So, my tall, friendly Moroccan took one look at the typescript and said: right letter, wrong form. Then he said something that set him apart from the rest of Slaka officialdom: Wait here while I go to the typing pool and have it changed for you! What would have taken me another hour, took him five minutes, and after another five I was heading back to the Police Station, where they took the form and said my official Certificate of Loss would be ready in two days time at 11 a.m.
But at 1:30 it was and I took myself off to the British Embassy with a completed C1 Passport Application and the necessary photos and fee (799 QAR). Ten working days, they said.
The next morning, the Embassy called me. When they started processing the application, my old passport showed up on their database as lost and found. Apparently, a Filipina lady had found it in the street and handed it in to Capital Police Station. Best of all, she had done this on the night I lost it. So, three days before, when I was in the station reporting the loss, my passport was resting in a drawer a mere six feet away. Joined-up policing strikes again.
In fact, I can't blame the police for not making the connection. Lost passports are apparently put into unmarked envelopes and bundled into a drawer. I'd feel lost too. My only remaining regret, and it's a big one, is that the police either did not take, or more likely, did not retain contact details for my Filipina saviour, apart from a Christian name. Thanks and a reward are due if we ever meet.