Whose keys are these keys?

Those keys are mine 🙂

Given that the Isle of Man is a place where keys, if used, are often merely a formality – actually getting all the keys to my new house was bit of a saga.

The Front Door Key

The vendor lives across (i.e. in the UK) and the advocates had some difficulty in getting in contact with him, so he didn’t post the signed contract until the day before we were due to complete – which meant that I agreed (should the signed contract not arrive) to do something called “cash for keys” which I was assured wasn’t as dodgy as “cash for questions”, because in fact I got the keys and they didn’t get the cash (it stayed in the advocate’s account until the contract arrived).

The vendor had a friend here who acted for him when there were tenants in the property, this friend (Mr B) is the one who advertised and showed me around the house – Mr B was away for several weeks in the Middle East but his wife was here and could supply the key when required.  So my advocate (Stacey) got the key and went to check it was indeed the correct key, the day before completion, only to discover that it didn’t fit the lock at all.

On the day of completion, the contract did arrive after all but we didn’t have the correct key – so then I had to agree to exchange without the keys with the understanding that it would be collected the following day from Mrs B (who now said she had found the correct key). The following day (which also happened to be my birthday) Stacey picked me up and we went off to get the key from Mrs B who told us that she was sure that this key was the correct key but that there were two keys and she could only find one.  Things didn’t look promising as the new key and the old key were identical but off we went to give it a go.

As were walking down the garden path Stacey hands me the key, I reach the front door, push down the handle, walk in and put the key in the lock in the inner door, unlock it and walk in! Stacey follows me chuckling – unaware that there were two doors, she’d been foiled by an already unlocked lock 🙂  Dad always calls that “the one that got Houdini”.

The electricity meter key

Trying to read the electricity meter started with me stating “That number looks like a pound sign”, followed by “Why does it say – insert key here?”.  The meter was a ‘pay as you go’ key one and as there is a £20 deposit taken for the key, it had not been left behind by the tenants.  Fortunately the MEA were really good and despite it being a Saturday had a guy out in 45mins to reset the meter and give me a new key.

The keys for the windows

The keys for the French window and back door were in the house but there were no keys to be found for any of the windows – the previous owner’s tenants must have lost them.  A couple of days after I got the house I went to the locksmiths on Windsor Road and they gave me a bunch of keys to try.  It’s rather heartwarming that a locksmith, whose livelihood is based on paranoia and distrust, just hands me a set of keys without requiring a deposit or even ID!  Sadly, none of the locksmith’s keys would fit, most were far too big. Also, as I went round all the windows I realised that the keys must have been missing for quite a while as the kitchen and bathroom handles had had their locks drilled out and the one in the 2nd bedroom (which was also locked) was a completely different handle.

Odd Window Handle

So I decided it was probably simpler (and possibly even cheaper) to replace all the handles. I took one off and measured it and ordered 7 new handles on eBay for a grand total of £18.30. Mr B came round the following weekend to try his window keys and managed to unlock the locked handle for me so I can unscrew it.

What should have been a simple job, which I planned to do in half an hour one night on the way to the pub, had me spitting fire after 1.5 hours and only three handles later. Everything that I didn’t imagine going wrong did go wrong; screw covers that wouldn’t come off, new screws with uneven threads (that one was especially frustrating as it was the first handle and I thought I must have measured wrongly), damaged screw heads!  Ugh – so I went to the pub.  Next evening – it was like I’d dreamt it.  So we went from:

Original window handle

To this:

New window handle

Much better!  And they all came with new keys so I now have keys for everything…. oh except the actual front door (the one which Stacey couldn’t unlock) but that’s not important (or at least the insurance company haven’t made me state that it’s lockable!).

Original Floorplans

With the aid of my trusty laser I’ve created my own floorplans (using FloorPlanner.com). The plans are drawn to scale but the measurements on them aren’t necessarily accurate (I didn’t have the original measurements to hand so I measured the plans).

I’m pretty sure (apart from the outbuildings) the layout of the house is the original layout as it was built – mainly because the same weird skirting board is everywhere.

This is the original downstairs:

Original Floorplan Downstairs

This the original upstairs:

Original Floorplan Upstairs

and this is the house within the plot (showing the shed, oil tank and tree):

Original Footprint and Plot