Monday 15th February. 19.00
You may remember, dear reader, that I left you with something approaching that we writers like to call a cliff-hanger. Well, probably, in this case, more of a slope-hanger.
It has been a long two days and now I’m tired.
Still, I think, as David hands me the keys and I stroll up the hill, all I have to do is get the basics from the car, grab a meal and hit the sack.
The imposingly solid door to 4D swings silently open and I survey Project Manager Gloria’s (PMG) handiwork — I am well impressed.
I dump my first load, including my phone and laptop, pull the door closed behind me and return to the car.
My penthouse apartment — do I call it a flat or an apartment? Well, it’s Marbella, and so like Alderley Edge, it’s an apartment — has a lift to access it. Had there not been one, I would not have bought it. And here I’m not being lazy; one has to think of the rental market.
Depositing my second load outside the front door, I turn the key.
The door refuses to open. I try a combination of twists and turns — it has a double-function deadlock — try shoving it, try forcing the key… an action which I know will only lead to a heightening of hostilities.
Still it refuses to open.
My neighbour Andre, his wife and their daughter appear and try to assist by repeating the measures I have already tried. They are a delightful family, with the combined height of around 6’4”. Their daughter Bianca, in her mid-twenties, speaks a little English and informs me that there is a problem with the lock. Really? Can she ring a locksmith for me?
No, I reply, thanking her. I will call my Project Manager, and she can sort it out. I feel a mild, irrational annoyance, brought on by tiredness and frustration which is ratcheted up five hundred per cent at the realisation the my phone and laptop with Gloria and David’s numbers are sitting on the other side of the offending door.
The situation is beyond hope.
Locksmith, she suggests again? This time with a smile. Cynically I wonder if her boyfriend would be at the other end of her phone call.
Then an idea strikes me — La Villa Marbella, an exclusive group of mini apart-hotels has it’s central location a couple of minutes’ walk away. I am sure that David is known to them, and indeed I am right; within minutes the helpful reception-jockey has obtained his number, I have explained the situation to him, and have spoken to Gloria who agrees to meet me at the apartment with her locksmith in an hour.
I use the time constructively by eating the worst Spaghetti Bolognaise I had even encountered.
They arrive right on cue and it appears that I was closer to finding a solution to the problem than I had thought: extreme violence. One massive shoulder barge from the burly artisan, fag in mouth, and the door flies open.
‘Ah ahi,’ he says, ‘que es el problemo,’ or words to that effect, surveying the offending chunk of wood preventing the key from releasing the catch.
The solution: a piece of gaffer tape and just use the deadlock until tomorrow then he will come back and fix it properly.
I inflate my airbed with the very clever internal electric pump, lay out my sleeping bag together with a couple of pillows I’d borrowed from David and am asleep almost before my head hits them.