In February 1996 a Boston taxi driver who agreed to take a hospital doctor to work was recovering from a 1,300-mile round trip that took five and a half days to complete and left him hundreds of pounds out of pocket.
Vincent Martin's ordeal began when he agreed to take Thambitillai Arudchenthan, 30, and all his belongings from Boston, Lincolnshire, to Lerwick in the Shetland Islands to take up his new post as a senior house officer at the Gilbert Bain Hospital.
Dr Arudchenthan, who is from Sri Lanka, had calculated it would be cheaper to take a taxi than to fly to Lerwick and hire a van for his belongings: the flight alone cost £254. He called Star Taxis in Boston and asked if they would accept the fare. After a few hastily scribbled calculations on the back of an envelope, Star quoted a price of £300 for the trip and set about finding a driver.
Mr Martin, with only a vague idea of the geography of the route, accepted the challenge and, at 3am on February 7, they set off on a 13-hour, 440-mile journey through blizzards and high winds to Aberdeen, where Mr Martin was anticipating a two-hour ferry crossing to Lerwick.
Nineteen hours later, after 200 miles of being tossed about in one of the roughest parts of the North Sea, they docked in gales and sleet.
Mr Martin delivered the doctor and started for home only to discover heavy seas were preventing the P&O ferry St Clair from sailing on Thursday. There was no crossing on Friday and it was not until Sunday afternoon that Mr Martin reached Aberdeen after spending Saturday night at sea in a gale. He reached home in Lincolnshire at 3pm on Monday afternoon.
The Shetland Health Authority, which reimbursed Dr Arudchenthan's expenses, agreed to pay the taxi firm an extra £100, but Mr Martin calculates his loss to be £300. A spokesman for Star Taxis said that if they had known the crossing took 14 hours and that Mr Martin could be delayed for three days on Shetland, they would have charged £700 for the job.
Mr Martin said: "I don't want to point the finger of blame at anyone. The doctor looked after me and got my meals for me. The Shetland people were very friendly. It was just the monotony of being away from my family. I'll put it down to experience, albeit a bad one."