Magazine article The Spectator

Real Life: Melissa Kite

Magazine article The Spectator

Real Life: Melissa Kite

Article excerpt

A letter arrives from the lawyers handling my defence in the phantom whiplash injury claim. It is now coming up to three years since a singularly rough-hewn couple alleged I had incapacitated them by shunting my little convertible in a slow moving traffic queue into the back of their people carrier.

I haven't heard much from them since I appointed legal counsel and notified them of my intention to fight their claim all the way to the highest court in the land. They went a bit quiet after that, failing to submit all the necessary details setting out how and when they want to see me in court. All we know is that before they went quiet, Mrs Slob, for so I have childishly nicknamed her, after the Harry Enfield character, alleged that the shunt left her unable to do the ironing and that one of her children had to help her do the housework.

At this point, I want to make all sorts of jokes about the obvious inauthenticity of this claim, based on my assessment of the outfit she was wearing at the time: leggings and a baggy T-shirt, neither of which looked like they needed, or indeed had had, much ironing. But I won't go into that too forensically because I suppose I should give Mrs S the benefit of the doubt. If she says she has other outfits that require pressing and that an inability to carry out these urgent acts of laundry maintenance left her in distress, then who am I to undermine her? Perhaps she is one of those people who, behind closed doors, likes to lead a double life.

Her lawyers further explained that the secretly fastidious lady was delivered into an unhappy place where she was unable to fulfil her own tight standards of personal grooming because previous injuries such as sciatica had been reactivated by the impact of my Peugeot 206 cc (approx. weight 1,025kg unladen plus 55kg laden) on their Ford Galaxy (approx.1,841kg unladen plus goodness knows how much laden), while Mr Slob suddenly experienced all sorts of trouble with the screws in his spine, also pre-existing.

I'm aware of the term eggshell skull, of course. And if I had known I had brushed the back bumper of a car containing two people entirely held together by welfare payments, children who did their housework and actual metal screws, I would have run for the hills. …

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