It was when I was driving homewards from our local Waitrose store that I discovered my wallet was missing. Sitting at a red light, I felt my trouser pockets and the pockets of my fleece jacket but the familiar shape simply was not there.
I pulled into the block-paved area in front of our house and searched the car's hidden recesses. Then I checked the shopping bags in the boot (American: trunk) but alas the wallet was not there either. Oh - woe was me!
Inside our house, I deposited the shopping and nervously informed her ladyship. Naturally, she went into a frenzied rage, calling me all the names under the sun, comparing my intelligence to that of an earthworm. In reality, she calmly phoned up Waitrose as I jumped back in the car.
The store closed at 9pm so when I got back there it was all locked up. However, I managed to collar a night shift worker and just as he was about to make enquiries about the wallet, two women employees came out to see me. They had responded to her ladyship's phone call by searching hither and thither but had seen no sign of the lost item.
I drove home again wondering what the hell had happened to my wallet and how on earth I could have mislaid it. It is the first time in my life I have ever lost a wallet though I once had one stolen from me by a prostitute in a bar in Lautoka, Fiji.
For most men, a wallet is more or less part of his anatomy. In the modern world it is a vital aid to existence. Without it you feel ill-prepared for life's daily challenges. Mine contained my debit card, credit card, driving licence, fifty pounds in cash, a new National Lottery ticket worth £64 (8 weeks), several names, addresses and phone numbers that I don't have anywhere else and some small irreplaceable family photos.
|The Findig Shop in the MBK Mall, Bangkok|
This is where I bought my wallet
Returning home, I wondered where my "Findig" wallet might be. I bought it in Bangkok in 2011. I wondered if a thief or ne'er-do-well might have it but alternatively I knew it was very possible that an honest citizen might have spotted it and I would get it back.
Back in the house, her ladyship insisted that I should cancel my bank cards. And I did this ten minutes before her mobile phone rang. It was the manager of the night shift team at Waitrose. He had found the wallet. It seemed rather biblical - like the story of the prodigal son in Luke. He was lost but is found again.
For the third time yesterday evening, I headed back to Waitrose. At the night staff door, I waited for the night manager as agreed. He came out with my wallet. I expressed my gratitude and attempted to give him a monetary reward but he just would not accept it so I told him I would be getting in touch with the store's general manager to sing his praises. I also said it was heartening to live in a society in which most people are as kind and honest as him.
Panic over and time for two cans of "Pedigree Amber Ale". God, that tasted good!