Sometimes it seems like the world in general, and your bit of it in particular, is out to get you.
This week is a prime example. So if you’ve started reading this blog in expectation of the usual frothy blend of dry humour, barbed witticisms and perceptive insights into 20th-century life then you are seriously advised to swallow your disappointment and stop reading right now.
Because sometimes one just has to have a bit of a grumble. And this is one of those times.
First off, Dixon Junior’s mobile phone wouldn’t turn on. We only bought it in March, so muggins here naïvely assumed that the first step might be to take it back to the Orange shop for repairs or replacement.
But shop assistant number one is having none of this. “Plug it into your computer, mate, and run the setup wizard.” What, even if the computer is an Apple Mac? “Yeah, it works for my sister.”
Maybe it does. But not for us. The phone stays resolutely stuck on the Orange logo.
Back to the Orange shop. Assistant number one lurks around looking guilty, while assistant number two does at least examine the phone, ascertains that it isn’t working, and directs us to the Orange helpdesk.
Who explain that because we bought the phone from that very same Orange shop more than six months ago, it is no longer covered by the Orange guarantee. Notwithstanding the fact that it’s an Orange-branded handset on an Orange contract.
All we can do, say the helpdesk, is send it back to the manufacturer. And here’s their phone number. At the other end of which, a dithery lady says go to our website.
This counts as progress, of sorts. Fill in an online form, pay £15, wait a few days, and a pre-paid Royal Mail special delivery envelope arrives to send the phone back in.
After ten minutes of merriment with bubble wrap and sticky tape, the phone is securely packed and ready for a round-trip to Scotland.
Meanwhile, the postie delivers a little red card explaining that they couldn’t squeeze a parcel (unconnected to the phone saga) through the letter box, and would you kindly present yourself at the sorting office at the bottom end of town to pick it up.
A-ha, you think. Let’s kill two birds with one stone. Pick up one parcel, drop off the other.
So you negotiate SouthGate (aka Death Race 2011) without damage to self or suicidal pedestrians. Past the forlorn row of blue bikes and astonishingly – the only bit of good news in this sorry tale – find a parking space by the sorting office.
Collecting the undelivered parcel is a breeze. But dropping off the mobile? Forget it.
The Royal Mail office is quite happy to take the parcel, but they can’t provide a proof of posting. For that, you have to go to the Post Office in the middle of town.
Where you go. And you take a number. And you queue. And a nice Post Office lady tells you that you should have taken a different number.
And you lose... the will... to live...