I popped over to see the porters this afternoon because a micro-filter I ordered on Wednesday evening hadn't arrived and I was wondering if they had signed for it but forgotten to tell me (they hadn't; it just hasn't arrived yet).
As I stepped out of the lift on the way back to the flat, my keys fell out of my hands, slipped through the gap and landed in the pit at the bottom of the lift shaft. ARGHHH!!!!
This is not an immediate problem (I'm using the spare access fob and keys now) but it's a pain in the neck. I returned to the porters and asked if they had access to the lift shaft. Unsurprisingly, only the lift maintenance company do and Otis - get this - did their annual inspection yesterday. So only 364 days to go until they return :-(
Now I am not the kind of person to give in and if Otis can't help me then I'll help myself.
So, let's consider the facts:
- The keys are at the bottom of the lift shaft, which is about two metres lower than the ground floor.
- The gap through which they fell is about three centimetres wide
- I have no access to the pit
- An analysis of the spare set of keys suggests that neither they nor the entry fob are magnetic.
- The key ring may be magnetic (the spare set's key ring is but I changed the key ring on the stranded set which means I don't know for sure)
- If I shine a torch through the gap, I can see the keys directly below. Apart from the keys, all I can see is some dust and lots of red elastic bands.... Tsk, tsk Royal Mail.
So, what are my options?
- Lower a long, thin stick with a hook on the end through the gap and attempt to capture the keys.
- Problem: I may push the keys further out of reach
- Lower a long, thin stick with glue on the end and attempt to get the keys to stick to it
- Problem: knowing my luck, I'll end up gluing the stick to the side of the lift and or sealing the doors shut or something
- Lower a long, thin stick with molten wax on the end and touch it to the keys. Wait for the wax to set before lifting them out
- Problem: actually, this may not be as foolish as it sounds...
- The wax idea but with jelly
- Problem: I don't have any jelly, silly
- Lower a long, thin stick with double-sided sticky tape on the end. Attempt to capture the keys.
- I'll probaby capture the dust long before I capture any keys.
- Lower a magnet on a string. Capture the keys. Reel them in
Given the options, it strikes me that the magnet approach is best.
And this is where I am tearing my hair out... I can't find one for love or money!!!
I started by searching the flat:
- There is one in each of my nice speakers. I don't want to ruin my nice speakers.
- There is one in my guitar's practise amp (aside: what role is "practise" playing in that sentence? Is it a verb? An adjective? I do hope I shouldn't have spelled it with a 'c'). I don't want to break my amplifier.
- There are three magnets in the bathroom cabinet. I tried prising one out with a knife. I almost cut off my finger :-(
- I thought about wrapping some metal-cored garden twine around a screwdriver and plugging it into the mains as a make-shift electromagnet before deciding against and realising that I couldn't remember whether an electromagnet needed AC or DC.
Realising that there were no useable magnets at home, I walked to Canary Wharf. The staff at Robert Dyas couldn't help. Waitrose had none. Neither did Tesco or Marks and Spencer or Boots or anyone else. Arghhh!
So, readers, I implore the entrepreneurial amongst you: open a magnet shop. For the love of all that is decent in this world, we need more magnet shops!