Out and Ashout

Posted by Jeni in Ad Infinitum | 15 October 2008

I arrived back at the flat and spent 45 minutes shouting.


I had a delivery delivered. I wasn't home. because I do a daily show on the radio....

The man I spoke to made it quite clear that I should be on duty at all times to collect my delivery. When I explained that it was not possible for me to be here when he was he said he couldn't tell me when he would be here.

'What are we to do?' I sighed.

'Ain't you got no neighbours.' he said sarcastically.

I breathed heavily.

An impasse.

Having hung up with a humph I knocked next door. Kat said she would be around for him when I wasn't. Problem solved.

I took some staphisagria - a homeopathic remedy to get rid of my anger - and phoned the delivery people back. The remedy had worked I was as nice as pie.

Hopefully my delivery will be delivered tomorrow and all will be well.


I phoned the electricity company to pay my bill.

There was an automated woman on the end of the line. She had an automated smile programmed into her voice. That made me really mad.

She asked me questions with-a-huge-pause-between-words so I couldn't do anything quickly. Sometimes I had to press the star key, other times not. I wanted to take the neck of the scrawny automated accountant and ring it. But it was the phoneI I had to ring instead having hung up in frustration.

She spoke to me thus:

Invoice number?

No problem.

Bank card number?

No problem.

Expirary date?

No problem.

All going well so far.

Issue number?

'2'. I said.

'Issue number 2 zero'. she replied.

'No. 2.' I repeated.

'2 zero. Say yes or no.' she said smugly.

'NO' I raised my voice.

'2 zero?' she enquired.

'NO.NO.NO.' I screeched.

I hung up. If only I had had a phone I could slam down. I took another remedy.

After walking round the flat. Taking some deep breaths and changing the nural pathways in my brain so I didn't have an aneurism I dialled the number again.

I spoke slowly, quietly, clipped and tersely. She finally got the message. now I have electricity for the next 12 weeks.


Shout number three started in the car, on my handsfree, continued on my mobile up the stairs, transferred to my land line, at which point I had to abandon the call beore I had an angina attack.

I pay my Congestion Charge monthly. I paid my congestion for the whole of September.

I had a courtesy car for one week mid-month, I called them to tell them so.

The recorded message, on Septemeber 13th, did not tell the full story. But you can't argue with a recording.

The moronic humanoids did not charge me 2 quid for a change of vehicle they just added the courtesy car to my account. The new car was not covered by my monthly charge as my monthly charge only covers MY primary vehicle. Are you following this because I'M GETTING ANGRY AGAIN.

The result of this cock-up is a penalty charge of 300, sent to my lovely garage in Tunbridge Wells.

Its simple. I asked the CC people to do something, they didn't do it, so I have to find three hundred pounds to pay for the privilege of their mistake.

I tried to tell three different people on the end of the line the same story. 'DO YOU UNDERSTAND ME?' I bellowed down the phone.

By the time the clock hit 6.00 I was purple with apoplexy. All my good intentions to be calm and clear flew out of my dirty windows - but that's another story.

I tried, really I did officer, to sort the whole thing out this evening, but the clock was ticking, the offices were closing and I had a date with a playwrite who was taking me to the movies.

I called my garage and have left it in the hands of Lee in Services. But tomorrow I may well have to sort it out again.

It's now half past midnight and I cant go to bed just yet I'm all over the place now having re-lived my recent past.

Deep breath..........

If all goes to plan my parcel will be delivered to the Kat or me.

The electricity is finally paid for.

And I cant do anything about the congestion fine until tomorrow. I shall not let it lie, but neither shall I get angry. I will be assertive, focussed and deadly.

So having shouted for England I went out to see a film at the preview theatre in the Charlotte Street Hotel. ELERGY stars Penelope Cruz and Ben- don't-call-me-Sir-Kingsley. He is self-important, mannered and about as sexy as Gary Rhodes on the dance floor. Penny is beautiful. It is a love story about age, cancer and repressed feelings. I could no more snog Ben Kingsley than I could Darren from the Congestion Charge office.

But hey-ho you win some and Cruz some.

My companion drove us to Battersea Square for liver, green beans and fresh cold tap water. I guessed the bill and made mine host tip the waitor in pound coinage and paper money.

Now it's past my bedtime. All that shouting, and Ben Kingsley, has made me jittery and over tired. I have no honeycombe to suck on but tonight I think I will sleep the sleep of the just.

When I am PM I will make electricity free, ban automated answering machines and the idiots who man the lines for the Congestion Charge. I will also punish macho delivery men who think that the only place for a woman is sitting by the letter box waiting for them to shove their packets into. Oh! Yuk! It's made me think of Ben Kingsley again.

Roll on the Revolution.

Until then it's goodnight from me - speaking in my real voice with not an automated sound in sight if you see what I mean.

Jeni Barnett tells of her scrumptious time at Good Food Live in her first audiobook! Download NOW from iTunes


1. At October 16, 2008 9:48 AM Fee wrote:

I used to think people were getting less efficient and things aint what they used to be but I'm reading Harold Nicholson's Diaries from the Second World War and this amused me. He's moaning about indiscretions amongst the soldiers in the Security Branch.

"there have been grave cases [of indiscretion] lately. One operative wrote to his wife, "The ops which I told you about on my last leave has been put off because some idiot of a man wrote and gave the exact date. I can't understand how people can be so careless after all the warnings we have had. This particular op has been put off until October 22nd."

So perhaps we've always been an inefficient country!

Keep on keeping on Jen.


2. At October 16, 2008 10:54 AM Anonymous wrote:

I hear you jeni , the amount of my life i seem to waste waiting in for deliveries , contractors , workmen & automated phoneliones /on hold is sometimes incredibly unbearable .
In Sympathy , james xx

3. At October 19, 2008 8:46 AM SiamSuzie wrote:

You need to move to Thailand, its calm, peaceful, tranquil and stress free.

....And no automated phone services.

Good Luck with the shows, they sound fab!



Copyright 2007, Jeni Barnett. Website produced by Chopstix.