Tuesday 11th September 2012, the phone lines go down. This is a disaster for a small business. The engineer is unable to find the cause of the problem and schedules another call for the next morning.
Wednesday 12th, engineer number 2 arrives. He says the problem might be coming from the telegraph pole, or it might be an underground problem. As he is a ground engineer he can’t investigate further and calls for an underground and an overhead engineer to come and investigate. Dom asks if he’s being serious. We then spend an hour waiting for the two engineers to arrive from separate jobs.
The 3rd engineer says the fault is 60 meters from the house, which leads him to the telegraph pole and the box at the top. As he is not allowed to fix anything above head height, he calls for another engineer to go up the pole.
The 4th engineer arrives and says the fault is 3 meters away, which leads him to the manhole cover at the bottom of the garden. We now have two engineers on site, but neither of them are allowed to carry out work underground, so a 5th engineer is called. Meanwhile, the overhead engineer is called away to another job.
The underground engineer arrives. He determines that the fault is 2 meters away, which is half way up the telegraph pole. However neither of the engineers are allowed to fix this and they need an overhead engineer. By now it’s too late to organise a call out, so we have to wait until the following morning in the hope that the issue is finally resolved.
Thursday 13th, the underground engineer and overhead engineer arrive and finally fix the problem. Wait, did I say fix? Not quite. It turns out that the wire on the telegraph pole needs replacing but the supervisor will only sanction a temporary fix. We are living on borrowed time until we have to go through the rigmarole all over again.
Is this the end of the story? Not quite. In a bizarre twist of fate, our remote IT system gets hit by a virus and we lose all incoming emails and access to the Spice booking system for 48 hours. We have no idea as to how many members have booked onto how many events, or which events are full. Our part-time event coordinators can’t do their work, so we have to cover for them. In the end we had four days of backed up emails to attend to and a frantic rush to issue event instructions for the weekend ahead.
And how long did this hiatus last for, exactly?
Until Monday 24th September 2012. The phone line breaks again. It’s beginning to feel like Groundhog Day.
There are so many cool songs we could have associated with this story; Hanging on the Telephone, Wichita Lineman, Telephone Man (okay, maybe not this one), but which song have we opted for?
“Underground, overground, Wombling free.”
My sincere apologies to my UK friends for putting this song in their heads, and foreign friends unfamiliar with the Wombles beware! You Google it at your peril!