A Ridiculous Story.
or: How I broke into a house and how I broke out of a house.
2 November 2017
I was like this:-- Wednesday afternoon at home and I had been pottering in the man cave a few hours. Dogs had been tied up for a few hours near the cave and started into whining; Bored dogs.
Ok you buggers, "who wants a game"? Woof bark woof etc etc.
So I go and retrieve the large plastic lid from an old paint pail which serves as a large frisbee, let dogs off their leads and we walk out back into a spacious reserve. The house windows were mostly open, but I locked the front door as a precaution as we left.
Half an hour later once the pooches were puffing vigorously the three of us wandered back home. I tied them up and then pulling my keys from my pocket, went to the front door to unlock and get a drink.
Oh oh, the key would not turn the lock. Tried every which way of putting it in but the lock refused to move.
What to do? Well, I had a ladder handy which would not reach comfortably to any of the windows that were open. Now, these windows are aluminium and mounted above a fixed glass window. The opening part is hinged at the top so that the bottom of the window tends to almost close itself due to gravity. Inside the bottom of the hinged window are two lever latches. (The house is on 4 ft high piles so the bottom of the windows are about 9 ft above ground level)
On the side of the house is a 1500 gallon water tank, the edge of which is about 3 ft from the nearest accessible window and 3 ft below it. Using the ladder I mounted the water tank and leaned across till I could lift the bottom of the hinged window open such that I could get my head and shoulders over it's edge and my head inside. The bottom rigid part of the window is of course very thin and quite sharp. Inside the window, the lounge curtain is half closed and 4 ft below that is a lounge suite.
I heaved myself over and started to wriggle inside. Oh oh again; my bootlace hooked into one of the window latches, closing it on my legs. Shit! This was like being caught half way into a hinaki. After some lengthy struggling in a near vertical and very uncomfortable upside down position, I managed to kick free of the window latch. However, by this time I was inverted and sideways, falling down headfirst towards the couch. Bugger; stuck again, this time tangled in the curtains. More wriggling --something had to give. Brrrt, oops again; all the curtain hooks gave way and I descended rapidly in a totally uncontrolled way wrapped in curtain, down onto the couch.
Whew, inside at last. Now to try the door lock from the inside. Oh oh again; --where are the bloody keys? A rapid search located keys in the middle of the wrecked curtain and I proceeded to the door. Would the lock turn from the inside? Noooo such luck!
Oh well, lets go to the back door in the wash house and unlock that. Oh oh--- different lock and I don't have a key for that one. Search the house for spare back door key. Found about a dozen keys; none fitted. Humph!
Alright then, lets find some tools and so I can get pins out of the door hinges. Another mad search ensues, because I could not get out the window again safely to get tools from my shed. Finally found a couple of screwdrivers and levered the three pins up out of the hinges. (Should be a simple matter now to use screwdrivers to lever the hinged side of the door inwards and open up--he thought) Noooo again! Despite making lots of crush mark in the mouldings next to the door hinges, and on top and bottom of the dammed door, it wouldn't budge. Why not?
(In the meantime, the dogs could hear obvious sounds of breaking and entering from the house and so proceeded to tell the whole darned neighbourhood. This lasted until the whole episode reached it's conclusion I might add. I was constantly wondering when the cops would turn up)
Orrr; the main hasp of the lock is in its snug recess and will not allow any play in the door to open the opposite way from which it was intended---Duh.
Kick the bloody thing down? No, better not; have another think--
Only possibility would be to somehow lever the hasp. Maybe if I take the door handle off? OK; grab screwdriver and remove the four screws around the handle mounting plate; remove handle and plate; retry key; no, still doesn't work. Push, pull, wriggle and fiddle. Try key again. This time, although key doesn't work, when I pull it out, a small broken rusty spring comes our with it! Where's that from he wonders? Door handle is now floppy; Oh, it must be the spring to return the door handle to its position when door is opened; but why did it come out?
Tried key again but still no luck. Thinks, that spring must have flicked a tumbler into a wrong position. Hmm, I'll have to try picking the lock. Long story short; that didn't work either!
Last option-- try to dig smallest screwdriver between the door and the jamb and into the brass lock hasp / tongue and gently lever it sliding back into the door locking mechanism. This worked; using two screwdrivers, one to stab and move the tongue a millimetre, the other to hold it by friction while stabbing the tongue again, and so on. This worked; hooray!
Opened the door a fraction in case it tried to lock itself again when I wasn't looking, and reinserted the three hinge pins so the door wouldn't fall off.
Pushed the hasp / tongue fully home and reassembled the door handle and mounting ; then tried the key. All good!
There are two return springs for the door handles, one of which had broken and fallen amongst the tumblers and jammed while I initially locked the door before exercising the dogs.
Alls well that ends well; apart from the damaged door mouldings and curtain of course.
Now to face the music !