I saw the ambulance coming along the road and the paramedic driving it, slowed down when he saw me and opened the passenger door and I climbed in and sat next to him.
No one seemed to take much notice of him parking on the wide pavement. Maybe they thought someone had a medical emergency. But we were going for fish and chips!
My brother works for a private ambulance company as a paramedic, ferrying sick patients to different hospitals, mainly for dialysis. Once they have been taken to their hospital wards, Godfrey is free for several hours until he has to pick up the patients again and take them to their various homes.
As I do not work during the school holidays, I have been free to meet up with him a few times in the town where one particular hospital is located. There is plenty to do there and we travelled far and wide, taking in the lovely countryside and going for walks.
He is dressed in his green outfit and we might even be taken for husband and wife. I am really proud of him and he tells me that some people say, "Can I shake your hand? You do a really good job."
On the last journey that I went on with him, we travelled through some lovely picturesque villages and the scenery made a good change from the city where I live. It was good to be sitting so high up and to be able to see over the top of the hedges, though scrambling up to the seat was as difficult to me as mounting a horse and my back twinged with the effort!
While he drives, Godfrey tells me funny stories about his patients! One day he had dropped off some people to an old folks home and he knew a very frail man there who never goes out anywhere from one day to the next. The man needed oxygen regularly to keep him alive. My brother asked his carers if he could take the old man for a ride as he had an hour to kill. Obviously they knew him well and thought it would be a very good idea. He was told that the man must have a supply of oxygen on hand at all times. That was no problem as there was oxygen on board the ambulance.
The patient was put in a wheelchair and they set off down the long driveway towards the ambulance.
Once there, Godfrey looked for his keys to open up the vehicle. They seemed to have vanished into thin air and he searched all through his pockets and medical bags. After some time searching, the man said that he needed oxygen. As he couldn't get into the ambulance, my brother decided to take him back to the ward and give him oxygen there and look for the keys. He went to the desk where he had signed the patient out, but no sign of them there. A thorough search was made by all the staff and no one could understand where the keys had got to. All this took a long time and phone calls had to be made to see who had a spare set of keys.
Godfrey had a feeling that there was just a slight chance that the elderly man was sitting on the keys as they might have slipped down as he was fixing him in the wheelchair. Extra staff helped the man into a standing position and sure enough the keys were right in the place where he had been sitting.
The old man's face lit up on finding the keys and he had felt better for the oxygen on the ward.
"Are we going now?" he said.
"Sorry mate," my brother replied, "We've run out of time."
I felt it was a bit sad that the old man never got to go out, but my brother now wears a thick cord round his neck holding his keys securely, that the nurses gave him. They were all falling about laughing for some reason!