For some reason, which I can only guess at, my home telephone has stopped ringing. Why is it? Because everyone I know is at the Eastleigh by-election? Because people only use mobile numbers these days? Because my friends have finally disowned me?
All these are possible, but what I have noticed more than anything else is that - for the last three or four weeks - I have had no cold callers, no telephone salespeople asking me if I am Mrs Boyle, no strange foreign sounding call centres demanding to know whether I have taken out insurance.
I realise there is a conventional way of getting rid of these, which have been coming at the rate of about one a day since I can remember. You join the Telephone Preference Service. That certainly improves matters, but it isn't really enough. This may be hopelessly optimistic on my part, but I believe my phone has been blacklisted by the cold callers.
Since last Autumn, I have tried to get my own back on them - not by putting the phone down, which assists them after all, by speedily allowing them to move on. I always say that I am not, in fact, Mrs Boyle (true, in fact) and that I will get her. I then leave the phone off the hook for an hour or so and listen, with satisfaction, to the call centre struggling to disconnect.
It's a simple process, and quite fun in a mildly cruel way. But I thoroughly recommend it. In fact, if we all did this, these infuriating calls - which waste people's time so outrageously - would become quickly impossible.
Go on.... You know it makes sense!
Gladstone Books, Southwell
6 hours ago