Sunday, 14 February 2016

A messy expenses claim

My first week of Jury Service is now over. I did finally get chosen to serve as a juror. I was sworn in, and then heard two days of evidence. But it went nowhere, and we were discharged from the case. It's absolutely impossible to say any more about it, since the retrial, if it happens, must not be prejudiced.

So the supposedly rich experience of sifting the evidence in the jury room has yet to come. At least I know how it feels when affirming, all eyes upon you. I said the words without hesitation, very clearly, with the right stress, and without stumbling over any of them. Nor did I dribble, fart or drop anything. Nobody clapped, but I fancy I got an appraising look from the judge. No, I didn't really. I'm just making that up.

This was the only case I heard last week. There was in fact a dearth of cases coming up - apparently something quite unusual - and I found myself only just justified in spending that £25.20 in advance on a weekly train season ticket. We were in the end asked to travel in on only three of the five days. Buying three daily train tickets at £8.50 each would have come to £25.50 - a narrow whisker more. I now fully appreciate why they tell jurors to pay for their travel strictly on a day-by-day basis, and not get season tickets!

The expenses form claim will be messy, though, because I used my car on the third day. And without prior authorisation.

But I had a proper reason. That toe I mentioned - the one that at first seemed to have developed a corn - began to look puffy and red and swollen. Was I perhaps looking at a blister? I wasn't sure - it wasn't like the usual sort of blister. It didn't improve as the days passed, it only became gradually more uncomfortable. I drove in on my third day's attendance because I couldn't face all the walking that taking the train would entail.

So there's a mileage allowance and a car parking fee to be put on the expenses claim form now. I'll have to append a special typewritten note, to explain what was going on to justify this unauthorised departure from plans, and the extra cash spent, and hope that they will be reasonable. I'm sure I'll have to continue driving in - so I'll discuss the situation with the ushers when I next attend, and see what they say.

Between now and then I'm seeing a doctor at my local surgery. Not my usual one, but any doctor will do for a swollen and painful toe. I booked the appointment online this Sunday morning. It's at 8.40am tomorrow. Now that's pretty good, I reckon, to get an appointment - in winter - at such very short notice!

I don't mind that it's not my usual lady doctor, but a man. It's about a toe, after all, not anything more intimate. But I did want to see him anyway, as lately he has been assigned as my 'registered doctor' and as we have never spoken (I don't even know him by sight) it would be good become acquainted, even though I remain entitled to ask for any of the doctors at the big Mid Sussex practice, and won't ever be obliged to see him again. I must however quote his name if ever requested by a hospital (or whoever) to state 'who my doctor is'. This man is responsible for all my practice records, and for dealing with enquiries about my health and treatment from outside bodies who need to know. Well, chance (and a very sore toe) have brought us together for a consultation.

I dare say he will tell me that there's nothing much wrong with my toe, and that my best ongoing care route is through a podiatrist. I will listen to his recommendation if he knows who is best locally, but otherwise I have identified a practice in a nearby town and will go there. The lady concerned has the right qualifications and sounds nice; but the clincher is that I can park close by and for nothing. I don't mind at all driving a few miles more in order to park conveniently - especially when any foot pain is involved!

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