FL decided to go for his hospital check-up on his own.
10am He managed to park legally (we got a parking ticket last week) and successfully negotiated the 3-hour clinic appointment, coming out with a prescription for quinine - the anti-cramp drug also found in tonic water. Oh - the Doctor had no idea why he was there and said he would see him a month... "God A-Michty!" was the expression used.
1pm But when FL returned to his car, he realised he had left the ignition switched on and the battery was flat. At least this meant the key was in the car and he was able to get in the door (he has been locked out a few times recently). He rang me to ask if I knew anyone with jump leads. I scouted round the car-owners in my office but nobody could help. I tried to ring him back and got his voicemail. But then HE rang ME to ask for details of our breakdown service: he would ring them.
3pm After a while, I tried to ring him again. Voicemail. And it slowly dawned on me that if all his calls were being diverted, the breakdown people would not be able to contact him either.
So I got into my car and started driving to the hospital. Halfway there, he rang me again. I had to pull into the side of the road to answer. He told me he had run out of credit in the middle of his call to the breakdown people, with all of their ridiculous questions, and had tried to top up... only to find that his balance was still coming up as zero. His phone provider said it might take 24 hours for the credit to show up! However, he managed to talk to an actual human at the phone company and they had somehow forced the credit through the system. He told me to drive back to work - he was near to tears and he didn't want to see me. Oh my.
3.30pm He then texted me and asked me to look up the phone number of a friend, D, who lived about 20 minutes away and would have jump leads. Back in the office, there were two people with that name in the phone book. I tried ringing both and got no reply. I tried ringing FL and got Voicemail again!
4pm He rang me and said he had found D's mobile number and he was on his way with jump leads. I told FL his phone was diverted. He was mystified. He has obviously done something to his phone that he didn't know how to do.
I told him to go home and have a sleep. His reply? "I CAN'T DO THAT! MY CAR WON'T START!"
Several lessons the unfortunate FL may not have learned from this:
1 - Always take car key out of ignition when you get out. Locking the door is optional.
2 - Always carry jump leads
3 - Always carry details of breakdown company, policy number, wife's mother's maiden name
4 - Keep credit topped up on mobile phone, with a 24-hour leeway
5 - Always carry instruction booklet for mobile phone
6 - Always carry a full set of local telephone directories with friends' numbers highlighted
7 - Always carry a dog lead OR leave the dog at home OR carry Dettox spray and a doggy-do bag
8 - Better still, allow your wife to drive you to hospital appointments: she won't mind if you close your eyes while she is driving - in fact she might prefer it.
Much much later: We have a bottle of wine. Tonic water just wasn't good enough.