Tales of the Unexpected: The Surveyor’s Tale

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One word that the “treasure hunting” youth said had stuck in my mind for weeks. What on earth was “Bluetooth”, and what did it mean? I had heard the word before, but had given it
a little attention. It sounded as though it could be some sort of dental disease. Anyway I was bdue for a dental check-up, so I resolved to ask my dentist.

The day of my appointment arrived. “Open wide. Mmm! This filling will definitely require an injection” “Aagh! Before this jab takes effect could you explain what is meant by Bluetooth? I head it from a youth with a mobile phone. I thought it may be something to do with teeth?” I asked. “Ah,” said the dentist with a smile. “It is in a way. It’s a means by which two electronic devices talk to each other by very short-range radio signals.” “OK. So what’s the connection with teeth” I asked with difficulty, as my mouth was beginning to feel the effects of the injection.

“The technical origins come from Scandinavia and refer to a 10th. Century, Danish king called Blatand which means Bluetooth. He united and controlled both Denmark and Norway – similar to connection and controlling electronic devices. The story goes that he liked eating blueberries; so much so that his teeth became stained, and that’s why he became known as Bluetooth. Anyway if you’ll wait in reception for a minute or two, I ll give you a call.”

Down in reception I was so deep in thought that I initially ignored the voice the first time,
before coming back to reality with a jolt. It was the name George that caused me to start.
“Hi. Aren’t you the chap who used to be a friend of George; the one who wrote those
stories?” said the voice again. “Er. Yesh,” I replied. “I sleem to remember you, but can’t place your name and where we larsh met. I did collect shlories, but that ended shometime ago”. “It was at George’s funeral that we first met. That was almost 5 years ago now. By the way, I’m Fred, and I used to be the practice surveyor. “

“Now I remember! You slaid ‘used to be’ – does that mean you’ve lesh the firm?
“Yes. I resigned along with most of the staff after that obnoxious fellow took over the
practice. You must remember him from the funeral. He took the business into bankruptcy
before moving on.”

“Oh dear. What happened to Gleorge’s brother, Paser” I enquired. “Fortunately Peter resigned his partnership before the business failed, retired early, and took up his long-felt wish to buy a boat and sail round the world, earning an occasional income as a designer or project manager. The last I heard was that he had teamed up with Paul somewhere in the Middle East, working on some prestigious project. This postcard gives the address of where he was working. He’s since moved on now.”

The information on the picture postcard, showed a lot of sand and palm trees. The reverse
was a short message saying ‘see you sometimes’ followed by a series of numbers: 24*29.0N 54*36.5E

Now I understood how that lad obtained his reference points to visit. These were coordinates of a specific location on the surface of the world. It aroused my curiosity to somehow found out where it was. “that’s typical of sailors,” continued Fred. “Anyway, whs are you doing now,” I asked. “Me? I’ m unemployed and unemployable. After seeing the dentist, I am on my way to see my solicitor. Don’t ask! It’s all been a disaster. When I worked for George I used to do the building reports, and I was able to put my name on the covers. I thought that was great.

Anyway, on one of the properties I inspected, it eventually turned out that more repairs
were needed than shown in my report and now the building owner wants recompense.”
Shurely George’s Professional Indemnity Insurance would cover the ploblem,” I suggested,
finding it more difficult to speak.

“Normally, yes. But don’t forget that the practice was bankrupted and as our odious friend
stopped the premiums, so the cover finished. As a consequence there was no run-off. Peter
could not be pursued as he could not be found, and our obnoxious friend claimed he was
only and employee. As my name was on the report I am held liable for the remedial costs
and all legal fees. I’ve lost all my savings and as I can’t find a buyer for my house it’s now up for auction at whatever is bid. Then I will become bankrupt. Family life is on the rock as my wife and daughter have gone back to her mothers. The stress is unbelievable. That’s why is difficult to find another job. Sorry to burden you with my problems, but it’s nice to talk to someone who I know will be sympathetic.

Back in the chair and with an open mouth I concentrated on thoughts of Fred to overcome
the sound of the drill. Under the circumstances I tried to blot out any thoughts of Danish
kings. Perhaps in the absence of conduct, then indemnity insurance could be a source of
research yet to be undertaken. I could feel the old enthusiasm returning. Reception was
empty, so I did not know how to contact Fred.

By Colin Bailey MCIAT
[Ed: ref. Merrit v Babb 2001]
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