Real life

You wait ages for an ambulance, then five come along at once

25 July 2020

9:00 AM

25 July 2020

9:00 AM

‘I need an ambulance!’ yelled the builder boyfriend into his mobile phone as the cyclist lay bleeding from a head wound.

‘What’s that, luvvie, you want to order a chicken dhansak? You mustn’t bother the emergency services with that sort of thing, dear, it’s very inconvenient and could cost lives…’

This was a sarcastic approximation of what the ambulance service operator said to the BB, which he paraphrased with much artistic licence when he relayed it to me an hour later.

I was at home when I got a text message from him to say that a couple of cyclists had trespassed on to the farm where he keeps his horses, a daily occurrence.

They come down the driveway which is clearly marked ‘footpath’ on road racing bikes and mountain bikes in such numbers and at such speed that we have been reduced to begging them to desist, for their own good if they are not bothered about us or the law. But they won’t listen.

This pair hurtled down the driveway gathering velocity until they hit a speed bump so fast that one of them flew off, bounced on the tarmac and landed upside down in the crop field.

As blood poured from his head and face, the builder boyfriend ran to help. He picked him up and helped his friend to get him off the track. But as he was limping towards the gate of his smallholding so that he could sit him down in the stable yard where he has some garden chairs, five more bikes hurtled towards them down the driveway.

The builder b screamed at them to stop but they did not stop. They whooshed through and scattered them, knocking the injured cyclist back on to the ground where he bashed himself half to bits again.

He lay in a dazed heap, quite obviously seriously concussed.

The five cyclists sped away, as they do, and the BB had to carry the injured man into the stable yard where he called for an ambulance.

As he did so, the other cyclist, coming out of his shocked state, began to speak. And the first words he spoke were: ‘The speed bumps on this road aren’t clearly marked.’


The speed bumps are, as a matter of fact, very clearly marked with reflectors on posts.

So the BB said: ‘Now listen here. I wasn’t going to say anything because you’ve clearly had a terrible accident. But you are trespassing on a private farm. This is a footpath and you should not be down here on bikes.’

And the cyclist argued, as they do. So the BB ignored him and went through a very long-winded 999 call, then texted me.

I was with my horses and only saw the message 45 minutes later.

I rushed to the scene with latex gloves, sanitiser and vet wrap to find the ambulance had just arrived, after an hour.

And as they loaded the bleeding trespasser into the back, we heard sirens and another ambulance came down the driveway. Then another. Then another. Then another.

This was when the builder boyfriend started telling me about the 999 call which, according to his satirical version, went something like this:

‘Listen to me, I need an ambulance!’

‘You want Liberace’s back catalogue? No, this is the hero ambulance service. We do ambulances, dear, as long as you clap. Only we are quite busy at the moment. I’ve got my eye on a few things on Amazon.’

‘Please help! There’s a man bleeding from a head wound on a farm track.’

‘What’s his date of birth, luvvie?’

‘I don’t know, he’s a stranger. I never met him till he fell off his bike into my mate’s hay field.’

‘All right, all right, no need to be abusive… just logging this into the system… Now, is he missing any limbs?’

‘Please listen! A man has fallen off a bike and hit his head. He’s pouring with blood and seems concussed.’

‘You don’t want to make a fuss? Well, you shouldn’t have called 999 then.’

‘Please, just send an ambulance!’

‘You want to order lunch? I’ve told you, it’s not appropriate…’

And on it went in this vein, although naturally the BB was embellishing — she wasn’t on Amazon — but you get the gist of it. Slowness and confusion prevailed.

And that was how we went from no ambulance to five ambulances for the bleeding trespasser. Several of the ambulances were from the south coast, 50 miles away, and one of them was a ‘resilience unit’.

The outrageous expense to the taxpayer must have shamed the uninjured cyclist into a change of heart, for he turned to us and said: ‘You’re right. We shouldn’t have been here. I’m sorry.’

That may be the only time I hear a cyclist say that word so I’m making the most of it.

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