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Neighbours were the key to my problem

PUBLISHED: 16:13 12 June 2006 | UPDATED: 11:00 22 October 2010

EMMA LEE

Neighbours . . . everybody needs good neighbours, so the song goes. And if there's anyone knows how true that is, it's me.

Neighbours . . . everybody needs good neighbours, so the song goes. And if there's anyone knows how true that is, it's me.

A recent experience - probably best described as a 'traumarama' - has also taught me that mother does, indeed, know best.

Some friends were coming to stay so I was attempting to do a Nigella and prove that I could be a domestic goddess.

Housework and I are, if I'm honest, fair-weather friends. Despite a love of doing the washing-up, Anthea Turner, Perfect Housewife I am not and a top-to-bottom scrub of my abode was a wee bit overdue.

The bath was squeaky clean, the fluffy white towels were aired and the bed sheets were summer fresh.

Everything was going perfectly according to plan. Then disaster struck.

Somehow I can't imagine that Nigella would be daft enough lock herself out of her pad without any shoes on.

I was stood on the doorstep shaking the dust out of a rug when I heard the thud of the door slamming behind me.

That was quickly followed by a slightly sick feeling in my stomach, when, after a bit of futile door rattling I realised that I couldn't get back in.

My key hadn't somehow magically transported itself into my pocket when I wasn't looking and I was phoneless too.

Suddenly a conversation I had with my mum a few months ago replayed in my head. She was telling me that it might be a sensible idea to leave a spare key with my auntie in case of an emergency such as this.

In the words of Homer Simpson - d'oh!

I knocked on the door of a neighbour who kindly phoned a locksmith for me. But when we discovered that the cost of letting me back in would run to three figures there was only one option - my open bedroom window and a ladder.

It turned out to be a good way to get to know people. Another neighbour, who kindly loaned me a pair of shoes, took me round to her friend's house where we interrupted her dinner party preparations to borrow a ladder.

Then there was the question of who would be scaling it.

Being the sort of person who very much likes to keep two feet on the ground it could never be me. My last attempt at heights was when, behaving very out of character, I climbed the Sydney Harbour Bridge and had to be rescued by a handsome outdoorsy type after my legs refused to move on the way down.

There was no reply at the first door we knocked on.

Then in the distance, wearing white overalls, I spied a likely candidate.

After doing our best impressions of damsels in distress (actually, I wasn't pretending - the distress was real) luckily he agreed, and within seconds I was reunited with my sofa and enjoying a much-needed nice cup of tea and a sit down.

I think I might need to have a bit of a break from housework while I recover from the ordeal.

Still, as another saying goes, every cloud has a silver lining. At least this week's column has been pretty easy to write.


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