Mrs Rickson is lying in the hallway, her head propped up on pillows.
‘How did you come to be on the floor?’ asks Frank, crouching down beside her like an Indian scout reading the trail in a corny western.
‘My wife’s not got any short term memory,’ says Mr Rickson, leaning in and laying a hand gently on Frank’s shoulder. ‘She’s under the doctors for it – waiting on a scan.’ He withdraws discretely and folds his hands in front of him.
‘I see,’ says Frank. ‘Do you have any pain at the moment, Mrs Rickson? Any new pain?’
She winces and reaches round to the small of her back.
Frank looks up at the husband, who closes his eyes and shakes his head a little.
‘Always has pain there,’ he says. ‘Nothing new. When I saw she was going I helped her down gently. Nothing jarred.’
‘Good,’ says Frank. ‘That’s good. Now – is there anything else I should know about before we move you?’
Mr Rickson leans in and touches Frank on the shoulder again.
‘She has a lot of trouble with that,’ he says, pointing to her leg. ‘She’s had all kinds of work. Pins and whatsits. Operations – you know.’
‘Oh? What happened there, then?’
‘It’s a long story,’ says Mr Rickson, extending his jaw forwards to free it from his starchy collar. ‘She did it the same time as she did her back. We were driving on the motorway.’
‘Ah!’ says Frank. ‘An RTC.’
‘A what you say?’
‘A crash. You had a car crash.’
Mr Rickson frowns.
‘No. No – we were driving on the motorway when Dorothy said she was desperate for the loo. I said to her I said “Can’t you hold it? We’re almost there”, but she said she couldn’t. So I pulled over. Onto the hard shoulder.’
‘Ah. Right. So - you got hit by a car on the hard shoulder.’
‘A trip, was it?’
‘How d’you mean?’
‘Did she trip when she was getting out of the car?’
‘No. No. She got out of the car, quite safely, and she was looking around for somewhere to go, because as I say, she was desperate. And she saw this bush just a few yards from the car, so she decided to go behind that.’
‘Except it wasn’t a bush – it was the top of a tree. She fell twenty feet into a gulley, and the fire brigade had to fish her out.’