How a shopping spree can leave you feeling run down

Under the counter with Lindsay Calder
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The Independent Online
Had I not spent that extra half hour deciding whether I was a 34C or a 36b with the fitter in the bra department, it would never have happened. I would not have been late, and would not have been knocked down by a black cab.

I was feeling euphoric, after having discovered that a painting I had bought in a junk-shop for pounds 60 was worth pounds 500, so after leaving Sotheby's I had bit of a Bond Street binge with this new mental credit of pounds 440, which ended with a final flourish of Visa-flexing in Fenwick. Anyway, as it was now far too late to even think of taking a bus, I hailed this cab...

Big mistake. My cabbie had always minded his own business all his life, and never bothered anyone else, and he was taking a letter - in person - to that John Major, he was, so he was, and to that European Court if it came to it, after what "they" done to him. Who "they" were and what "they" done, I was unable to ascertain, but it seemed to be something to do with a "coupla-million". As he became more and more manic about this, I was rather regretting my move to the dicky seat behind him. I had been lured, you see, by what I now realise was his last entrapment tactic to make you listen to his lunatic rantings - Burt, a ten year old Dalmation. Burt travelled in the front of the cab, because he got depressed on his own at home. As I had shown great interest in Burt, by moving closer to get a better view of him, the cabbie seemed to think that I would also be interested in his own annoying existence. That mutt must rue the day he showed signs of depression at home.

When I finally arrived at my destination, I was so relieved to be out of this cab from hell that I ran across the road and whack! was knocked down by another taxi.

He didn't have time to brake - my hip carried out that function for him - it also broke his headlight. He thought he had killed me, but then, in what he described as an "act of self preservation", I apparently sprang up onto my feet. So there I was, standing amidst my pristine new 34Cs, which mixed with pieces of headlight, were now decorating the street, trying to tell the cabbie that I really didn't need to go to hospital. This happened right outside my husband's barristers' chambers, so with the faintest whiff of a Personal Injury claim in the air, a gaggle of lawyers came to the rescue and told me that I must stop "admitting liability".

To check that no damage had been done, I spent four frustrating hours waiting at the Whittington Hospital casualty department. During my wait I read in the paper that the hospital was due to close down, and then began to wonder if it had already and that they had forgotten to tell us. Finally, I was seen by a smug young doctor, let's call him Dr Bastard, who had obviously skipped off the bedside manner lectures. He questioned me in a point scoring fashion, like a malingerer, in spite of the fact that I had waited four hours to see the little creep. Finally whilst manipulating my leg, he said "look, if there was something broken you'd be punching me by now". I was sorely tempted to do it anyway.

When I got home there were two messages from Tony, the cabbie who knocked me down. He'd even called in at the hospital to ask if I was alright. Cabbies aren't all bad, but this was a helluva way to enlighten me...

Lejaby bras, 32A-38DD, from pounds 39-pounds 45, Fenwick, New Bond St, London

Taxi fair from Bond St to Theobalds Road pounds 4.20 (without tip)

Headlight for a black cab, pounds 49 + VAT, Mann and Overton, 52 Holloway Road, London N7

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