British Telecom

The one glitch in the whole of our move from England to France came from BT. I rang them on Thursday 29th November to say that we were moving the next day and wanted to be disconnected at midnight the following day, 30th November. Seemed simple enough to me and the operator thanked me for our custom, wished my good luck on my journey and told me that I would have to pay the rental for the whole of December.

Two minutes later we made a telephone call and could not be connected. We had been cut off, immediately, instantly, without a by your leave. I used my mobile phone to call BT and was told that I could be re-connected in 24 hours.

What? How can an organisation cut you off in two seconds yet require 24 hours to reconnect you? How can I be penalised for their mistake?

‘I’m leaving the house in 26 hours,’ I said. ‘I need my phone line, I need my broad-band. We have lots to do.’

‘I’ll see what I can do,’ said the man on the line, ‘I’ll phone you back in 5 minutes.’

30 minutes later and he had not run back. I rang once again and got a second person. This one seemed to think I was being a bit of an irritant for him.
‘I need my phone,’ I said through gritted teeth. ‘We’re moving to France and my father who is 88 will be getting anxious if he can’t get us.’

No response.

‘I also need broad-band because I need to print out the airline regulations concerning the carriage of human remains as I am taking my mother’s ashes with me.’ No response.

‘If,’ I said through ungritting teeth, ‘if I have to leave my mother’s ashes on the check-in counter because you won’t reconnect me, I’ll hold you personally responsible.’ A smidgeon of response.

‘In fact,’ I added, ‘my wife and I need the internet so I can print out my boarding pass.’

A response at last. ‘I’ll let you talk to a supervisor.’

I hung on the phone and listened to what seemed like the whole of Wagner’s Ring cycle. Dragons, Dwarves and warriors made their appearance but not the supervisor. In the end the mobile phone cut me off in despair.

The next morning I was delighted to find that the phone was reconnected. But not with my number. In the hotel that night I got on the internet and found a message from BT welcoming me as a new customer. Thank the lord they are not organising anything in any brewery at any time.


About Martin Lake

Martin Lake lives in the French Riviera with his wife. After studying at the University of East Anglia he worked as a teacher, trainer and company director. A serious accident shattered his arm and meant that he had to rein back his work. He decided to concentrate on writing and is now writing full-time. He writes a wide range of fiction. His main interests are historical fiction, short stories and fiction for young adults. Martin has a series of novels 'The Lost King' which are set in the years following the Norman Invasion of England. They concern Edgar Atheling, last representative of the ancient English royal dynasty and his fight to regain the throne from William the Conqueror. Martin has also published 'Artful' the further adventures of the Dodger and 'Outcasts' a novel about fall of the Crusader Kingdom of Jerusalem. His latest novel, 'A Love Most Dangerous' is about a maid of honour who becomes the lover of Henry VIII. Martin’s work has been broadcast on radio. He won first prize in the Kenneth Grahame Society competition to write a story based on 'The Wind in the Willows.' You can get the collection, 'The Wind in the Willows Short Stories' from Amazon.
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