Lois Best

Clunk. Uh oh. That’s the sound of the back door locking behind me. I try the knob. Yep, it’s locked. This is not good. I am locked outside my daughter’s house, in her Fort Knox style backyard.

I’m staying here just to look after my teenage granddaughters’ rabbits during one of Port Phillip’s rare heatwaves. I’ve come outside first thing in the morning to give the rabbits some greens, cool water, and shade to keep them safe. Backyard bunnies don’t do well in the heat. My family are off looking after a house with a swimming pool and a dog. (I thought that gave me the easier job.)

My brain goes into overdrive. The back gate is locked and barricaded. The side gate is padlocked. (I’ve never seen a key for it.) I contemplate huddling in a heap and living on rabbit pellets and lemons until they come and rescue me. They would (eventually) notice my phone going unanswered because it is, of course, locked inside the house.

The heat is the problem, and the reason I shut the door in the first place – to keep the heat out of the house. (didn’t mean to keep myself out as well!)

So, what to do? Even if I could climb over the high fence, which is unlikely, it is hardly practical because I am clad only in my nightie. And add to that (and I realise this could be classified as way too much information) no glasses, no denture, no underwear.

I contemplate breaking into the house. But if I did smash a, multi framed, window there’s still the problem of clambering through it.

Instead, I will break out – through the side gate. I scour the shed for suitable tools. Armed with screwdriver and hammer, I attack the padlock. I break part of the gatepost (oops) but it means I can slide the bolt and open the gate.

My objective is the key-keep on the front porch. This, of course, brings on another dilemma. I don’t know the code. Thankfully my daughter knows her neighbours well, and they know me by sight. (But usually, I am more appropriately dressed and with all my teeth.)

I take a chance and bashfully creep through their front gate. Thankfully Amanda is up and to her credit she doesn’t laugh. She doesn’t know the code, so she texts my daughter. Awkward minutes pass then I say, “She’s sent the code to my phone, hasn’t she?”

Amanda’s next text produces the code. Then I need more help as, without my glasses, I can barely see the key-keep let alone its numbers!

Amanda’s boisterous new puppy is overjoyed by the early morning excitement and will not be left home. I happily carry him while she wrestles with the underused, awkwardly placed, key-keep. Eventually she calls her (grown up) son over to help. Oh, the embarrassment. Thankfully I have the puppy to hide behind. But it gets me the key.

Inside, reunited with my phone, and glasses, I find texts from my bewildered daughter:

Text 1: Hi, the pin is…

[and there is the magic number]

Text 2: Sorry the bike is in the way

[No answer from me, of course.]

Text 3: Everything ok?

[Well at that stage, no!]

I text back that the bike was the least of my worries and give a brief rundown of events. I’m able to reassure her that at least she knows that her house isn’t easy to break into.

Oddly, we continue to text instead of calling.

She texts:

Just got confused because:

(A) It was early

[I am notoriously not a morning person]

(B) you are always organised with keys


(C) you always have your phone!!

[Again, true and I briefly admire her ability to text in an orderly alpha style list]

She continues:

1st thought (literally) was that maybe you’d been up all-night partying and just got home! LOL! And lost your keys and phone in a bar or something.

[Who? Me?]

2nd thought was that you’d been out for a walk and didn’t take keys – that’s why I pinged your phone first – didn’t occur to me that that’s why Amanda was sending the message for you! Coffee not quite kicked in! What a drama.  I’m so sorry that happened to you! Thank goodness for amazing neighbours. I’m still trying to process it all. But glad you’re safe and sound. I think scout badge earned.

[I’ll accept that]

The flurry of texts eventually ends with her: Phew! Well played!!

[She’s right!]

It’s then that the adrenalin kicks in. I indulge in comfort food.

[I earned salted caramel ice-cream drowned in chocolate topping for breakfast].

When I feel brave enough, I prop the door open so I can check on the rabbits.

[At this point I no longer care if the heat gets into the house.]


There they are, oblivious to the drama. So cute, contentedly chomping kale.

There I am, completely exhausted before eight o’clock in the morning.


How to Enrol

On-line: after bookings have opened

On-line enrolments are preferred as this significantly reduces the amount of back-office work for our volunteers.

  • Login to the U3APP.org.au website.
  • Go to the Courses & Enrolling page.
  • Scroll down to find the course that you are interested in.
  • Does the course have spaces available?
    • Click on the course name to go to the booking page.
    • Click on “Book for this course or event”.
    • You will receive a confirmation email.  Please check your Junk/Spam folders as these automatically-generated emails often finish up there.
  • OR is the course shown as FULL?
    • Click on WAITLIST.

Paper Enrolment Form: before bookings open for First Semester

  • Obtain a paper Enrolment Form either from the Office or by printing an online copy available here.
  • Complete the paper Enrolment Form and submit it to the Office.

The start date for acceptance of paper Enrolment Forms for first semester is published on the U3APP website and in the e-Bulletin. Enrolment Forms received before this date are treated as though they had been received on the start date (ie there is no advantage to be gained by submitting early). On the start date and thereafter, paper Enrolment Forms are numbered in order of receipt.  Paper Enrolment forms are processed by U3APP volunteers on the same day as on-line bookings.

If your enrolment is successful, you will receive a confirmation email.  Please check your Junk/Spam folders as these automatically-generated emails often finish up there.

If your enrolment is unsuccessful,  you will receive an email telling you that you have been waitlisted.

Via the Office: after bookings have opened

  • Contact the office in person, or by email or phone.