Real life

The menopause lost my car keys

My mother knew it but she didn’t like to say

11 July 2015

9:00 AM

11 July 2015

9:00 AM

Here is what I thought happened. I thought that as I tided my store room at the stables I put my car key in a boot for safe-keeping. I had been reorganising all the tons of horse stuff I have accumulated over the years, from rugs to bridles to brushes, numnahs, girths, lunge reigns, lead reigns, head collars, spray soaps, first-aid kits, boot polish, haynets, travel boots, exercise boots, tendon boots, over-reach boots, stable bandages, tail bandages, rosettes, buckets, scoops, fly masks …you get the picture. I was having a clear-out.

And afterwards, as I prepared to leave the yard, I had a crystal clear memory of looking into one of my walking boots, which had been standing on the side since I took them off to put on my long riding boots, and thinking, ‘Good, there’s my key, where I put it for safe-keeping.’ And picking up the walking boots, I went to the car.

The spaniel was sitting in the dog cage watching me. She saw everything but unfortunately cannot tell her side of the story. I thought I took the key out of the walking boot and, standing by the car boot, held it in my hand as I contemplated the state of the Volvo.

Now, the XC90 is not a pretty sight. The front passenger footwell is ‘the bin’, into which I throw empty drink bottles. The back seat is where I put all my jodhpurs and T-shirts along with packs of fizzy mineral water and the tyre inflator. The boot is mainly taken up by Cydney’s massive dog cage, around the sides of which I squeeze riding boots, riding hats, crops, dog leashes and various riding jackets.

This is London living, you understand. I have one small understairs cupboard at home and so the bulk of my tackle has to travel with me. The Volvo is a storage unit on wheels, the equivalent of what the Big Yellow would charge me £70 a month for.

So I was standing at the open boot looking at all this clobber, and, in my tidying mood, I made the mistake of picking up one jacket, refolding it and putting it back somewhere else.

The next thing I knew I was ripping the inside of the car to bits and starting again. With the key in my hand, or possibly a pocket, I began clearing out the rubbish, re-arranging the boots and shoes, rolling up dog towels and so on.

Twenty minutes later, hair standing on end, I straightened up and thought, ‘Jumping Jiminy! Where’s the key?’ It wasn’t in my hand, or my pocket, or handbag, or anywhere else I looked as I threw myself around in a frenzy. After half an hour searching, I ended up unpacking every single item from the car and laying it out on the grass as if this were a crime scene.

The other girls at the stable yard came out and did what they could to help but I was upside down, shining my iPhone between the seats and clawing at the carpet. At one point I found wedged in the seat rails a Snickers bar I’d bought three weeks before and lost after leaving it on top of a sweatshirt on the back seat.

‘There it is!’ I shouted in delight, getting everyone excited for a second until they realised I was munching a chocolate bar.

‘Ooh, this is nice,’ I said, as I buried myself back under the seats again.

An hour later, I was still at it. People were getting worried. Word got out. Phone calls were made. A key-finding collie called Eric was mustered and ordered to search. He sniffed excitedly and ran round in circles.

‘Are you sure you had it at the car?’ someone said. ‘Yes, yes,’ I insisted.

I called the RAC, only to be told my policy doesn’t cover lost keys. I sat on the grass and meditated. I knelt and prayed no fewer than three times to Saint Anthony and Saint Jude, which marked somewhat of a performance low on their part. Finally, I decided to call my mother. She said, ‘Go back into the stable yard and look at the last place you were.’

‘But I left with the key in my hand!’

‘I don’t care. Just do it. It will be there. It won’t be anywhere near where you think it is.’

‘How do you know?’

‘Trust me. I know.’

So I went back to my store room and stood staring. And quite a propos of nothing, I casually opened the drawer of a plastic storage unit and on the very top, put there for obvious safe-keeping, was the key. I rang my mother. I knew how she knew. ‘It’s the menopause, isn’t it?’

My mother sighed. ‘I didn’t like to say.’

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  • ADW

    I guess this falls into the category of first world problems. But thanks for sharing all the same.

    • Faulkner Orkney

      You’re welcome to link to some of the gloomier third-world websites if you want to read about goat rickets and endless toil in the beating sun – for the rest of us, let us wallow in our fripperies.

      • ADW

        It was a gentle joke, actually, I like reading Melissa

  • Fruitcake

    I think they are ‘reins’……

    • Michael Ferguson

      Yes, and isn’t it ‘tidied’ with two i’s? Melissa, really!

  • pobjoy

    There is a subtle hint here of linkage between papacy and paederasty. Just in case we weren’t aware.

    • David Booth.

      Far too subtle for me!

      • pobjoy

        Change your optician, then.

        • David Booth.

          Explain it to me, if you can.

          • pobjoy

            When you’re older.

          • David Booth.

            Err yes, I thought so.

          • pobjoy

            What did you think?

          • David Booth.

            What did I think?
            I think you’re an unemployed idiot, with access to a computer (which is not yours) and you have too much time on your hands (see point one)

          • pobjoy


            That’s not what you thought. You’re too chicken to say what you thought.

          • David Booth.

            Mind reading now are we pobjoy or are you having hallucinations again?

          • pobjoy

            ‘Mind reading now’

            It’s not hard, with posters of your sort.

          • David Booth.

            I’ll leave you to your misery pobjoy (is that the name on your benefit book?) whilst I’m off to work, which I suspect isn’t something that impacts on your time.

          • pobjoy


          • Faulkner Orkney

            I assume it’s a jolly jest based on the made-up word ‘paederasty’. Something to do with feet and pastry, perhaps.
            Pobjoy is evidently very, very clever and we should just be glad to swim in such a wake…

          • pobjoy

            ‘Pobjoy is evidently very, very clever’

            What a wise judge! So very true. But then, that’s mostly Thatcher’s doing, so poor pobjoy can take scarcely any credit.

            Once upon a time, when men were men, the press, when it mentioned the subject of child abuse, which was seldom indeed, used the word paederasty, or paederasts. Then, overnight, a miracle occurred. The word ‘paederast’ was, by some unknown means, replaced with ‘paedophile’, and used far more frequently, as in a frenzy of some sort. Now everyone is a paedophile, or should be. It means one who is friendly to children. This was a quite inappropriate word to use of paederasts, whose intentions are not at all friendly, as they have sexual intentions with (dis)respect to children.

          • David Booth.

            A very sad man is pobjoy.

  • Liberty

    Women need baggy pants with pockets. I always put my keys, change [notes in hip pocket] and phone in my trouser pocket and transfer them when I change my trousers so they are never lost. Women [I have four daughters plus wives so I am used to women], on the other hand put them down if their handbag isn’t to hand and they then put the handbag down and lose that too. That too is why they so often do not hear their phones. Mind you, with such a chaotic life as Ms Kite, losing things is understandable so no need to blame the menopause.

  • Good lord, you’re slightly younger than I am and you’re blaming a memory lapse on menopause (which you have presumably not been through, menopause being defined as one entire year without a period)?

    I was with your mother about remember the last place, but your uterus’s workings has nothing to do with it.

    I can’t wait for menopause, myself. It will be a lovely liberation, when I am like a man just living in my own self and not having a monthly reminder that the world wants me to live for someone else.

    The day I cease to ‘deliver’: YEEHAH!

  • trace9

    ‘a propos’ – One word when without the Froggie accent, dearie. You’re really almost quite gone now…

  • Ann Clare comino

    Re June 2015 real life Melissa kite
    I couldn’t believe that I had the exact same experience with a dr