Often, the place where your child goes to university is a long way away; in order to deliver them there you will have driven several hundred miles using only your wing mirrors because the car is so full of belongings that the rear-view shows only a teetering heap of books about to fall on your child’s head.
So when you get there, you want to be able to pick up the key, and you want the key to work.
In early January, having driven to Edinburgh we called at the office where Pascoe had arranged to pick up his keys only to discover that it was so soon after Hogmanay that nobody had turned up. It was raining stair rods as Pascoe ran from office to office.
Finally he demanded that the accommodation department pay for a B&B for him until the key was supplied. Magically somebody agreed to break into the office and extract his key.
When we dropped Perran off at Bristol in the heat of July, he picked up the key all right, yet when he tried to open the door, the lock revolved but nothing happened. The office was now closed.
Low on options, we stood on the baking doorstep with each family member in turn rotating the key. Perhaps one of us had magic hands?
Then housemate Juliette arrived. Would her key do better? Nope. Round it went without catching on anything.
After a couple of hours of phone calls and championship relay grumbling, we located the landlord and he came along.
If he had complimented us on our sun tans we would have punched him.
His key didn’t work either, so he broke in. It was disconcertingly easy.
For a moment, we were glad to be in the house, but the pleasure was fleeting. It turned out Perran’s room was on the second floor and that was where all his things needed to be. All his winter clothes are now in there, so let’s hope his key works in September.