and I thought I’d have no trouble picking it out of a gate line up. You know, should it ever be accused of murder, or something.

I open and close the gate, largely without thinking, every morning before work and every evening after. I consider myself to be *fairly* intelligent and, having spent a few years working as an inspector, fairly perceptive and alert. As it turns out, neither of those statements is actually true.

On a recent day off, I toddled down the drive, singing with the birds and enjoying the early morning North Wales sunshine*, in order to attempt to retrieve any mail that had been delivered to the box that sits outside the gate.    As I approached the gate, I noticed it had a massive lock on it.  
I stood for a good few seconds, staring at it as if it might move and then wondering why Les had installed it without talking to me first.    It was highly unusual for work to have gone on in the house that I wasn’t aware of.   Or had to pay for.   

On his arrival home from work that evening, I marched him down the drive and asked him if he noticed anything different.  As first, the look of sheer panic in his eyes alerted me to the fact that he thought I meant about me.   Clearly, he thought he was in trouble for not noticing I’d had my hair cut or something.    Tbh, that would never happen as I very rarely ever get it cut.    But that’s not the point I’m trying to make here.   He was confused. 

He then twigged that the gate had a rather large lock on it and told me he had also never seen it before.    This stumped me a little.   If *I* hadn’t seen it before and *he* hadn’t seen it before; where in the Hell had it come from?    Does North Wales  have some kind of special lock angel who floats round, securing people’s houses during the night?    It must have as that’s the only reasonable explanation, isn’t it?   It couldn’t possibly be that we’re both so stupid we’d completely failed to notice a large deadbolt on our gate for 6 WHOLE MONTHS.  Could it?   Hmmmm…

So, I still have the deadbolt on my gate, sitting there all shiny and completely unused.   I look at it often and ponder its origins in the way I expect archaeologists study early Egyptian artefacts that they’ve dug up in the scorching desert heat. 

I’ve considered, on a few occasions, asking my neighbour if she’s ever seen it before, but I don’t wish to look completely mad and I fear she already thinks that of me, anyway.   No reason to confirm her suspicions, is there?   Alternatively, I have thought about calling up the old owners and grilling them about it.   Again, I don’t want to look like a lunatic, so I haven’t. 

Anyway, I am utterly convinced (as it Les) that the deadbolt was NOT there before, but have no logical explanation to justify how it could possibly have just appeared.   I guess it will remain one of the great mysteries of Fach Gron.      It’s not the first time something odd has transpired since we moved into the cottage, so I fear it might be part of something much bigger….

I would ask if any of you ever found a deadbolt on your own garden gate, but I think I already know the answer, so I won’t.

Suz x

*None of that is true

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