The Key(s) to a Successful Marriage

By alison - August 29, 2008 (Updated: November 27, 2014)

Thursday night – 11 pm

Location: The sidewalk outside our flat

Andrew (looking slightly concerned): Um, you have your keys right…?

Me: blank stare…What?… Noooo…

Andrew: Shit…

Earlier that evening:

I look at the tiny, impractical (but very cute) evening bag I recently purchased in San Francisco. This will go perfectly with my glasses and pretentious red cape, I think to myself. I then look at my keychain. It has more decorative items than keys. It’s heavy and big. It definitely will not fit in the tiny, impractical (but very cute) evening bag. Andrew always has his keys, I decide, and drop the keychain back into my large, practical (but very cute) everyday purse. I head downstairs, closing the door (which locks automatically behind me).

11:05 pm (after a bit of stunned silence):

Andrew calls our landlord and leaves a desperate (and very apologetic) message. Miraculously the landlord (who hasn’t returned our calls in three months) immediately returns our
call. Unfortunately he is 600 kms away from Brussels. His father also has keys. He will call and see if the father can help us.

11:15 pm (sitting in our car):

The landlord calls back. His father is 100 km outside of Brussels. They never both leave town at the same time… except for that night. The father will be back Friday at 6 pm. He offers to give us the number of the locksmith he uses and bids us good-night.

Andrew: Well…

Me: At this point, what is more expensive – a late-night call to the locksmith, or a hotel?

Andrew calls Priority Club and asks for their cheapest hotel rate in Brussels. 49 euro, right around the corner.


11:30 pm:

We arrive at the Holiday Inn and get our key. We have no bags. We are both dressed up, having come from dinner out. The hotelier is discrete but we know what he is thinking. We get into the elevator and burst out laughing.

What else can we do?

The key to a successful marriage – When there’s nothing else you can do about a situation, laugh together (and get duplicate keys made to leave at the office).

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Big Cheese at CheeseWeb
Alison Cornford-Matheson is a Canadian freelance writer and travel photographer and the founder of She is the author of The Foodie Guide to Brussels: Local Tips for Restaurants, Shops, Hotels, and Activities. Alison landed in Belgium in 2005 and, over the years, has become passionate about slow and sustainable travel, in Europe and beyond. She loves to discover hidden gems - be they museums, shops, restaurants, castles, gardens or landscapes, and share them through her words and photos. She has visited 45 countries and is currently slow travelling through North America in an RV, with her husband, Andrew, and two well-travelled cats. You can also follow her work on Google+
I loved my time in Riga, Latvia a few years ago and Adi's post takes me right back. It's a European travel... - 4 hours ago


  1. Comment by tez

    tez July 24, 2010 at 13:01

    I’m glad you re-linked that, Al – a great read! 🙂

    • Comment by Alison


      Alison July 26, 2010 at 10:53

      Hehe, thanks Tez!

  2. Pingback: The 7 Link Challenge | CheeseWeb: Travel, Photography and Expat Life in Belgium Blog

  3. Comment by Megan

    Megan August 2, 2010 at 04:54

    This was great.

    • Comment by Alison


      Alison August 2, 2010 at 12:33

      Thanks Megan!

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