G...... here," the voice said when I answered the phone yet again. Ah right, the call I had stayed in to get.
"We really need you to come and identify the body," he told me.
"Is it in the city morgue now?"
"No, we have it down here. What time can you get here? Where are you based?"
"I'm in the city and I don't drive. I'll have to see if my sister is free. Can you give me a number I can call to get back to you? I know the station isn't open."
"I'll give you the mobile. It really is rather urgent. We can't do any more until we have a formal identification."
I spend some time hunting down Middle Cat who has taken the Senior Cat to a medical appointment. She keeps her phone switched off when she is driving - as she should. I left her a message on her phone and then tried the Senior Cat. No answer. A little later he phoned me to tell me where they were and that they were about to have some coffee. Had they ordered it? No. Then please come home and may I speak to Middle Cat first. We need to go down south.
Middle Cat agrees we need to go asap.
Then another phone call from the police. Could we make it 3pm there please - to fit in with someone from the Coroner's office and the police patrol that needs to witness my signature. Yes, it will give me time to get the Senior Cat something to eat.
You know the term "racing around like a scalded cat"? That was me. I brought in two loads of washing. I made lunch. I uploaded work emails and answered three more phone calls. Middle Cat arrived and left the Senior Cat and went to organise things so she could take the afternoon off as well.
We were literally walking out the door when the phone rang again.
"It's the G.... police. I'm so glad I caught you. I've just been speaking to the Coroner's office. They said as it is so difficult for you to get here they are prepared to accept the identification of the neighbour who found him."
In this state it is supposed to be a blood relative if possible. Other people are only supposed to do it in "exceptional" circumstances.
I just wish they had thought there were exceptional circumstances from the start.
Middle Cat looked at me and we went to the Greek warehouse instead and stocked up on some basics. It took forty-five minutes instead of three and a half hours.