Malcolm meets us at the door. A short, perfectly round man in white windcheater and brown slacks, it’s like being met by a giant Christmas pudding.
‘She’s in the sitting room,’ he wheezes, struggling to make himself heard over the homicidal barking of a dog locked away in the kitchen. ‘Poor sow. Probably wants shooting, but you’re the experts.’
He shows us in to his wife Pamela, sitting in an armchair, blood trickling from a gash on the bridge of her nose. She holds her left hand out to the side; the other tragically grips on to a handkerchief whilst her head rests back on a cushion.
‘Oh dear. What’s happened to you, then, Pamela?’ says Frank, walking over.
The dog redoubles its efforts to reach us through the kitchen door, which bows and shudders under the impacts.
‘Elvis! No!’ shouts the man. There is a brief pause. Malcolm smiles and licks his lips. The dog click-clicks away from the door, but then there are dragging sounds, as if it’s coming back with heavy equipment.
‘I fell over, that’s what happened to me,’ says Pamela. ‘Ooh – I’ve never known pain like it.’
‘How come you fell over, Pamela?’
‘I don’t know. I just fell over. I didn’t do it for a laugh, you know.’
‘No – no, I don’t suppose you did. But we need to figure out why you fell. Did you trip? Did you feel dizzy?’
‘I told you. I fell over! I went down, there, in the hall. And I banged my head on the floor and everything.’
‘Were you knocked unconscious?’
‘No – I wasn’t knocked unconscious. I fell over, I banged my head and I cut my nose. It’s bleeding. Can’t you see?’
‘I can see. So it was a trip, then?’
‘Yes. I went dizzy and fell over.’
‘So it was a dizzy spell. And apart from your nose, do you have any other injuries?’
‘What d’you mean, other injuries? I cut my nose. Isn’t that enough?’
‘Yep. We’ll get to the nose in a second. But have you hurt yourself anywhere else? What about if I touch your neck here...’
‘So all round that area, then?’
‘And my knee. And my back. And I can hardly move my hand at all.’
‘Do you have any health problems?’
‘Yes. I hurt my hand.’
‘Just now, when I fell over.’
‘No. I mean – do you have any health problems from before the fall? Do you suffer with anything? Heart problems, breathing problems, that kind of thing?’
‘Okay. I think what we need to do, Pamela, is get you out to the ambulance, clean you up and do some checks, then see what’s best to do after that. Is that all right?’
The dog now appears to be tunnelling his way through the floor.
‘He sounds fun,’ I say to Malcolm. ‘Whatever sort of dog is that, then? Ridgeback?’
‘Elvis? He’s a Bichon Frizz. But you wouldn’t want to get on the wrong side of him.’