There is a little Bridget Jones in us all…


Last week at work, I missed a telephone call. I heard the phone ring, but I was in the other room and I couldn’t get to it in time. It’s no big deal, I don’t work in a call centre; I don’t have stats telling me that I should answer 46.72 calls every day or that if I swig more than 39 seconds worth of tea every two hours, I’ll cost my team the quarterly bonus. It was a completely uneventful event.

Five minutes later, I casually listed to the voicemail message that had been left for me. It was my boss’s, boss’s, boss. Who has NEVER called me before. I didn’t even have her number on my phone.  The message said “Hi Jo, I’m calling about a case that I think you’ve been involved in. Can you give me a call back when you have a chance?”.

Panic stricken, I called her back immediately.

Me: “Hi there boss’s, boss’s boss [I did use her actual name, I’m protecting anonymity, I’m not a complete moron] how are you?”

Her: “I’m very well thank you. Thanks for calling me back so quickly.”

Me: “No problem, I’m sorry I missed your call. I was in the toilet. I heard the phone ring but couldn’t get to it because I was having a wee.”

Inside my head: Holy moly, why did you say that? What is wrong with you? She didn’t need to know you were in the toilet and you certainly shouldn’t have said the word ‘wee’.

Her: Chuckle (politely but slightly awkwardly) “I just thought you were on the road or in a meeting, I know how busy you guys are.”

Inside my head: See. You absolute nincompoop.

Me: “So, how can I help you?”

Her: “I’m just trying to speak to whoever dealt with the *insert completely made up name because even if I wanted to breach data protection, which I don’t, I can’t remember the name anyway* case. I think it was you.”

Inside my head: Huge sigh of relief. Phew! That’s not my case. I don’t know anything about it and I had nothing to do with it. I’ll tell her. Oh hang on a minute, will she think it’s weird that I know straight away that it’s not my case?… because she seems to think it is me. What if it is me, it’s from ages ago and I’ve forgotten all about it? It would be very awkward and embarrassing to have to call her back.

Me: “The name doesn’t ring a bell, I’m not sure if it’s one of mine. If you hang on I can look it up for you?”.

Her: “Oh yes, if you don’t mind, please.”

Me: “Okily dokily.”

Inside my head: Who do you think you are? Ned Flanders?! Why didn’t you just say ‘Okay’ like a regular person?

At this point, my computer helpfully decides to freeze and present me with the evil egg timer of doom in the corner of the screen.

Me: “Sorry, my computer’s on a bit of a go slow at the moment”……..*painful silence*……. “so, do you watch the Great British Bake Off?”

Her: “No, I must admit that I don’t.”

Me: “Really? Oh you should.”

Inside my head: Why should she? She might hate baking. *Gasp* she might hate Mary Berry….Oh no, who would hate Mary Berry? She’s the Nanna that everyone would love to have.

Me: “I love it. In fact, I was so upset when I realised that it was only Tuesday because I thought it was Wednesday and Wednesday is Bake Off day. I get very excited.”

Inside my head: STOP. TALKING.

Her: “Hmmm.”

Me: “Sorry, my computer’s still taking it’s time. Oh here we are. No, the case wasn’t mine it was another anonymous colleague’s case.”

Her: “Right, I’ll give anonymous colleague a call. Sorry to bother you.”

Me: “It’s no bother at all. It’s awfully very nice to hear from you indeed.”

Inside my head: Kiss arse. And what was with the ‘awfully very nice / indeed’ nonsense? You’re not in bloody Oliver Twist. Get over yourself.

Her: “Good-bye”

Me: “Bub-bye now.”

Inside my  head: You should not be allowed to speak to people in authority.



Call me maybe


I spent many years rebelling against Apple and the iPhone culture. “Pah! What has Apple got, that Nokia hasn’t?”, apart from 30% of the market share, an innovative design team and the ability just to be cool without even really trying?

No, no, no, no. I don’t want one of those great big iPhones when I can have a dinky mobile phone. Look how cute and small it is, see how I have to creatively limit my text messages to 160 characters and who doesn’t want to play snake? It’s retro. 

Eventually my sister bought an iPhone and sibling rivalry got the better of me. She already top trumps me domestically with the husband, the house and the beautiful blonde babies, she can’t have advanced technology as well. She gets lego pieces posted into her DVD player, televisions smeared with jam and an iPod that only plays one song because one of the children spilled orange squash all over it. She does not get state of the art telecommunication devices. That is the only area in which child-free divorcees can shine and it is very dangerous to take it away from them.

So, I got myself an iPhone, and I loved my iPhone, and when it was time to renew my mobile phone contract I got another iPhone. A newer, slimmer, sleeker, more gorgeous iPhone and I loved it more than ever.

And then something started to go wrong.

Now, I don’t like to make false accusations and I am not sure if the problems that I have been facing recently are caused by my cherished iPhone or by my mobile phone provider so I’m going to blame them both. Apple and EE you are being named and shamed for the trauma that I experience everytime I try to make a phone call, receive a phone call or send a text.  Oh yes, those are the three basic functions that you expect a phone to be able to do.

My phone has no problem taking a photograph and adding a fancy filter to 1950s it up. It will happily play me a music track whilst telling me who is singing and showing me a picture of the album cover. It will allow me to google “Just how many Baldwin brothers are there?” and “Images of cats that look like Hitler” and it will tell me how to pronounce antidisestablishmentarianism but it won’t phone my boyfriend, it won’t text my best friend and when my mother rings me it makes out that I’m already on the phone and goes straight to voicemail (some people would consider the latter a benefit, I would like to categorically state that I am not one of those people).

Last weekend I had to dial Brad 52 times before it connected. I appeared to have full signal on my phone, Brad was sitting waiting for my call and yet every time I dialled his number it wouldn’t connect. The phone just beeped at me like a demented roadrunner before disconnecting. The more times it did this, the more frustrated I got. Not least because now my call record makes me look a little too fatal attraction for my liking and I’m about 5 seconds away from smashing the phone into the wall with exasperation.

Sometimes I don’t have any signal at all, it just cuts out completely in the middle of a call and won’t return until I turn the phone off and back on again. Last time that happened I was trying to speak to my bank:

Attempt one: “Thank you for calling, for security purposes, can you just confirm your mothers maiden name?” “Yes, of course I can it’s….*dial tone*”

Attempt two: “I just need to do a few security checks with you. Can you tell me the first number of your pass code?” “I absolutely can it’s… *dial tone*”

Because that doesn’t look suspicious.

Sending a text message is another challenge. If the person I’m texting owns an iPhone and I send an iMessage or a Whatsapp message using wifi I have a 95%* sending success rate.

*absolutely no scientific calculation has gone into reaching this percentage

If I send a common or garden SMS message, I generally have a ‘Message send failure’ situation and have to attempt to resend the text about 12 times. I can’t tell you how tedious doing the same thing over and over again is (unless it involves watching a dog skateboarding, that never gets old).

Often I give up. No point sending a ‘Quick! Turn over to ITV2, there’s a dog on a skateboard’ text three hours late. 

My phone very rarely tells me that someone has called until long after the call has happened. It won’t ring or flash or acknowledge in any way that someone is trying to speak to me even when my phone is physically in my hand. Then, to add insult to injury, it will send me a snotty text message which says ‘You have 4 missed calls from the above caller. Last call 5 minutes ago.’ Putting the blame for the missed calls firmly on me. YOU have 4 missed calls. No I don’t! I had the phone in my hand you incompetent, dysfunctional, inept cellular cretin. 

The other thing it does is to make a little twinkly noise indicating that I have a voicemail, so I immediately call up voicemail and it says ‘You have a voicemail recorded a week ago last Tuesday but I’ve only just bothered to tell you about it now because I’ve been too busy searching for cats that look like Hitler and counting all the Baldwin brothers’