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The Flat Cap on ... Keys

Today The Flat Cap has been looking at keys as well as paying a visit to a local branch of Timpsons to find out more about the various types of keys and their history. According to some religious scholars keys came into being after God banished Adam from the Garden of Eden. Eve, Adam’s wife, was concerned that Adam might try to sneak back in and pinch some of her apples. So she asked God for a gate she could lock to keep him out. However other scholars argue that keys were only invented after Adam and Eve had their first two sons Cain and Abel. Like all boys they used to fight over who had the most toys, largest CD collection and so on. So Adam asked God if he could put locks on the boys’ bedrooms and that’s when keys first came into being. A man in the queue at Timpsons said he was told at Sunday School that Cain murdered Abel after he found his brother going through his sock drawer uninvited.

The ancient pharaohs were buried with keys to their tombs just in case someone had made a mistake when incarcerating them. As none of the pharaohs ever managed to get out anyway, these keys became known as skeleton keys. Keys and locks also take their names from universities – (Yale), fish – (Chubb) and circus owner Billy Smart whom the Smart key is named after. Mike Oldfield is rumoured to have dithered a fair bit over whether to call his best selling album “Tubular Keys” or “Tubular Bells” before finally settling on the latter. Obviously as there are musical keys it would have made more sense to go for the former. Nevertheless the record sold in its millions and Oldfield was able to buy lots of motorbikes with his share of the profits. The album cover for “Tubular Bells” features a dented triangular bell, although to be honest it looks more like a pimped up car exhaust.

Perhaps the most annoying key-rings are those you can buy in souvenir shops, or at seaside resorts. They bear the holder’s name usually followed by some endearing personality trait, and accompanied by a particular skill or area of expertise. For instance you will have a key ring that says, “Sandra – warm hearted and affectionate. Makes excellent pies and pastries.” Or there’s, “George – seeker of truth and fair minded. Good at hanging wallpaper.” Not only do these key-rings give their owners an over inflated opinion of themselves it also encourages them to try out their superpowers without any knowledge or formal training. Consequently Sandra’s children turn up at school with Cornish pasties that weigh more than their text books, and George’s partner has to get in a proper painter and decorator because he’s put the bedroom wallpaper on upside down.

There is a Ceremony of the Keys which involves the formal locking of the gates of the Tower of London. Despite having taken place for almost seven hundred years (since 1340) a sentry has to bark out the words, “Halt, who comes there?” and every night for almost seven hundred years the Chief Yeoman Warder replies, “The keys”. Then the sentry guy asks, “Whose keys?” and the Chief Yeoman gives the response, “Queen Elizabeth’s keys” (or the name of whoever happens to be the monarch at the time). This is enough for the sentry to give the Yeoman bloke the nod with a, “Pass Queen Elizabeth’s keys” and a, “all’s well”.

Well after all this time you’d think the people on duty would know what’s going on, who is walking towards them, and whose keys they are. It would save a lot of time and dressing up if they employed “Securicor” or some other company on minimum wage to do the locking up. Then the conversation might go something like:

The Flat Cap on Sofas

“Is that you Dave?”

“Yeah, it’s me Pete?”

“How’s the missus / did you see last night’s match / what have you got on your sandwiches tonight?” and so on.

“She’s has been having problems with her feet again / yeah I thought a draw was a fair result / tongue and piccalilli” and so on. “Ok I best be getting on mate, this tower won’t lock up itself you know.”

“You’re right there pal, see you tomorrow.”

“No I’ve got to take the dog to the vets.”

“Ok, maybe Thursday then.”

And off they would go about their separate ways.

Not only would it be less to remember, but it would likely save the government a few quid which could be put to better use building hospitals or something.

The Flat Cap spoke to Trevor, who was having a new caravan key cut in Timpsons, and he was able to provide some amazing key related facts:

  • The Cross Keys pub on the high street sells outstanding beers and ciders, as well as delivering great home made food and exceptional service

  • Singer Alicia Keys was born with a different surname, but nobody knows exactly why she changed it

  • Steve Jobs was the most famous key note speaker ever

  • Richard Keys got binned off from his job at Sky Sports for making derogatory comments about the female assistant referee Sian Massey

  • People in the UK misplace their keys an average of three times a week

  • Mrs. Thomas from the fishmongers once holidayed in the Florida Keys

  • “The Black Keys” are a popular garage rock band, and because there are only two of them they could easily fit into a very modestly sized garage

  • Famous keyboards player Rick Wakeman loves nothing more than to spend his weekends at car boot sales rummaging for bargains

  • There are over 4 billion articles which begin, “the key to happiness is….”’ The majority of them are written by unhappy people convinced that this is their best way of earning tons of easy cash, so they can retire early

  • The Cross Keys pub on the high street is run by Trevor’s brother – the man who supplied all of the above facts

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