AT work, the subject of being locked out or locked in somewhere came up, when my colleague Richard confessed: “It was Christmas eve, and travelling from Troon to Glasgow, I called into the garage to put oil in my car, but...”

According to Richard, he forgot how to open the bonnet, so leaped out of his car to check the passenger side, when both doors locked, and immediately he realised his car keys were on the driver’s seat.

But, luckily for Richard, the boot hadn’t shut properly.

So, he opened it, put the back seats down and crawled through the boot to reach the car keys.

“I could easily have been stealing the car,” Richard seemed surprised.

“But nobody batted an eyelid.”

However, as Richard is over 6ft tall and a bit like Basil Fawlty, I reckoned the sight of his long gangly legs dangling out of the boot wouldn’t exactly look as if the heist of the year was taking place!

However, Richard’s luck didn’t improve any, because next day, having left his house in Troon again to do his round of Christmas visits, he returned home to discover he was now locked out – because his key was faulty and wouldn’t unlock the door.

Richard had a choice. He could either leave his partner and friend on the freezing doorstep, or they could accompany him on the 75-mile round trip to his partner’s flat in Glasgow to retrieve his spare house key.

Apparently, their Christmas cheer had diminished somewhat, and it took more than a sherry or two to defrost the atmosphere.

Following all the festive shenanigans, my good pal Mae called.

“Hi Janice, you’ve not been in my flat for years, so why don’t I pick you up and we can have a few glasses of wine?”

“Em…. That sounds lovely Mae.” I thought it would be good to get out of the house and relax after such a hectic period.

“Well, you’ve had a busy, stressful year and I reckon you could chill at my place for a couple of hours,” she offered.

Friday evening and Mae tooted outside my house and off we set.

Standing in her kitchen, she poured me a glass of wine and gestured for me to head into her comfy living room.

“Mmmmm... your place is lovely Mae,” I complimented.

“So relaxing and cosy.”

The telly was on in the background as we chatted constantly, and after another wine I said: “I’ll just nip to your toilet.”

However, when I attempted to get out of Mae’s cosy living room and into the hall, the handle on her glass door wouldn’t opened.

Shoogle. Shoogle. Shoogle. I tried my best.

“Em, Mae… I think your door handle is broken.”

“Yeah, I know it is.”

“You know?” I screeched.

“Yeah, I know,” she admitted nonchalantly. “I probably should have mentioned it.”

At this stage it was a bit of a laugh as I assessed the situation before asking: “Do you have a screwdriver?”

“Oh, yes,” Mae replied.

I now had a glimmer of hope of getting to the toilet on time.

“But... it’s in the hall cupboard.”

My pal pointed through the glass door.

“Well, that’s no blinkin use.”

I could feel myself getting slightly anxious because I really did need the toilet, and it wasn’t just the door handle shoogling anymore!

“Could you get me a knife from the kitchen then?”

Mae scurried away and returned with a knife, and after much puffing and panting I managed to get the four painted-over screws out and jimmy the handle from the door. However, the nib part of the handle was still in the door, which meant it still wouldn’t open.

“Mae, do you have a paint scraper?”

I reckoned I could push it in the tiny gap and flatten the nib somehow and release the door.

“Yes, I’ve got a paint scraper.” Mae sounded positive, but then added fuel to the fire.

“But... it’s in the hall cupboard.”

I was now getting ratty and couldn’t think how to escape, until...

“Mae, has anyone else got a spare key who could come and get us out?”

“Yes, I could phone my daughter,” she suggested.

“At least she’s not in the bloody hall cupboard,” I muttered sarcastically.

But next, yet again, Mae pointed through the glass door.

“My mobile’s on the hall table.”

Argh... Desperation kicked in and I grabbed the kitchen knife and started hacking at the wooden door frame until I finally released the door.

Sweat was now pouring off me as I burst into the toilet shouting: “Don’t worry Mae, I won’t shut the bathroom door!”

Quick as a flash she replied: “Oh, don’t worry Janice, that door disnae shut anyway.”

Unaware that I was leaving even more stressed than when I arrived, Mae suggested: “Great night Janice, we could make this a regular thing.”

But as I climbed into the taxi, I realised there was a reason I hadn’t been in my pal’s flat for a number of years!