Well the week ended on a strange and slightly sour note. Had a call out, quite local, to a lockout, mechanism had failed, jammed solid. Anyway the customer asked me to go ahead an open the door, so I spread the door and popped it open. Sure enough the gear box had failed totally and needed replacing, gave the customer a price and he asked me to go ahead and fix it . As I didn’t have one onboard I phoned a colleague who had one, arranged to meet him and went off to pick it up. When I got back I was greeted by a grumpy woman who informed me that she was the landlady and wasn’t prepared to have me repair the lock as she could do it herself. A bit bemused I said that’s ok the its just the cost of letting your tenant in and ill be on my way but you do understand that you cant lock the door. She then informed me that she wasn’t going to pay for that either. I said, well someone is as i’m going nowhere until its paid for, anyway to cut a long story short the tenant paid the bill, not sure if she understood but she’d already paid the cost of fitting the new part in conjunction with me letting the tenant in, so all she had to pay for was the part which she will still have to buy and then pay someone else to fit, so paying twice for the fitting. Talk about cutting your nose off to spite your Face.
A quiet start to the week again but got to the afternoon and just made a nice cuppa when the phone rings . Its a call out to Andover, mech failure on a conservatory door. Quickly jump in the van and off, arriving 1hour 10 mins later to find a jammed up door, at least they hadn’t had a go at it themselves. So I spread the door to open, stripped out the mech overhauled changed the cylinder and had it apart from the latch running again. Then got a call out to Hedge End, lost keys, headed off over there arrived snapped the cylinder to gain access, fitted new cylinder with 3 new keys and was on my way home. Had tea, got the girls to bed, put the kettle on and the phone rings, here we go all a bit de ja vous for me, call out to Ringwood, lock out, nice and easy though so was on my way home within 15 mins to that well earned cup of tea.
Perhaps one of the worst things we can have as a mobile locksmith is an over abundance of tea and coffee, whilst very welcome and, on a cold day, very warming, it can be quite a burden when in the van on the road. You can imagine, 5 minutes after leaving the customers house, your either in the middle of town or on a duel carriageway, with no where to stop , and your wondering why oh why did I have that cup of tea, finally after adjusting yourself in the seat for the umpteenth time you decide there’s nothing else for it but to pull over and climb in the back of the van with that empty bottle of Fanta. Relief and you can crack on to the next lock fully restored until of course the next tea or coffee comes out and the whole cycle starts all over again.
Well we’re coming to the end of another winter and I for one am glad to see the back of it. Bring on the blue skies and that warm yellow ball. Whilst it wasn’t a particularly icy winter, it still brought forth the usual amount of upvc doors jamming , or locks feeling unusually stiff. This usually resulted in for upvc doors, just an adjustment and in mortice or rim cylinders just an overhaul and some lubrication, being as we all know the problems winter brings with locks, why dont we get the lubrication and overhaul done in the autumn and then again in the spring as this would cut out most of the problems and save ourselves an awful lot of money.
During the course of the day, visiting customers on a call out, I see locks and handles treated in all manners of ways. For example, yesterday I was called out to a lady locked out in Weymouth, apparently she’d been locked out all night but didn’t call a locksmith as it was more expensive in the evening, quite understandable if you have somewhere to stay. Anyway when I got there I asked the lady for the key put it in the door and turned the key it turned both ways left and right, the customer thought that the snib button was down but actually I, gave the door a little push and low and behold it opened. There was nothing wrong and the door could have been unlocked the night before, I maintained the lock and left a bemused customer wondering why she hadn’t given the door a little push the night previous. On other occasions I see customers Wrenching the door handles, on a multi point locking system as if there very lives depend on it, and are quite amazed as to how easy it operates after i’ve left. The point i’m trying to make is that locks and handles are quite robust and will take a reasonable amount of pushing and pulling but if you get to the point where you are wrenching the hell out of it or nearly snapping your key off in the lock then there is something wrong and for goodness sake get a locksmith in before you cause any real and expensive damage.
Its been a bit of a strange old week, when its come to jobs that is, Monday 5 call outs ranging from Winchester to Totton then Burley and back to Poole. Tuesday nothing all day then 3 all in or around evening so late finish oh plus a call out ,last of the day to Salisbury to an address that didn’t exist, so a wasted trip and diesel down the pan. Wednesday and 4 call outs mostly in or around Salisbury which seems to be coming my second home but again last of the day I was called out, quite a distance to Sturminster Newton, to a lock out on a mortice and British Standard night latch, pain in the bum, managed to open both the locks and got the customer in reasonable time but a late finish. Thursday was just the 1 call out to Ferndown and a mechanism failure. A quick change of cylinder solved that problem and home for tea, night off . Friday started early as I had a further works job booked in for 9 0’clock in Salisbury, arrived on time stripped out the old mechanism, went to fit the new one and low and behold they delivered the wrong part, so put it back together ordered the new part for delivery on Monday and left for another job in Ferndown. All in all it has been a strange old week one minute you think that its going to be a good week and then its all quiet and nothing.
A good day yesterday with call outs in Colden Common, Ringwood, Salisbury twice and then a call out to SP4 Durrington to a lockout on a canal boat, a straight forward lock out on a yale. I set off on the 45 mile drive, where it had been arranged for me to meet the customer at a Travel Lodge who would then take me to the boat, looking back I thought it a little odd, didn’t remember a stretch off river their capable of taking a house boat. I arrived at the post code given and was in the middle of a housing estate, no Travel Lodge anywhere, I phoned back the call centre ,where the job had been called in from, and they put me through to the customer. On asking the customer where abouts she was it soon transpired that I was not in the right place, not the right town, not even the right county, I had been given the post code of SP4 for Salisbury when the real post code was ST4 for Stoke on Trent, not my area at all and a 90 mile round trip wasted in the dark to boot, got home at 9.40 a little bit miffed.
Big rush on. Called out to a mech problem in Eastleigh to arrive within the hour, jumped in the van and was on my way quick sharp. everything was going well, when I reached the Southampton turn off I was over taken by another lock smith, nothing strange in this I just noticed his van. When I came off at the Eastleigh junction there was the same van 2 cars up, I had to make a left turn and the lock smith in front did the same, this was beginning to get a bit freaky, he then turned right and I lost him as I turned right 2 roads later. I arrived at my customers house and had started work when the same van pulled up outside. I asked the home owner if she had called another lock smith, she had but had cancelled him as he couldn’t get there till the afternoon. The other lock smith drove off. Just a little lesson in making sure I leave straight away for call outs, could have lost the job for the sake of a cup of tea or some other trivial matter!
Not the best of weather to be out and about driving especially across the jurassic coastline to West Bay . I received a call out there yesterday to change a jammed cylinder, which I finished in double quick time. Christchurch was my next destination, where a couple were having a problem with a mortice lock, I changed the sash lock and upgraded it to a British Standard ERA Fortress, bringing the property into line with current insurance companies stipulations. Home for tea , then received a call out to Bitterne in Southampton, for a mechanism failure . I identified the problem, secured the property and was on my way home in under an hour, lots of driving and lots of rain, day over hooray.
Not a lot happened, today in the lock world, my glasses finally bit the dust after being destroyed by a customers clumsy left foot resulting in a trip to the opticians in Bournemouth to replace them.