It was the key to the cottage accommodation I shared with Shirley at the wedding venue. It was the colour of dull grey gun metal and it was not attached to a fob or keyring.
After showering on the morning of the wedding, I locked the door of the former cowshed and slipped that key into my right pocket. My pockets already contained keys to both of our cars, a linen handkerchief, my wallet, some loose change and the key to the "Enterprise" hire van that I had rented for the duration of the wedding time.
Hardly anybody else was up and about. It was before eight o'clock and Shirley was in the big barn working on table arrangements. Late summer mistiness was still being burnt off by the rising sun as cattle lowed contentedly behind limestone walls.
I had jobs to do. I needed my sledge hammer from the van and some wooden pegs from Clint's rear end. The painted wedding signs I had previously made were already propped up by the barn door.
I set off down the track and crossed the main road. I hammered the first sign into the verge and then I came back for the second sign, first uprooting the Wardlow Gingerbread Festival signs that were partly blocking the view from the wedding venue gateway. I hammered the second sign into the opposite verge and put the gingerbread signs elsewhere.
Then I returned to the wedding venue yard, planning to return to the former cowshed for a mug of tea and some breakfast. You guessed it already! The door key was no longer in my pocket. I emptied both pockets but it had gone.
Not too panicked at this stage, I thought that I might end up phoning the owner for a spare key. First of all it was time to retrace my steps which I did very diligently, scanning the ground below me like a hummingbird hawkmoth searching for nectar. There was a lot of gravel and a lot of grass. I soon realised that it was like looking for a needle in a haystack.
By now Frances was having her hair and make up done up in the accommodation barn where she had spent the night with her brother and twenty five friends. I asked if she had the owner's phone number and she asked why. I said, "Nothing for you to worry about dear!"
Inside the cowshed cottage was Shirley's wedding apparel and my suit and shoes etcetera. There really was something to worry about. I borrowed James's laptop and we managed to connect to the internet. Then I was into my hotmail account where I retrieved an email from the wedding venue. I knew that it contained the owner's mobile phone number.
Leah kindly lent me her mobile phone and soon I was speaking to the owner. I told him about the lost key.
He claimed that there was no spare key - which seemed highly unlikely. I suggested that I would call a locksmith but he said that he didn't want a locksmith damaging his door.
"What shall I do then?"
"You'll just have to look harder for the key."
And then he said goodbye as he stopped the call. I was flabbergasted and now affected by a wave of panic.
A posse of young guests came out to search for the key, following my early morning route exactly but as I expected - there was no joy. No key.
Back at the cottage, James volunteered to climb in through an open window. He slid in like a tree snake. By now it was half past eleven. He started passing the wedding clothes through that same window. At least we would be able to get dressed appropriately and not attend our daughter's wedding in T-shirts and summer shorts!
I returned to little jobs in the wedding barn. Around twelve fifteen - an hour before vehicles would take us to St John's Church in Tideswell, I heard a vehicle on the gravel. Moments later, I spotted that same vehicle - a black Nissan pick up heading down the track and away. I recognised it as the owner's truck.
The fellow had screeched into the yard, jumped out with the key and stuck it in the cottage keyhole before screeching off without telling anybody he had been! How crazy was that? Fortunately, I half-guessed what he had done and there it was - a shiny new key in the lock complete with a chunky keyring.
Panic over. But that whole episode meant that I was quite flustered and agitated when I speedily donned my wedding suit with the time trundling on to one fifteen. Frances was ready first and she looked so beautiful as I tied the brand new red tie that now matched my flushed cheeks. I had wanted another shower to cool me down but there simply wasn't time.
Maybe I will laugh about it one day but at the moment I still wish that the key incident had not happened. I had wanted to wear a single white Yorkshire rose in my lapel but I ended up with a little bush like the groomsmen, hastily attached to my suit by the wedding car driver.